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Don't Get Tripped Up by Common Interview Questions

Interview Resources
Posted on: 13/01/2017
Difficult interview questions advice

Have you set yourself a new year’s resolution? For some of you it might be to give up chocolate, but we all know that is not going to last long. If yours was to find yourself a new job, then chances are you have spent the past couple of weeks updating your CV for the first time in ages and been busy applying for positions.

Around this time, you will be beginning to receive potential job interviews and we therefore wanted to take a look at some of the most common interview questions that you will come across. Even the simple questions can tell the interviewer a lot about you, but will often catch people out.

Can You Tell Me A Little Bit About Yourself?

This is a simple question that is typically used to ease you into an interview, yet so many people fail to prepare for it properly. Do not use this an as opportunity to tell the interview your whole life story – trust us, they don’t care! Instead you should look to use it as a short pitch to sell yourself. You should look to impress your interviewer with 2 or 3 relevant accomplishments, as well as outlining how your previous experience sets you up for the role that they are offering.

Why Are You Looking to Leave Your Current Role?

Whatever your reasons for leaving your current position, do not be tempted to be negative about your existing employer. You should always explain your decision to move on in a positive light and the best way to do that is by showing you are eager for new opportunities. Explain that you see the role on offer as a progression from your existing job and highlight the opportunities it would offer that would otherwise not be available to you.

Why Is There a Gap in Your Employment History?

Many people will have a gap in their employment history at some point. It may be that you were young and went travelling, that you recently took time off after becoming a parent or to complete education. Whatever the reason, our advice would always be to be honest - a good interviewer can smell a dodgy excuse from a mile away. Where possible, try to steer the conversation back towards how to are looking to contribute to the organisation going forward. 

What Are Your Salary Requirements?

Always a tricky question. You don’t want to go in with demands that the employer is going to baulk at, but at the same time you don’t want to undersell yourself. We would recommend you take time to do some research and identify what someone with yours kills and experience is being paid for similar roles. Whilst we suggest your initial figure is towards the higher end of your research, show that you want the job and are willing to negotiate in order to get it.

Is There Anything You Would Like to Ask Us?

Like our opening question, this is another banana skin that a lot of people get caught out on. All too commonly you will see people answer this question with a simple ‘no’ – quite possibly the worst answer you could give. An interview is an opportunity for you to grill your interviewer, so have a few useful questions to hand. Some questions may have already been covered during the interview, but you may want to ask about your day-to-day responsibilities, what opportunities there are for training and development, how your performance will be evaluated, the history of the company or the team you will be working with.

Got an interview coming up? You can find more help and advice by checking out the blogs in our Candidates Resources section.