Are you an analytical thinker? If you can show that you consider problems in a systematic, reasonable and effective way, then you are demonstrating that you have a great foundation for your problem-solving abilities. The necessary facts or techniques to reach the right answer can come later. The best problem-solvers are able to zoom in on key details and prise out the nitty-gritty, but can also zoom out and see the big picture and where everything fits into it.
Even the most skilled, most intelligent employees can fall behind if they lack motivation. Employers know this. What motivates you? Why do you want to leave your current job? What has been your greatest achievement? For these questions, they are looking into what drives you forward on a day-to-day basis. What kind of things are you proud of doing? Why were you not getting that at your previous job? Why do you think you can get that at this job? You could say that you enjoy challenges and love the feeling of satisfaction you get from producing great work, even though it may have been difficult and there may have been intense pressure.
It would also be good to mention that you enjoy working as part of a productive team and contributing to successful projects.
If you can, try to show that you are self-motivating. Give examples of times when you have pushed yourself to achieve success, for example: completing university coursework, setting up your own business, or organising a sports team.
How to Succeed at a College Interview
You do not want to appear as someone who always needs someone else to tell you what to do. Show that you are prepared to achieve success. How would you describe your ideal job? These questions are more tailored towards long-term aspirations, and so are especially relevant in entry-level jobs that are likely to lead into a career. Try to show that this role is a crucial stepping stone for your career path. Be realistic about where your career could go. Show that you are motivated by success and promotion. Many people say that they would like to be managing a team and having more input into work processes and company policy.
But, partly for those reasons, employers love asking candidates about their strengths and weaknesses:. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How would you describe yourself? What is your biggest weakness? How would a friend or colleague describe you? How would your worst enemy describe you? Regardless of what those strengths and weaknesses actually are, candidates who answer these questions well show the employer that they are self-aware, self-critical, and willing to improve.
And those three traits should form the cornerstone of your answer. Make sure to pick strengths that are honest, relevant to the job, and can be backed up by examples. Being asked to talk about your weaknesses is perhaps even more scary. By acknowledging that you are not perfect you are showing humility, which is in itself a strong quality to possess.
For example, you could say something like:. I quickly realised that it was important to be more confident and consequently joined several sports teams and groups to force myself to meet people and be more outgoing.
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In my second year I joined a drama society and my friends say that ever since then, I've never stopped talking. Everyone has weaknesses and your interviewer will understand this. They will certainly have their own. Be prepared to be truthful, albeit measured in your responses to these questions. The best way to prepare is by reading as many interview questions and answers as possible. Give me an example of a time when you failed to hit a deadline How do you deal with adversity? What was your biggest setback?
The day of the interview
What do you do when you are late for work? Again, the biggest advantage you can gain here is if you have examples. Anyone can say that they are trustworthy, or good at coming back from a setback. The real question is whether you can back it up with evidence. Think back to any time when you had to deal with a tough deadline or deal with a difficult situation. Come up with as many concrete examples for these as you can, and be ready to talk about them. The same goes for your negative experiences too. Just frame it in terms of what you can learn from that failure.
Being asked about salary and benefits can easily feel awkward. For many jobs — especially at entry-level — the salary is fixed and largely non-negotiable. The key to being able to confidently talk about your salary requirements is research. Talk to others in the industry and do some digging. Use Glassdoor and industry media. You should be able to find out what a reasonable salary is in your area for that role, and from there you have a strong negotiating position.
Are there any benefits we offer you would like more detail on? What sort of salary are you ideally looking for? Once you know the average salary, match your expectations to that. If your salary demands are too low, you could be seen as undervaluing yourself. You should also avoid asking about salary yourself. Let them bring up the subject. An exception to this could be commission-based roles, such as sales and recruitment. In these industries, employers often want people who are highly motivated by money, as that will incentivise them to work harder for more commission.
Why did you choose your university, and what factors influenced your decision? Did you enjoy university? Why did you choose your degree subject? What do you think graduates in your degree subject have to offer this kind of role? The less vocational your university degree was, the more difficult these questions are to answer.
Of course, someone with an Engineering degree is going to have skills suited to being an engineer. As always, prepare some examples from your time at university that demonstrate the skills you developed there. Employers often ask about your hobbies and interests as a way to glean less obvious information about yourself and your approach to life. It can also be a fantastic way for you to make yourself stand out as a candidate, by using your hobbies and extracurricular activities to demonstrate a whole new set of skills and achievements.
What are your hobbies? Where you involved in any teams or societies at university? The important thing to remember here is that, ironically, talking about your hobbies is not a chance for you to put your feet up.
22 Most Common Interview Questions and Best Answers (With Tips)
The best way to tackle this question is to talk about the hobbies you have that are more involved, and that develop further skills. Writing about movies and running a blog, however, takes that same hobby and applies some active engagement to it; some critical thought and organisation. Sports, writing, literature, drawing, painting, making music, attending talks, carpentry, home brewing, exercise, learning languages… All these and many more are fantastic examples of activities you can talk about that demonstrate a wide variety of skills, and all take some amount of dedication, organisation and learning.
Many jobs will require at least a basic knowledge of computer skills, so make sure you have a good grasp of Microsoft Office. Of course, some jobs will have specific computing requirements, so be aware of those before you apply. How do you cope with this? Instead, talk about times when an idea from you had a positive impact: for example, if you came up with a fundraising idea for charity or found a way to save time on an assignment.
Feel free to reframe the question. You may find it easier to give an example if you think back through your work experience, study, extracurricular activities and travel and come up with a time when you had to cope with an unexpected problem. The simple answer to this question is that you bring with you the sum of your skills, experiences, achievements, values and enthusiasm for the company.
Conducting some thorough employer research will allow you to shape your answer to help you prove you are the perfect fit for the company. The trick is to neither oversell yourself nor undersell yourself, but keep to the facts: sprinkle your answers with evidence of your achievements and details about the company. Lateral thinking is the ability to use your imagination to look at a problem in a fresh way and come up with a new solution.
Before the interview
This is another question that allows you to show off your employer research and your understanding of your chosen career path. Tailor your response to reflect the nature of the organisation, the sector, and your own experiences and skills. Specific details will impress. This question is a test of your ability to think on your feet and come up with a diplomatic response. If you're asked about your biggest failure in your interview, chances are the recruiter is interested in finding out how resilient you are, and whether you can cope with setbacks.
Find out how to use this question as a way to show your strengths and convince the employer that you are the right candidate for the job. Pick up tips and tactics on how to answer when you're asked about handling stress in your graduate job interview. Find out how to demonstration your motivation and resilience. Here's how to answer interview questions about coping with conflict and resolving difficulties, with an example model answer and tips about what not to say.
This is a classic example of an interview question that could unsettle you if you haven't thought about it in advance. Our advice will help you understand what employers are looking for and choose a suitable example to discuss.
Your interviewer wants to know your tactics and strategies for getting yourself organised, so, whatever approach you use for prioritising and listing your tasks, be ready to describe it. Your reply should indicate that you can adjust your priorities if situations change. Why are you suited to this job, as opposed to any other? Match your skills, interests and experience to the job role and the company. If you haven't thought far beyond getting your first graduate job, you might find this a particularly tricky question to answer.
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Recruiters don't ask this to catch you out, though. They are keen to find out if they are a good fit for what you want, because if so, you're more likely to stay with them long term. They may also be checking how much research you've done into your chosen career and how committed you are. Find out how to answer this question by drawing attention to a particular strength, without sounding boastful.
You'll need to draw on your real-life experience in your answer. Don't be caught off guard if you're asked about dinner party guests in your graduate job interview. Use our guide to help you understand who to pick and how to explain the reasons behind your selection. Advertise here. Jobs Internships Employer profiles. Employers A-Z Our A to Z of top graduate employers on site with advice on researching career opportunities and applying. UK employers The top graduate employers overall and the leading employers across 19 different career sectors.
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