Part 2: 26 questions every interviewer & interviewee should consider; why they’re asked; and how to answer them
This is the second part of our list of favourite questions from interviewers and candidates. If you missed the first part you will find it here
Ten other great questions interviewers have asked
1. What is your greatest achievement?
The interviewer is giving you a chance to show the best of yourself. Try to use an achievement that shows how your skills and experience dovetail with the role you are being offered. The strongest answers will also show that you understand how employers judge and quantify success.
2. Tell me about your current job? And what you have achieved in it?
The employer is looking to understand your current responsibilities and the results you have achieved in the role – another chance to shine! In particular highlight where your performance led to promotions or extra responsibilities.
3. Do you work best alone or as part of a team?
As well as getting a better insight into your personality the interviewer is looking for self-awareness. There is no right answer to this question but in most roles people will work independently and with others so think about what you do well in both scenarios. Be prepared for a follow up questions asking you to give examples as well as about your weaknesses in each scenario.
4. How would your colleagues describe you?
Again the interviewer is looking to understand your personality and how you’ll fit into a team. Focus on positive, professional character traits and behaviours and be prepared to provide examples to illustrate your points.
5. Why are you looking for a new job?
The interviewer is looking to understand how this role fits into your broader plan while at the same time probing for the underlying motivations for your move thereby getting further insights into your personality or performance. Being too honest may in some situations damage your chances of getting the new role, however being vague will make the interviewer think you are hiding something. Consider a three point approach 1) how you developed with your current employer; 2) what skills and experience you are hoping to gain; 3) how you think this role will fit with your existing skills and the vision. NB – never lie or bad mouth your existing employer/colleagues.
6. What could your current employer do to be more successful?
This question helps to identify if interviewees see the big picture at their company and can also give an insight into why they really want to leave their current job. As a candidate be careful not to give away confidential information or to be overly-critical of your current employer. Don’t be afraid to mention things that the current employer does well or the reason that maybe they haven’t acted on things that have made them more successful.
7. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your career to date?
The interviewer may be looking to unsettle the candidate a little to see how they react. Interviewees should prepare an answer to this question to minimise the risk they come across as evasive or defensive. The interviewer will likely be interested in whether or not, when confronted with your own shortcomings, you face up to them, how you reacted at the time and what you learned from the experience…
8. What do you think the biggest challenge will be if you get this role?
The prospective employer is probing the candidate’s understanding of the balance and priorities of the role as well as teasing out how they may approach some of the more challenging aspects. It will also show to what degree candidates have reflected on how their strengths and weaknesses dovetail with what is needed.
9. If I were to compare your application and LinkedIn profile, what discrepancies would I find?
The interviewer may either be asking speculatively what the candidate hasn’t disclosed, or they may have cross-referenced the two documents and found inconsistencies. Some interviewers may even have called mutual connections for background. As a candidate you should make sure you review both your CV and LinkedIn profile before going into an interview. If your LinkedIn profile is out of date don’t be afraid to say so.
10. How is this industry/ discipline going to be different in ten year’s time?
The interviewer is looking to understand whether the candidate takes an interest in macro factors that will impact the company or that specific role. As a candidate this is an opportunity to show that you are forward looking and continuing to learn and evolve. Ideally you will frame your answer in the context of the role you are applying for.
If you have any great questions you’d like to share, or if you would like to speak with one of our consultants then please get in touch.