Standard interview questions

10 February 2020

By Sky Randall

There are lots of different types of questions that you might face when you attend interview. The nature of these questions will be determined by the type of role you are applying for and the structure of the organisation you are being interviewed by.

To demonstrate your suitability to the role you need to be prepared to answer not the traditional questions, but also think on your feet and answer the unexpected too!

You can expect questions about your employment history, qualifications, career aspirations, hobbies and ones that assess your personality.

Preparation is very much key to interview success, so below are a list of questions that might help as you do your prep!

Traditional interview questions

  • Why are you applying for this position?

  • What do you know about our company?

  • Why do you want to work for this company?

  • Why did you leave your last job?

  • Tell me about yourself?

  • Why should we give you this job?

  • What will you do if you are not successful in your application for this job?

  • What are your strengths?

  • What are your weaknesses?

  • What other positions are you applying for?

  • What motivates you?

  • Tell me about your management style?

  • What has been your biggest career disappointment to date?

  • What work related achievement are you most proud of?

  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

  • What motivates you?

  • What is the most important thing to you about the next company you work for?

  • What is the most important thing to you about the next job that you accept?

  • Tell me about your dream job?

Competence based interview questions

The best indication of future behaviour is past behaviour. A competency based question allows the interviewer to explore a past experience to gain an insight into your character and your behaviour. These questions are being used more frequently by employers and are based around key competencies which they have identified as being important within their business. The key to success when answering these types of questions is to read and fully understand the role profile. Then highlight the competencies required and consider some good examples from your career. Especially where you can strongly demonstrate your skills in that area.

Common competencies include

  • Team Player

  • Attention to detail

  • Customer Service

  • Problem Solving Ability

  • Initiative

  • Resilience

  • Sales Ability

  • Integrity

  • Innovation

  • Crisis/Conflict Management

  • Planning/Organising

  • Management

  • Motivation

  • Decision Making

  • Goal orientation

  • Commitment/focus

  • Communication skills

  • Assertiveness

  • Delegation

  • Leadership

  • Flexibility

  • Stress

The list could, of course, go on and on!

Some example competency based interview questions

  • Describe a time when you had to communicate effectively to a large group

  • Talk to me about a time where you ‘went that extra mile’ to provide exceptional customer service.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a problem or complaint. (possible follow up:- Looking back, what would you have done differently?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deliver bad news. What was the situation and what actions did you take?

  • Talk me through a time where you were required to gather a large amount of data, to analyse it objectively and to make a decision or a recommendation based on the results

  • Can you give me an example of a time when you had to implement challenging and measurable goals for your team?

  • Tell me about a work related achievement you are exceptionally proud of

  • Describe a situation when you were required to use your initiative to complete a complex task

  • If you need any further help in getting ready for your interview, please call a member of the Sarah West Recruitment team for some practical advice

Get in touch if you'd like our help to find your next job!

Related links

Common interview question and how to answer them

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