Preparing answers to common job interview questions

Illustrative representation of Preparing answers to common job interview questions

You can never be sure what an employer will ask you at a job interview. But there are some common interview questions that many employers like to use to find out more about candidates.

Some of these are listed below, with hints on how to develop a response. For more questions, type 'common job interview questions' into your search engine.

It’s always a good idea to spend time researching the business prior to a job interview. The more you know about them, the better you can respond to questions about where you might fit in the business.

Some common interview questions:

“Tell me about yourself?”

Many employers will ask this question at the start of a job interview. It can help to develop a short ‘script’ in advance that you can adapt for each interview.

Your ‘script’ should include some personal information mixed with relevant work-related information. Make sure this information is relevant to the type of job you are being interviewed for.

For example, imagine you are applying for a job at a popular family restaurant. You could start by saying you were born into a large extended family (if you were). You could then talk about how you thrive in busy environments and love working with people. Or say that you like to stay fit and healthy so you have lots of energy. Relate your answer to what you like about the job.

“Why should I hire you?”  

Your response to this question should explain why your skills, experience, training and personal attributes make you a good fit for the role.

“Why do you want to work here?” or "What drew you to this position?"

Use the research you did about the employer, the role and the job tasks to build your response.

Think about what you like about the employer and the role and link your response back to how you could fit into the business.

An example response could be something like "I have an outgoing personality and am a people person so I really enjoy helping others, this role gives me an opportunity to do this through..."

What are your strengths?”

Choose skills, abilities and aptitudes that relate to the tasks required in this job.

“What are your greatest weaknesses?”

Try using another word such as “my main challenge is...”. Then explain how you are trying to improve this skill or behaviour.

“Why did you leave your last job?”

Be as honest as you can without saying anything negative about your former employer. Was the role made redundant? Was the work site too far from where you live? Did you want a new challenge?

More resources to help you:

…Or you can browse Job Jumpstart for other ideas and suggestions of what to do next.