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Hints & tips on answering interview questions. What to ask & what not to ask.



Sample questions that you may be asked at interview.


Five questions that there is a strong possibility that you will be asked at any interview. Plan, script and rehearse your answers to these questions before your interview.


   Tell me about yourself.   Remember, this is not an invitation to start talking about your personal life, and your marital status, or which football team you support etc. It’s your opportunity to get across to the interviewer, a few points that you would most like them to remember you by, after the interview is over, relative to the role. Choose a handful of strengths, skills and competencies that you possess and that are relevant to the role. Then, build a script around them using real life examples drawn from your working experiences, and rehearse.


  What are your strengths?   Another common question, and your big chance to sell yourself, so use it. Here, the trick is to choose the strengths that are most relevant to the role, and to build a script around them. Don’t be afraid to “blow your own trumpet” a little, and avoid sounding too humble. Make sure that they are strengths that you do actually possess, If necessary, ask someone for a 2nd opinion. Don’t embellish, use real examples from your working experiences to demonstrate them, and rehearse.


   Tell me about your weaknesses.  Only talk about work related weaknesses, not personal. One idea is to choose a genuine weakness that will be of no use in your prospective role, ie. you’re not a very good public speaker. If you are applying for most accountancy based roles, then this won’t be an issue. Plus, it is something that can be improved, if need be, through practice and training. Be sure to avoid choosing a weakness that will set the alarm bells ringing with the interviewer ie. “I have a poor work ethic” or “I can never get up in the mornings”. Be prepared to give an example of a previous weakness that you’ve successfully turned into a strength.


   Why should you get this job?   Avoid using cliches such as, “I’m the best person for the job” etc. Again, think of the competencies and skills that are most required for the role, referencing the job description, and build your answer around them. Use examples from your working past to verify to the interviewer that you meet their criteria for the job.


  Why do you want to leave your current job?   Never mention salary when answering this question, and don’t be negative about your current employer or your current role. Instead, construct a positive answer around the prospective role and your possible future employer. Talk of how you are looking for a new challenge, you see this job as a chance to improve your skill set, or an opportunity to further your career.


Sample questions that you may want to ask at interview.


We recommend that you ask at least 2 questions at the end of any interview, as it demonstrates that you have an interest in the role. Plus an interview is a two way process and this is your opportunity to find out more about the role and the company from the interviewer’s perspective. Just make sure that what you ask hasn’t already been covered beforehand.


  Why did you join this company?   Asking this question will allow you to gain an insight into your potential future employer from an employees perspective.


   Can you describe the culture of the company to me?   A good question to ask if you want to find out if this company is the right fit for you.


   What do you think are the main characteristics that I will need to show, in order to be a success in this job?   The answer to this question should give an idea as to what specific skills & characteristics the interviewer is actually seeking in the successful candidate.


   Who do you consider to be your biggest competitor?   Because you will have done your research, you will probably already know what the answer is going to be to this question. Maybe suggest the name of the biggest competitor yourself and ask the interviewer why they consider them to be so, offering your own reasons also.


   Can I tell you a little more about myself…?   Rather than trying to “crowbar” information, that you are desperate for the interviewer to find out about, into previous interview questions. You can use this question as one last opportunity to sell yourself.


Sample questions that you don’t want to ask at interview.


Interviewers will not be impressed if you ask questions such as these, for obvious reasons.


  How soon will I be promoted?   This question will just set the alarm bells ringing with the interviewer, that you would only be using the role on offer as a platform to bigger and better things.


   What is the salary for this job?   Never ask questions about salary, benefits, perks at interview. Your 121 Select representative will have informed you of the salary on offer, and the client of your salary requirements. Only talk salary at interview, if you are asked a specific question by the interviewer concerning remuneration.


   What expenses can I claim for?   A question for if/when you get offered the job, not at interview stage.


   What kind of sickness policy do have?   This will have the interviewer thinking that you are frequently off work ill, or that you may be planning to take some time off.


   Will I get smoking breaks?   No explanation needed for this one.




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