Answering Interview Questions
Common Interview Question
Focus on your values, experiences and skills. Link them to why you think the role/company fits you and what you are looking for.
You can generally start by outlining your most recent education or role.
E.G. “I am a recent leaver of X school, I studied Computer Science, Maths and English Literature. I also done an EPQ… “
or “I have just finished an apprenticeship in plumbing, which gave me excellent customer service skills”
Outline some of your greatest achievements
E.G. “I ran an after school club for some of the younger years.”
“I received an award for…”
“I am on X committee.”
Then give a general overview of any other relevant qualifications or work experiences.
Outline why you applied – link to previous experiences (extracurricular, work or during school).
Be specific about things regarding the company or job advert which excited you.
Choose a weakness you have recently improved on.
“I struggle to give presentations as I can get shy, so recently I took part in a Public Speaking Competition and I’ve grown my confidence.”
“I don’t like conflict and struggled to deal with it. Recently, as a captain of my football team, I had to deal with a disagreement between the team and I build skills to cope when conflict arises.”
Always have questions to ask the employers.
For example, “What’s a typical day at the role?”
“What opportunities are there for training?”
“What is the office culture? What type of people fit in at the office?”
“Who would I be working with? Could you tell me a little about the team?”
Choose something relevant to the job, the more unique the better!
Competency Based Questions
“Competency based questions” are questions based on skills. They ask you to explain a past time that you have used a certain skill.
For example, “describe a time you led a team and how.”
“Give an example when you solved a problem at work.”
“Tell me about a time you handled conflict.”
You can answer these questions using STAR
For example – “Tell me about a time you handled conflict.”
S – situation
Describe the situation that led up to you doing do you needing to use these certain skills.
“I was captain of the football team at school, the team disagreed about the formation. We were also struggling to get someone to agree to be our left defender.”
T – Task
Describe what you had to do.
“As the captain, it was up to me to get the team to come to a conclusion.”
A – Action
Describe how you dealt with the task.
“Firstly, I explained to the team how valuable it would be for someone to volunteer as our left defender. I explained that we are a team, and that we will all have to take positions we don’t want sometimes. Then I allowed a few people who felt strongly about the formation to speak for 3 minutes each. I then got the team to vote.”
R – Result
Describe what happened as a result of your actions.
“Two people volunteered for the left defence. We agreed on positions, the people who didn’t “win” the vote accepted it was a team decision and fell in line. They at least felt listened to. We won that match!”