Tom Summerbell

Most Common Interview Questions

Every recruiter will tell you that when you have an interview coming up it’s important that you prepare, as the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. But many of our candidates find this really difficult, as how can you prepare for answers to questions when you don’t know what they will be?

Almost every interview question can be categorised, which can then help you to understand why an interviewer is asking it, and can assist you in preparing an answer to it.

“We have broken down the types of interview questions into categories with examples and advice on how to answer them. “

We have broken down the types of questions into categories, giving examples of the types of questions that fit into this category, and offer you some advice on how to answer them:

Classic Interview Questions

These are the ‘about you’ questions and generally pop up in every interview no matter what field you’re entering into. They are asked do the interviewer can gain insight into you and your personality so they can determine if you’re good fit for the role as well as the company. These will be open ended questions that allow you to do all the talking.

Example questions include:

- Tell me about yourself?

- What do you think is your greatest strength?

- What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?

- How do you handle failure?

- How do you handle working under pressure?

- How would you describe yourself?

- What motivates you?

- How would your co-workers describe your personality in 5 words?

How to answer these types of questions

This comes down to your ability to talk about your skills and experience and how they will match up with what the company is looking for. Some of these questions will allow you to chat about certain points on your CV, which opens up to you showing that you’re a good fit for the company. Be careful not to go into too much detail- they don’t want your life story.

Career Goals and Company Questions

Most commonly aimed at graduates, job hoppers and career changers, these questions give an interviewer insight into where you are currently within your career and where you’re striving to get to in the future. The answers you give will determine if you plan to stay in the long term or if this is a stepping stone for you. To find out how serious you are, they may ask you some questions about the company to see how much research you have done.

Example questions include:

- What do you know about the company?

- Where would you like to be in five years’ time in your career?

- Why do you want to work for this company?

- What motivates you?

- What interests you about this role?

How to answer these types of questions:

Preparation is key to answering these types of questions. Getting as much information on the company before the interview will help you look and see if you will be able to reach where you would like to be, without implying that you would like to take your potential bosses job – you want to show your willingness and drive to do better without making them feel like you’re after their job.

Character Questions

These will often involve questions that will looking o what you’re capable of achieving. These can be set as scenario type questions and will reveal to the interviewer all they need to know about your morals, integrity and values.

Example questions include:

- Tell me about the time when you have had to deal with a difficult person?

- How have you managed your work load when other members of staff have asked for your help and they both have a same day deadline to meet?

- When as the last time you had to make a judgement call and what was your reasoning for your decision?

- When were you last angry and why?

How to answer these questions:

The worst thing to do would be to lie. When answering these, focus on demonstrating your own and the company’s values, and where you can be positive. Highlight your ability in being able to work well with others (if this is a strength) and how you successfully managed your difficult situations. If they have asked a question and it wasn’t in your job remit, be honest and say so, but think about something that was and how you were able to diffuse or solve the situation.

Competency Questions

Commonly asked for entry level roles, these focus on your practical ability and allow you to give examples of when you have performed certain tasks. The purpose of these is to pick out those that can back up their claims and who are all talk. Examples don’t always have to be work related but can be anything within your life, but this may depend on what question you’re asked to begin with?

Example Questions include:

- Tell me about a big change you have had to deal with?

- Can you give an example of when you have had to improvise to achieve your goal?

- Can you tell me about a time when you have supported a member of your team who was struggling?

How can you answer these questions?

You can prepare for these. Look through your CV and highlight what you think are the key skills from each of your roles. You can use the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Approach, Result) when structuring your answers. Also remember when you attend an interview, it’s not a memory game, so you can write down your answers and then refer to them if you need to.

How can Zenopa help you?

As a leading agency working within the healthcare industry, we have built up close relationships with leading companies within the Scientific, Medical, Dental, Pharmaceutical, over the counter (Consumer), Animal Health, Engineering and Healthcare Communications sectors. We offer you advice, guidance and support throughout your recruitment experience, and will take the time help you prepare for any interviews you have with us.

If you would like to find out more about any job opportunities we have available within any of our sectors and would like to chat to one of the team by sending us a message, registering your details, emailing enquiries@zenopa.com or calling us on +44 (0) 1494 818000.

All enquiries are handled in the strictest confidence.

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