Tips for answering common interview questions

23-May-2022 16:08:00 / by Anne Roberts


If you have a job interview coming up, make sure you’ve prepared answers to common interview questions. While it is likely you’ll be asked more role-specific questions, the below are a great starting point and preparing these answers will help you feel more confident and relaxed going into your interview.


Tell me about yourself.

This is often the first question you’ll be asked in an interview. A relatively easy one to answer, yet this tends to catch people out if they’re not prepared. Take this opportunity to give a brief overview of your educational background, relevant professional experience and why you applied for this role.

You can use this opportunity to bring up any points you want the interviewer to know about yourself and steer the interview in the right direction.


Why do you want to work for this company?

Make sure you’ve done your research on the company before the interview. The best starting point is their website, however, don’t just regurgitate the ‘about us’ page; look for brand values and the company ethos as well as mission and vision statements, so you can get an idea of the company culture.

Other reasons could include opportunities for career progression or further training and development and company reputation.


Why are you leaving your current role?

The Golden Rule: Never badmouth your current company. It will make you look unprofessional and is a guaranteed way to ensure you don’t get the job. The best way to answer this question is to emphasise why you want the current role and how you feel it will help you to progress towards your career goals.

Make sure to emphasise what you like most about your current role, but state that you are now looking for further opportunities to advance your career.


What are your greatest strengths?

It’s important to be honest when answering this question instead of repeating ‘buzz’ phrases like ‘being a team player’ or ‘communication skills’. Emphasise the specific skills that are relevant to the role you’re applying for and then demonstrate how you’ve used these skills in a professional environment.


Why are you suited to this position?

When answering this question, it’s important to point out not only why you’re suited to the role, but why the role suits you. Discuss how you feel the role will help you to develop professionally and personally, as well as why your skills and experience are relevant to the position.


Tell me about a time when you’ve had to deal with conflict.

Employers want to see that you’re someone who can handle difficult situations when they arise. Talk about how you’ve turned negative situations into positives, handled the conflict professionally and ultimately achieved a happy ending for all parties.


Do you have any questions?

Always prepare a few questions to ask the interviewer, but make sure they’re not ones you should already know the answer to through your research of the company. Ask questions about the team or department you’ll be working with, the advantages of working with the company and general questions about the internal culture.


Looking for more advice? Watch our video interview with HR Expert Mairead Mulligan