Tell me about yourself... How to answer interview questions to get your perfect job?

08 Jan 11:00 by Maja Szmit

1.   Tell me about yourself

Most common question, it can be very difficult to answer as you will need to build rapport as well as show why you are best suited for the job. A great way to answer this is present, past & future. Speak about your skills and experience which is the most relevant to the hiring manager. Remember, speaking a little more in depth is always good as they already have your resume and want to know a little bit more about you.     

2.    What are your strengths?

Here’s where your experience is shown. Remember there are many strengths to chose from. Picking the one which will be the most relevant to the hiring manager in terms of the company and the business is key. Some examples of strengths you could say are...

Common mistakes for this include lack of self awareness, modesty and choosing lame strengths. 

3.    What are your weaknesses?

There are many views on how to answer it correctly. Some people will argue than saying a weakness which can be viewed as strength is the best possible way. Such as “I get frustrated when people don’t share my motivation“, truth be told there is no real reason why you cant show your weaknesses and then highlight the steps you are taking to overcome them. This reflects you are modest and not overconfident in your ability as everyone has weaknesses. 

4.    Why should we hire you/what can you bring that other candidates cannot?

This is a pretty open ended question. The interviewer wants to see what you would deem as your best strengths for the role which would put you ahead of the other people he has/will be interviewing. It’s a time to talk about your job skills, experience training and how they will benefit the company. Remember not to dwell on the past too much, but focus on what you can bring to differentiate yourself from the competition.

5.    What are your goals/where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Whilst there may be many things going around your mind when you are asked this such as “being my own boss”, “In your job” or even “a millionaire”, it’s not a good first impression to the hiring manager if you say these out loud. The best way to tackle this question is think about where the position can realistically take you, and how these are in-line with your goals. I.e if you are a recruitment consultant, you could say “in 5 years time, I’d like to be seen as a knowledge bank of expertise in xxx sector offering advise here to upcoming consultants. I’d like to progress on my managerial skills and hopefully take lead on some great projects. I have had some amazing managers in the past, so developing into a manager myself is something I would love to do”. 

6.    Why do you want to work here?

Or even why do you want to work for us is a very common question to here during an interview or even on an online application. Although this is important, don’t waste too much time on the answer. There are a few structural steps which should be key and enough information. Firstly, show your knowledge. Research the company and what they’re about. Speak about why the company is attracting to you and provide some evidence that you have an interest in their area of work, because at the end of the day, you’ll be working there (if you get the job) so you have to enjoy it right?. Secondly, what do you want to get out of the job, this is something you’ll need to be thinking about because the hiring manager will be secretly thinking about how long will you stick around and do you have a realistic understanding of what the job might undertake. Working under pressure is a good example for a response here as you could say “I know there will be times when deadlines will be tight and I believe I am more than capable…” then refer to your experience with working under pressure. Finally, just don’t over-estimate why you want to work for the company. 

7.    What salary are you seeking?

Your response to this shouldn’t be too unrealistic and shouldn’t be so comprisable as the salary in the job advert would of already interested you. There is no reason why you cant push a little without sounding too aggressive. Highlighting your experience and again what good things you can bring to the business will only express why you wish to have a slightly higher wage, but realistically, if the job advert already tempted you to the role with a lower salary, saying the salary stated on the job advert isn’t a bad thing either.

8.    What would your colleagues/friends say your best strengths are

Finally, this question is great to show your helpfulness and ability to participate in the company culture. If the hiring manager doesn’t see you fitting in, then your chances of progressing could be decreased. Some good responses to this question you could say is “friendly, helpful, leader, optimistic, positive to be around” ect ect. An answer which will just show that you will fit in and get along is great and doesn’t require too much thought. After all, if your hiring manager requires you to work by yourself, being chatty isn’t going to be a good thing!

Strengths

Communication - the ability to get on with a wide range of people Team working - the ability to be an effective team leader or team member IT skills - most jobs these days need some IT skills Good attitude - hard worker, honest, polite, co-operative Problem solving - using your initiative to identify solutions Enthusiasm - employers like someone positive Quick learner - so you can take on new tasks Determination - shows you are focused on achieving goals Flexibility - doing a variety of tasks to achieve a common goal