"So, tell me about yourself"
This question may be used to
assess your personality,
preparation, communication skills
and ability to
think on your feet. Prepare a list
of what you do (your current or last
job), your strengths
(stick to job-focused skills), and a
summary of your career trajectory,
linking your experience to the job
"Why did you leave your last job?"
Respond positively — "...for
better career advancement or
increased responsibility, more
greater variety at work..."
"Why do you want to do this job /
work for this company?"
Demonstrate your knowledge of the
company and re-emphasis your
suitability for the position.
"What do you think you have to offer
This is a chance to sing your own
praises — concentrating on the
skills you have
that are required for the position.
E.g. "I have strong sales
skills, am a good team player
and am very keen to be
involved in the new markets you
are developing in the Asian
"What do you think this position
This question is designed to
reveal if you have thought about the
position, done some research,
listened to the interviewer, and can
summarize all of this information
"What do you know about the
Demonstrate your interest in the
job, and your understanding of the
organization and industry.
Talk about the research you did into
the company's key areas of interest,
its main customers or current
status, making reference to your
source of information.
"Do you have any questions you would
like to ask?"
Always prepare a question to ask
the interviewer. Ask about the
position, request clarification of
information about the company, or
summarise your understanding and
If they have already answered your
questions tell them (be specific) so
they know that you
have thought about the position in preparing for the interview.
"What do you see as being the
main focus of this role?"
"Am I correct in saying that
the position involves mediating
between A and B departments and
monitoring and developing new
"I'd like to ask about the
organisational structure... are
the publications produced on a
basis or individually by each
regional office? How are budgets
controlled and allocated?"
"What do you believe are your key
Prepare responses that give
specific examples of your strengths
at previous positions
that will support your job
"What do you believe are your
No-one readily admits real
weaknesses in an interview
situation. It is general knowledge
this is an opportunity to turn the
question into a positive. Think of
something that relates to
your experience of work that is
plausible as a weakness but is not
really a negative point.
Eg; "I am very particular about
detail", "I become very focussed on
the projects I am involved in"
"Why have you had so many jobs?"
If you have had jobs in different
industries or several positions in a
short period, describe the positives
that you were learning new skills,
following different career paths,
and travelling overseas etc.
Refer to the experience you gained
in past jobs that relates to the
position under discussion.
"What do you enjoy most about your
current / last job?"
The trick with this question is
to list what you have enjoyed about
work that strongly relate to the key
competencies of the position in
question, and mention that you are
to expanding your experience / scope
in these areas.
A question requesting confidential
information about a previous
This may be a testing of your
discretion and professionalism. It
is best to reply that you would
not to divulge any confidential
information (sales figures, for
instance), citing the fact that you
your interviewer would expect the same discretion from their employees.
"Where do you see yourself in five years
This is an assessment of the extent
of your ambition and career planning.
You should demonstrate
that your long term goals are
appropriate for the position being
discussed and your commitment to them.
you give me an example of your
creativity / managerial / organisational
Think of some examples that prove
that you possess the key attributes and
competencies requested in
the job ad and description. These are probably the areas on which your
interviewer will probably focus.
you work well under pressure?"
Answer with a 'yes', and give a
specific example of a time when you were
under pressure and how you rose to the
"Tell me about when something went
Q: "Tell me about a time when
you have encountered conflict in the
"Have you ever had to deal with
How did you decide which task to
These are behavioral questions
designed to elicit information about the
for the position.Cite experiences in
your past jobs, and always try to inject
a positive note into
your answer (e.g. that you learnt from
Equal Opportunity (EO) guidelines
limit the questions that can be asked in
By being aware of EO considerations you
can recognise possibly discriminatory
when they are asked. If asked a question
that you consider inappropriate or that
suspect may be the basis for
discrimination, you are under no
obligation to answer it.
For example, an employer may ask
whether you have children as part of
or they may be motivated by their
prejudice that working mothers are not
commit fully to a full-time position.
Alternatively, in asking about your
arrangements they may for be trying to
assess your level of preparation and
If you are uncomfortable with any
question, politely and professionally
answer it or request clarification on
its relevance to the position. Some
"I don't think we need to talk
about this. I would rather focus on
issues relevant to the position
and the requirements of your
"I don't understand how this
question is relevant to the position
or my ability to perform in the
Could you clarify for me why you
think it is important,
and I will try to provide you with
the relevant information."
If you have had a negative experience
with an employer (retrenchment or
harassment, or clashes with colleagues),
prepare to be asked about them in job
The best strategy is to be honest,
positive, and to avoid criticizing
- "I was asked to leave that
company. The grounds my employers
were dissatisfaction with my
performance / attitude...
- "but I disagreed with their
assessment and believe that the
termination was based on
differences rather than
performance issues. If you check
with my referees from other
you will find that I have not
had problems of a similar nature
and I am confident that they
will not occur again."
- "Unfortunately, that year I
had some personal commitments
that I had to deal with.
I had to make a choice to focus
on these commitments or on my
job, and I chose to
concentrate on personal
commitments. Unfortunately, this
did mean that my work suffered,
but I am now able to fully
commit myself to my work again
and am confident that I will be
able to meet your performance
Sexual harassment / personal
- "I decided to leave because of
some personal issues within the
which I would rather not discuss."
If legal proceedings took place:
"There have been some legal
regarding my position there and so
for confidentiality reasons I would
prefer not to discuss it."