Welcome to Inspire Selection

Example Traditional Questions

Before attending your interview you should think of the questions you might be asked, in today’s market place you will be expected to answer traditional questions and behavioural based questions. When answering questions a golden rule to remember is “Honesty is the best policy”, answer questions as honestly and precisely as possible. And remember preparation will significantly help reduce stress and enable to feel confident in your answers.

Typical 'traditional' interview questions and some example responses

  • Tell me about yourself

Keep your answer to one or two minutes; don't ramble. Give a brief outline of where you are from, and where you want to be going .Use your CV introduction as a base to start .Respond in a way that leaves no doubt that you are well adjusted, stable and positive. Say only positive statements

  • What do you know about our company?

Show that you have done your research, know what their products are, how big the company is, roughly what their annual revenue is, what reputation it has within the industry and on the street. Know the company's history, image, goal, and philosophy. Project an informed interest and let the interviewer tell you some more detailed aspects about the company.

  • Why do you want to work for us?

Don't talk about what you want; first talk about their needs, what you can do for them.You wish to be part of their company project.You would like to solve their company problem and relish the challenge.You can make a definite contribution to specific company goals: identify its management talent, etc.

  • What would you do for us? What can you do for us that someone else can't?

Relate past experiences that represent success in solving previous employer problems that may be similar to those of the prospective employer. Stay positive

  • What about our position do you find the most attractive? Least attractive?

List three or more attractive factors and only one minor unattractive factor, aspects to pick up on could include, office location, company reputation, the chance to work with esteemed colleagues.

  • Why should we hire you?

Because of the knowledge, experience, abilities, and skills you possess. Be very positive and confident in your reply, not vague.

  • What do you look for in a job?

An opportunity to use my skills, to perform and be recognised. The opportunity to develop further skills, throughout life we should be constantly learning. Avoid vague answers such as, "I enjoy working with people, I relish challenges in my work" Relate it to the job to which you are applying "I am especially interested in producing a software solution to your problem"

  • Please give me your definition of a... (the position for which you are being interviewed).

Keep it brief, actions and results oriented

  • How long would it take you to make a meaningful contribution to our firm?

Very quickly after a little orientation and a brief period of adjustment on the learning curve.

  • How long would you stay with us?

As long as we both feel I'm contributing, achieving, growing etc.

Management and Experience Questions

  • What is your management style?

If you've never thought about this, it's high time you did, for example 'Management by Coaching and Development (MBCD)' when Managers see themselves primarily as employee trainers. 'Open door' is a good one.

  • Are you a good manager? Give an example. Why do you feel you have top managerial potential?

Keep your answers, achievement and task oriented, emphasise management skills-- planning, organising, controlling, interpersonal, etc. Describe relevant personal traits.

  • What did you look for when you hired people in the past?

Skills, initiative, adaptability

  • Did you ever fire anyone? If so, what where the reasons and how did you handle it?

You have had experience with this and it worked out well. Describe how you spoke to the person and explained precisely but tactfully where they were underachieving.

  • What do you see as being the most difficult task in being a manager?

Getting things planned and done on time within the budget. Do not imply that these are insurmountable difficulties.

  • What is your biggest weakness as a manager?

Be honest and end on a positive note.

 Industry trend questions

  • Why are you leaving your present job?

No longer provides a suitable challenge, time to move on, I wish to move into...(the area this company specialises in) Give a "group" answer if possible, e.g. our department was consolidated or eliminated.

  • How do you feel about leaving all your benefits?

You feel the challenge and satisfaction this new role will bring outweigh benefits lost.

  • Describe what you feel to be the perfect working environment.

Where people are treated as fairly as possible.

  • How would you evaluate your present firm?

An excellent company which afforded me many fine experiences.

Quantifying your experience and accomplishments

  • Have you helped increase sales? profits? how?

Imply many occasions, then concentrate on describing one in detail. Quote percentage profit increases facts and figures.

  • Have you helped reduce costs? How?

Same as above.

  • How much money/profit did you account for?

Be specific and recount a particular contract with facts and figures.

  • How many people did you supervise on your last job?

Be specific - the more the better.

  • In your current or last position, what features did you like the most? Least?

Relate your response to what the new job can offer

  • In your current or last position, what are or were your five most significant accomplishments?

You could refer to the key accomplishments already identified in your CV.

Your work style and habits

  • If I spoke with your previous boss, what would he say are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Emphasise skills - don't be overly negative about your weaknesses; it's always safe to identify a lack of a skill or experience as a shortcoming rather than a personal characteristic.

  • Can you work under pressures, deadlines, etc.?

Yes. Quite simply, it is a way of life in business.

  • In your present position, what problems have you identified that had previously been overlooked?

Keep it brief and be sure to say how you overcame the problems.

  • Don't you feel you might be better off in a different size company? Different type company?

Depends on the job - elaborate slightly. Reiterate how your previous experience lends itself to the job you are applying for with this company.

  • How do you resolve conflict on a project team?

First discuss issues privately and tactfully. If the problem is not resolved then action would need to be taken which could mean removing a member of the team in a severe case.

  • What was the most difficult decision you ever had to make?

Attempt to relate your response to the prospective employment situation.

Salary questions

  • How much are you looking for?

Answer with a question, i.e., "What is the salary range for similar jobs in your company?" If they don't answer, then give a range of what you understand you are worth in the marketplace.

  • How much do you expect, if we offer this position to you?

Be careful; the market value of the job may be the key answer e.g., "My understanding is that a job like the one you're describing may be in the range of $..."

  • What kind of salary are you worth?

Have a specific figure in mind... don't be hesitant.

Personality questions

  • What was the last book you read? Movie you saw? Sporting event you attended?

Talk about books, sports or films to represent balance in you life.Stick to something fairly mainstream or classic

  • How would you describe your own personality?

Balanced.Fair, honest, reliable, friendly, outgoing etc.

  • What are your strong points?

Present at least three and relate them to the interviewing company and job opening.Tailor your answer to meet the needs of the employer. "I see myself as a goal orientated individual..." discuss how in your previous role you achieved above projected results.

  • What are your weak points?

Don't say you haven't any. Try not to cite personal characteristics as weaknesses, but be ready to have one if interviewer presses. Try to transform your response and the question into strength. "I'm the kind of person who likes challenges and gets involved. Some people may see that as butting in, but I'm sure it could be looked at as a strength because I like to make sure the job gets done correctly."

You should also be prepared to answer questions about your health, more technical questions related to your qualifications, research or current job, plus any interests you have mentioned on your CV or application form.