Now for a lot of people interviews can be an awful experience and not something they do very often at all! We can all get nervous, and our mind goes blank, we can’t think what to say and before you know it you have started panicking and haven’t heard the complete question or even worse start going off at a tangent with your answer! After a quick survey the most hated questions were all very open-ended questions don’t have a “correct” or “incorrect” answer.
So, what sort of questions could they be and what are the six most asked interview questions? Before looking at the questions in more detail it is worth mentioning that you should try to avoid memorising word perfect answers for these questions as you do not want to appear as giving a stock answer instead you want to give the impression that you are carefully considering the question.
- “Tell me about yourself”
This is not an invitation to tell them every little detail about your life such as what you argued about with your friend yesterday or when you discovered an interest in knitting! It could be worth narrowing the area of interest down by asking the interviewer if there is anything in particular they would like to know – if not try and keep your answer short and sweet and focus on topics that relate to the role or industry you are interviewing for.
- “Why did you leave your last job?”
Not a difficult question to answer but regardless of the reason(s) you are seeking to leave do not put your previous employer or colleagues in a negative light and spent the next few minutes complaining about the company or your current boss! This will make you look very disloyal and not a team player which is the opposite of the image you are trying to portray!
- “What are your weaknesses?”
Try avoiding the tired cliché of taking a positive and trying to make it sound like a negative! “People say I am a perfectionist” – approaches such as this have been done so many times by too many people and are just simply bad answers. Take a small negative that wouldn’t impact on the role and talk about what you are doing to improve that weakness. What the weakness is doesn’t matter what the question gives you is the opportunity to show how you can grow and develop as an individual.
- “Where do you see yourself in X number of years?”
This is where you highlight your commitment and dependability by talking about how you would like to have progressed within the brand. Make sure you don’t give the impression you intend to use this job as a short-term steppingstone to bigger and better companies. You could talk about how you would like to learn the company business and work your way up the company ladder and talk more about what they could offer you in training and development to ensure you are an asset to the brand for years to come.
- “Why should I offer you the job?”
When it comes to a sales role you should be used to, and skilled at, closing a deal and now you have the chance to close on a product you know intimately – You. Take the chance to reiterate what skills you can bring to the role, the experience you have and what a great colleague you would be!
- “Do you have any questions for me?”
Asking the hiring manager questions shows that you are interested in the role and that you have bothered to take your time to research the company and what it does. Avoid asking questions that you could ask in any interview – such as “what are the promotional prospects like” – and ask something that you could only ask of that company. It could link to an area on the company’s website or about the interviewer:
- “I saw your recent advertising campaign on ‘X’ has this had a significant increase on your sales and did you do any preparation for the possible uptake in sales?”
- “Whilst reading you website and it spoke about the company’s future plans and how ‘Y’ will have a big impact on the brand – how do you see this impact the sales function?”
- “I had a quick look at your profile on LinkedIn and saw you worked for ‘Z’ before joining here, what would you say are the major cultural differences between the two companies?”
Now you may have read through these questions and thought – these aren’t difficult at all! Well they’re not if you have prepared beforehand and given them some serious thought. But if you aren’t expecting them in an interview situation – and it’s a pretty safe bet you will get at least one or two of them – then just how prepared are you for your interview?!