Richard Maun – Classic Interview Questions

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Classic Interview Questions

6 June 2010

This photo is called 'The Sound of Silence' - which is what happens when people don't prepare any answers!

This photo is called 'The Sound of Silence' - which is what happens when people don't prepare any answers!

Imagine that you’re going to an interview next week and you’re trying to get prepared.You’ve read your CV, you’ve polished your shoes and you have a banana to hand (we’ll come back to that later). In my experience that’s often as much as people do to prepare for an interview, on the basis that you can’t guess what you’re going to be asked about. However, many interviews use the same questions, because once you step away from the technicalities of the role, you’re left with basic ‘people information’ that has to be gathered in. Here are my Top 10 Classic Questions, to get us all thinking:

  1. Tell me about yourself…
  2. Give me 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses…
  3. Tell me about your proudest achievement at work…
  4. Why do you want to work here?
  5. What have you been doing whilst looking for a job?
  6. Who else have you applied to?
  7. How have you changed in the last 5 years?
  8. What challenges would you face if you did this job?
  9. What questions do you have for me?
  10. Why should we take a risk on you?

How To Answer Classic Questions

The key here is to have your answers prepared in advance, which often means working through them with a trusted friend, to hammer out succinct and informative answers. Questions that begin ‘Tell me about..’ are looking for a short one minute story that showcases your skills and talents. If you get asked about weaknesses, the trick is to talk about things that are ‘everyday’ issues such as having an untidy desk. Some people fall into the trap of revealing genuine weaknesses, such as really poor time keeping, which could cost them the chance of a job.

Whilst you’re looking for work it pays to do something which is work-like, such as managing a sports team, or working in a charity shop. This shows initiative and energy and makes us look better than the next candidate who has been living on his sofa for six months.

Always have a couple of prepared questions, such as ‘What would be my priorities in the first month?’ or ‘Do you have any concerns about my application?’ Both of these questions produce useful information for us and if the interviewer does have any concerns we might as well face them now and explain them away when we have the chance.

Finally, the risk question. A great way to trip up over-confident candidates. The way to answer it is to acknowledge that all new hires are a risk and that in your case your ability to do ‘x’ andyour skill in ‘y’ and your experience with ‘z’ demonstrates that you are a low risk candidate. Easy, when you know how.

Minute To Win It

This is one of the best networking and interview tools, which can help us to answer the dreaded question: Tell me about yourself (or your business)… In fact, it’s so useful that next week’s post is going to be all about it, so catch it here next Monday.

Helpful Answers

There are more questions and detailed sample answers in the book Job Hunting 3.0 which now has a confirmed publication date of 21st June 2010. Please click on the link to visit the Amazon page.

And Remember…. Bananas

Bananas contain slow release sugars which can sustain our energy levels throughout the stress of an interview. This is more useful than the energy spike we get after munching a chocolate bar, which needs to be topped up again a few minutes later. So, before you go into reception, go bananas….it might help you to do really well!

Pass It On

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Missed Last Week’s Post?

Last week was all about 5 Ways to Build Rapport which can make a big diference when we have to do any kind of selling.

Thank you for reading to the end. Do have great interviews!

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Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact