By Sean Power and Sandra D'Amico
Job interviews can be a frightening prospect for many job seekers. All that hard work during your studies can be undone in a single moment by giving one wrong answer.
Because it is not easy to think of good answers to questions during the pressure of an interview, to make things a bit easier for you here are some of the questions that are commonly asked in job interviews.
Before we get into specific questions, try to follow this basic answering technique for any question:
- Make sure you understand the question. Don't be embarrassed to ask for clarification.
- Avoid giving simple "yes" or "no" answers - every question is an opportunity to promote yourself.
- State your main point and try to support it with some evidence.
You might be surprised to know that many interviewers will ask the same types of questions, no matter what the job is. Here are some of the most common questions - think about how you would answer them.
Tell me about yourself.
This question, which will often be asked at the start of an interview, provides a great opportunity to get across your main selling points. Talk briefly about your studies, your work experience and your career goals.
Why did you apply for this job?
Demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in working for this organisation. Perhaps the job fits in nicely with your career goals, or perhaps you are impressed by the organisation's reputation. Show that you know something about either the position or the organisation, and link this back to your career goals.
What do you know about this organisation?
Talk about things like the organisation's main products or services, whether they are a local or a multinational company, whether they are the market leader in their industry and how many people they employ.
What is your long-term career goal? What do you want to be doing in five years time?
You should have practiced an answer to this question. Talk about what industry or profession you want to work in, how you want to rise through the ranks to a managerial position one day and how you think this position is consistent with your career goal.
What are your greatest strengths? What are your greatest weaknesses?
You should have at least two strengths and two weaknesses you can talk about. Try to be completely honest, while also thinking about your answers from the interviewer's perspective.
Pick strengths that would be perfectly suited to the job and try to support them with some evidence. For example, rather than just claiming you are a hard worker, back this up by talking about your good grades or the part-time jobs you had while studying.
Talking about your weaknesses is never easy. Be honest, but don't pick weaknesses that would mean you are terribly suited to the job. Demonstrate that you are determined to improve on your weaknesses, for example, through further studies or work experience.
How would you work in a team environment?
Show that you understand how important it is to work as part of a team, and what the secrets to good teamwork are - such as working towards common goals, establishing good working relationships and respecting each other's viewpoints.
Why should I hire you? What can you offer this organisation?
This question may be asked towards the end of the interview. It is another opportunity to get across your main selling points. Again, don't be afraid to promote yourself!
Do you have any questions of your own?
At the end of the interview, you may be asked whether you have any questions for the interviewers. Always have a couple of questions up your sleeve. For example, you may like to know more about the type of work you'd be doing, or when you can expect to hear from them again. However, this is not the time to ask about salary.
Sean Power is a consultant to HRINC, one of Cambodia’s leading HR services firms, and Sandra D’Amico is the managing director. Contact [email protected] for more information.