‘Linking Local Jobseekers with Local Employers’
The L.E.S Essential Guide to Interviews
Sample Interview Questions & Answers
To Download a PDF version of the L.E.S. Essential Guide to Interviews, click here
Interview Techniques can be the difference between success and failure at interview, therefore it is important to fine tune your interview skills in advance of an interview. Interview Coaching can certainly help. Working with a skilled professional like your Local Employment Service Guidance Officer will improve your interview techniques and help you secure more job offers. Other options that can also help you improve your techniques for interview include:
General Interview Questions
A good way to practice interviewing is to review the different types of possible interview questions you will be asked during a job interview, so you can practice responding. You don’t need to memorize answers, but you could write down your responses or take notes so you are comfortable answering a variety of different questions during an actual interview.
Role Play Interviews
Work with a friend to create a realistic mock interview scenario. Many job seekers use this strategy very effectively. Ideally you can find a friend with some experience as an interviewer.
Wishing you the very best of luck!!
Tralee Local Employment Service Team
TOP TIPS: PREPARING FOR INTERVIEW
Enquire with the Employer if a Job Description is available and ask for a copy of it.
- If you have access to a Job Description make sure you understand the role and what it entails.
- Know your own CV inside out.
- Learn as much as you can about the organisation.
- Call to the Company if possible and find out from source what activities they are involved in.
- If you have experience with the Company as a Service User, Customer, or Client tell the Employer and make sure it was a good experience!!
- Ensure your attire is clean and presentable. If in doubt – keep your style conservative. Always aim to look slightly more formal than the Interviewer as this shows a mark of respect.
- Find out exactly where the interview is on and give yourself plenty of time to get there.
- Prepare a list of positive points/ examples of areas were you have excelled and aim to get all of these across at the Interview.
- Practice your examples that accompany the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
‘If I have eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe’
MOST COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY INTERVIEWEES
- Walking in to the Interview room without being called.
- Bringing in too many belongings e.g. coats, handbag, phone.
- Forgetting to shake the Interviewers’ hands before and after the interview.
- Being too rehearsed and learning off answers to questions.
- Poor eye contact.
- Slouching in the chair.
- Criticising previous Employers or Colleagues.
- Smelling of smoke.
TOP TIPS AT THE INTERVIEW
- Come 5 to 10 minutes early to give yourself time to compose yourself.
- Treat other people you encounter with courtesy and respect. Their opinions of you may be taken in to account during the decision process.
- Wait outside the room until you are called.
- Enter the room with a smile and shake all the Interviewers hands firmly and confidently.
- Listen to be sure you understand your Interviewer’s name and the correct pronunciation.
- Remember that the interviewer is assessing not only if you can do the job, but how you will interact with clients and other employees.
- Try to be natural and confident – if you don’t feel confident – act confident!
- Sit up straight in the chair with both feet on the ground.
- From the word go, get across your enthusiasm for the role.
- Show a positive attitude
- Respond to questions and back up statements about yourself with examples where possible.
- Remember to get across your prepared list of positive points that you want the Employer to know about you. Even if the questions aren’t asked directly try to get your points across at some stage.
- Keep eye contact with the Employer.
- If you don’t understand the question or can’t think of an answer, calmly ask the Employer to repeat the question again.
- Always have a question to ask at the end. (See list of questions below)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF?
- Keep the answer concise – this should last no longer than 3 or 4 minutes.
- From the word go, get across your enthusiasm for the role.
- Focus on 3 or 4 key areas that would be of most interest to the employer for this position.
- Keep the focus on your professional life.
- If you have outstanding achievements in your previous employment, sports, drama, etc make sure to get this across.
WHY DID YOU APPLY FOR THIS POSITION?
- Focus on the benefits they will get from you joining the Company. Turn the tables and explain how your background is closely aligned with the job spec and how you would add value to the Employer.
HAVE YOU ANY WEAKNESSES?
- Whatever weakness you choose, be clear to let the Employer know that you have focused on this developmental area and have now successfully overcome it. Employers want to know that you are self-aware and always looking for ways to develop and do things better.
- On no accounts say “I don’t have any weaknesses”, your interviewer won’t believe you, or “I have a tendency to work too hard”, which is seen as avoiding the question.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?
- Analyse the job description and understand the most important quality sought by the Employer. Then identify your own strengths and highlight those that most closely match the Employer’s needs.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS TIME?
- You see yourself working with the Organisation in question and continuously improving in the role and furthering your career within the Organisation.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT OUR COMPANY?
- By showing a deep knowledge of the Company you will convince the Employer that you don’t want just any job but want that role in their Company. In a period of high unemployment this is crucial.
WHAT SERVICES DO WE PROVIDE/ WHO ARE OUR CUSTOMERS/COMPETITORS/ WHERE ARE WE LOCATED?
- Research the Company website, read about the Company, talk to current employees.
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK?
- You need to have 2 or 3 questions prepared. From an Employers perspective this shows are real interest in the role. You could ask for clarification on information given earlier in the interview or you could ask questions on structure of department you would be working in, reporting lines, IT systems etc.
- Do not ask questions on salary or terms and conditions of employment.