Questions you should be able to answer
This is the most common question. Focus on the relevant facts about your education, work experience, career and personal life. Keep your answer relevant for the role you are interviewing for. It’s a chance to show who you are and connect with the interviewer.
When talking through your CV it is important the areas you focus on are those that are most relevant for the position you are interviewing for. Always think about your audience and don’t just have the same speech for every interview.
- Why do you want to work here?
This is an opportunity to show the research you have done on the business. Talk them through their vision and business plan and how they fit with your own values and longer-term career goals.
- Why did you leave a previous role?
Always give an honest answer with a focus on the positive reasons rather than any potential negative ones. Always try to be ‘going to’ rather than ‘leaving’ something.
- If you get the job what would your plan be for the first three months?
The interviewer will expect you to come with an open mind but also with the ability to stamp your mark on the role. Listening and collaboration are important aspects to cover in your answer, but it is also important to demonstrate initiative and a vision.
- What are your weaknesses?
Don’t talk yourself out of the job here! Be honest and show you are aware of your weaknesses. Try to turn your weaknesses into strengths. As an example – if you are impatient that can also be interpreted that you want to go forward and want to see results.
Focus on skills which are relevant for the role you are interviewing for – with regards to both personality and career.
- What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Just ensure you have reflected on this before the interview. Have three prepared that are true to yourself.
- How have you handled disappointment in the past?
This is about how you react. All of us deal with disappointment. What sets us apart is how we handle it. Give a good example of how you rose above the disappointment to come back stronger.
- What was your biggest accomplishment in your last role?
Give an example of what has led to concrete improvements for your previous employer, preferably something measurable so that the interviewer really understands.
- Tell me about a situation where you have taken the initiative?
This is an opportunity to prove that you are driven, are a quick learner and strive to do the best in all conditions. This question is not just about having initiative; it is also designed to test how you can get your ideas implemented.
- Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
In response to this question you may want to include something private, but it is preferable to focus on your professional career. Your response should be congruent with the plans of the organisation for which you are being interviewed. It is better not to say that you don’t know. If you are unsure you could say something like “hopefully I will find myself in a situation which has been achieved by my own professional performance”.
- Are you involved in other recruitment processes?
Be honest and say yes if you are involved in other processes. This gives the organisation a chance to react quickly if needed.
Being honest with yourself and the organisation about what motivates you is important. You don’t want to find yourself in a role or organisation where you are not motivated by what is on offer.
- Why are you good for the role?
This gives you an opportunity to summarise your personal and professional qualifications. Your answer should cover the key elements of the role and should demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of the role.
- What role do you take on in a group?
Be honest and say whether you take an active or more observational role. The key is to explain that you can work in larger teams but can also run your own projects independently.
- What’s most important, deliver on time or being correct?
Here, it obviously depends on how you are as a person, and the role. For some roles within finance it is more important that information is 100% correct, than for others.