Common Interview Questions

The Best Way to Answer the 10 Most Common Interview Questions

Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew what you were going to be asked at your next job interview? While we may not be able to read your interviewer’s mind, we can provide you with the next best thing: A list of the 10 most common interview questions in Ireland, the best way to answer those questions and sample answers for all these questions. You can use this list to prepare for your next interview.

1. Tell Me about Yourself

For this question, many people make the mistake of talking too much about their personal life and not enough about their professional life. The interviewer is interested in finding out why you applied for this role and whether you’re a good fit for the role and the company. The best answer will concisely cover your primary selling points for this role and why you are interested in this role. This question is usually at the start of the interview so you definitely want to have a strong answer prepared for this answer.

2. What do you know about us?

By asking this question, the interviewer wants to get a better idea if you have applied because you are interested in the role or if you’re just applying to any role. For this question, you will want to know about the core industry that the business operates in, what type of company they are and if possible, a bit about the specific department that you are applying to.

3. Why do you want this role?

The interviewer wants to find out if your career goals are aligned with the goals of the role and the goals of the company. If the interviewer sees that success in this role will help you achieve your career goals, they are more likely to believe that you are truly interested in this role.

4. Why should we hire you?

Most of us are uncomfortable bragging about ourselves but for this question, you have to highlight your achievements and your primary selling points for the role. If you can’t give a good reason for why they should hire you, then as far as the interviewer is concerned, there are none. For this answer, you want to convince the interviewer that you can deliver exceptional results and that you are the best fit for the team. You can highlight areas such as your achievements, industry experience, education, soft skills and job-related skills.

5. What is your greatest achievement?

This question is quite difficult to answer because most of us have many achievements that we are proud of and it can be very hard to pick one achievement that stands above all others. The best way to answer this story is to tell a story about how you successfully overcame a massive challenge at work or if you are a recent graduate, in your studies. In order to do this successfully, you need to explain the challenge, how you solved it and what the outcome was.

6. What is your biggest weakness?

This question can trip up many candidates but the interviewer wants to find out:

A) Do you have big weaknesses that you don’t want to discuss?
B) Do you think you’re perfect because you have low standards or lack self-awareness?

A bad answer to this question is a canned answer such as “I’m too much of a perfectionist” or “ I work too hard”. You will come across as insincere and dishonest. A better answer would highlight a genuine weakness that isn’t that relevant to your role. For example, if you are applying for a role as a Hardware Engineer, you could say that your biggest weakness is public speaking as that isn’t something that is required to be successful in the role. However, you need to make it clear that you have no problem speaking in general.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

The interviewer wants to find out that you long-term career goals are aligned with the role. They want to see that you have planned ahead and that you’re not just taking any job. The reality is that many of us are considering a few different career paths but that is not something that you need to highlight in the interview.

8. What are your salary expectations?

This question has two purposes:

A) They want to find out if they can afford you.
B) They want to see how much you value yourself.

The best answer to this question is to be coy and not give an exact figure. However, they may press you to give a figure and at that stage, you want to give a well-informed answer to this question that doesn’t veer too much in either direction. To get answer this question successfully, you need to know the salary range for the role you are applying to. To find this out, you can use resources such as the Morgan McKinley Salary Guide.

9. Why do you want to leave your current role?

You may want to leave your role because your current workplace is a very toxic or mismanaged environment but that’s not something that you want to highlight in an interview. If you are leaving because you hate your current role, most interviewers won’t be able to handle a straight answer to this question. They will think that you’ll probably hate this role as well and that you’ll complain about this company too. Good answers to this question include highlighting that you think the role you’re interviewing for is a better place to you to grow, that it is more suitable for your skill set etc.

10. Do you have any questions for us?

Surprisingly, one of the most common answers to these questions is “No”. That indicates to the interviewer that you’re not that interested in the role. Also, it is best to avoid asking questions about salary, holiday benefits or perks at this stage. A good response to this question is to ask questions that will remove their doubts that you are suitable candidate for the role such as:

1. What skills are missing in the team that you’re looking to fill with this new role?
2. What do you think are the main attributes, skills and experiences are required for success in this role?

Once they answer these questions, you can reiterate why you are a great fit for the role.

Putting it all Together – It’s Not about You

Although it may feel like the interview is about you, it is not. It is about the needs of the hiring company. Your job is to prove to them how your skills, experience, achievements and personality can help them achieve their goals. If you understand this, you have a much better chance of nailing your next interview. By carefully analysing the job description and learning about the company online, you can learn more about what the company is looking for and how you can help them.

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