INTERVIEW QUESTIONS - TYPICAL RESPONSES An interviewer has the task of discovering what kind of person and worker you will be in a short time period – usually less than an hour. Therefore the questions asked by the interviewers tend to be fairly similar. Whatever the questions are, you must: Listen carefully to the question being asked Think, and be careful how you answer Stay positive Respond to the question and don’t ramble QUESTION: TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF This question is directed at finding out about you as a person, as well as about your job skills, qualifications and experience. The employer needs to know that you can do the job and also that you will be able to get along with other people working for the company. Employers usually want a brief answer. They will ask for additional information if they want it. Don’t ramble on about personal issues! Remember to relate any information back to the job you are applying for. 1. Your interests and experiences related to the job. Emphasise hobbies that may be job related. For example if you are applying for an Australian School-based Apprenticeship in Automotive you may want to talk about your passion for cars, reading car magazines, going to races at Calder and how you have an old motor at home that you work on. Also mention non-job related interests such as club memberships or organizations you may be involved with. This shows that you probably enjoy communicating with people, that you enjoy team work. Good examples include being a member of the local netball team or volunteering with Red Cross. 2. Your past work experience including paid casual or part-time work and volunteer work and how this would relate to the job. 3. Your education and training and how it relates to the job. 4. Your strong interest in working for the employer and in that industry. Avoid mentioning things like politics and religion unless it is a focus of the job. DO NOT talk about what you cannot do, any personal issues and DON’T focus on your lack of training and experience. QUESTION: TELL ME ABOUT SCHOOL Always talk about the positives at school and NEVER mention anything negative. Mention your favourite subjects and why they are your favourite. Also mention any awards you may have won including academic, sporting or other extra curricula activities you have been involved in including school plays, debating teams, fund raising or coaching the Year 7’s in soccer. QUESTION: WHICH SUBJECT IS YOUR FAVOURITE? This question is designed to help the employer get a better understanding of whether you enjoy academic or practical subjects, whether you are into sciences, business or arts subjects. You may also talk about how a teacher has inspired you to perform better in a subject you had previously not done well in. QUESTION: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE? Employers will realize that you will not have had the opportunity to have worked much at your age? Therefore tell them about: 1. Any past work experience you have had, including volunteer work, school work experience or paid work 2. Your education and training and how it relates to the job 3. Your personal qualities especially your flexibility and adaptability For example if you were applying for a position at a child care facility you may mention any babysitting positions you have had. You could also mention that you have been studying Food Technology and Health and Human Development at school. You might also mention that you are reliable, patient and creative. QUESTION: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR HOBBIES AND INTERESTS? This question will give you the opportunity to highlight to the employer other skills that you have that could be useful in the workplace. You may have mentioned these when you were asked to “Tell me about yourself” so either talk about them again briefly or mention some others that will show your good qualities. QUESTION: WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST STRENGTHS? Mention your skills, reliability, experience, enthusiasm, persistence, efficiency, ability to get along with others, that you are hard working, a quick learner and eager to learn new things. QUESTION: WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES? Do not fall into the trap and start listing all your weaknesses or what you DON’T do well. Instead, respond by telling the interviewer that you do not have any weaknesses that will prevent you from being an excellent employee. You can then talk again about your positives. An alternate response is to offer a weakness that you have now turned into a positive. For example you could mention that previously you had been made aware that your time management wasn’t very good. You would then go on to explain that over the last 6 months you have worked on improving your time management skills and have put a number of strategies in place such as keeping a diary and a “To Do List” and working out how long each of your tasks should take. QUESTION: WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK HERE? This is your opportunity to show an employer that you have done your homework and that you know something about the company. The employer wants to know that you are going to stick around and not take the next job as soon as it is offered to you. Always be positive and talk about: 1. The good reputation the organisation has 2. What you know about the organization (use websites to research) 3. The goals and values of the organisation 4. Why you think that this is the right job and workplace for you QUESTION: WHAT ARE YOUR LONG TERM GOALS? The employer is trying to determine whether you have made plans for you future and how long you may stay in the job. If for example, you have applied for a job with a fast food restaurant you could respond in a number of ways: 1. “I am looking for a part-time job to help me save for University and support myself during my studies”. This shows the employer that you have made some long term plans, that you don’t necessarily want to work with them forever but as you have a long term goal to focus on that you will probably be wanting a job for a few years. 2. “I am looking for a part-time job where I can gain customer service skills because in the future I would like to run my own restaurant”. This tells the employer that again you have long term goals and that you may even consider a long term career with their business. 3. “I am looking for a part-time job because I am going overseas in two months and need some quick cash. I plan to travel for at least 12 months”. This tells the employer that you definitely DON’T have any long term plans with them and that they would probably be wasting their time employing and training you. DON’T DO IT. QUESTION: WHAT FIVE WORDS WOULD YOU SAY DESCRIBE YOU BEST? Similar question to What are Your Greatest Strengths? Think about the words you have used to describe yourself in your cover letter and resume. LEFT FIELD QUESTIONS Left field questions are unexpected questions that the interviewer may ask you. An example could be “If you were a car what type of car would you be and why?” There is no right or wrong answer they are simply seeing how you will react under pressure or how you respond spontaneously. INAPPROPRIATE QUESTIONS Sometimes employers will ask inappropriate questions. They may ask you whether you have a boyfriend/girlfriend, what religion you practice or what country you were born in. You do not have to answer these questions but it can be tricky. How do you refuse to answer a question without being rude? Here are some suggestions: 1. Politely point out that the question is not relevant to your ability to perform the job 2. Deflect the question. “I’m sure my personal life won’t interfere with my work” DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS This is usually at the end of the interview. Do not attempt to obtain complete information about the job at this point. You should have researched what the job involved prior to the interview. Also never ask about the pay rate during an interview. This question should be asked either prior to applying for the position or once the job has been offered to you. Some good questions you could ask are as follows: 1. What are the dress requirements? 2. How soon would you want the successful applicant to start? 3. Is a uniform required or provided? 4. When will you be notifying the successful applicant? 5. What are the opportunities for training and advancement?
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