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Interview tips - preparing for an interview

Posted By Willie Miller     October 6, 2021    

1 Research the company and the job.

You should be able to get a lot of the information you might need from the company's website. According to homework helper employer presentations and contacts who work for the firms you're applying for are also useful sources.

You might be asked questions about the company, its market, products and/or services and competitors; or about the role itself. You'll need to have a good knowledge of all these aspects. While there will usually be questions you haven't thought of, doing this preparation work should give you the knowledge you need to cope with them.

Some examples of questions you might be asked include -

About the role:

• "Why have you applied for this job?"

• "Why do you think you would be good at it?"

• "What do you think the job will involve on a day to day basis?"

• "What do you think you will be doing in two year's time if you get the job?"

About the company:

• "What are the challenges facing our company?"

• "What are the major issues affecting the industry at the moment, or likely to in the near future?"

• "Who are our major competitors?"

• "How do we differentiate ourselves from our competitors?"

2 Your educational, employment and extracurricular background

You should be very familiar with everything you've already told the employer about yourself in your application - you don't want to have anything you've already said come as a surprise when it's repeated to you in a question!

You will need to be able to talk in depth about the educational and employment experiences you've had - why you chose the options you did, what they gave you in terms of skills and competencies, and how they make you perfect for the job you're applying for.

Questions you might face include: 
• "Why did you choose to study x?"

• "I see that in your penultimate summer at university, you worked as an intern at x bank. Can you describe what you were doing there?/ What did you get out of this?"

• "Why did you leave your last employment?"

Interviewers will often go into some depth about specific projects, roles or extracurricular activities you've been involved in. For example they might ask, "I see you have some experience in sales - you worked on an advertising sales campaign at university. Can you tell me about it?"

And they will usually follow this up with further questions going into some more depth on your involvement. For example:

• "What were the targets?"

• "What was the outcome?"

• "Who did you work with and what was your role in the team?"

• "Did you encounter any obstacles, and how did you overcome them?"

• "What did you gain from the experience?"

• "Would you do anything differently if you were to do a similar project again?"

3 Questions about general skills and competencies

General competency questions are standard features of interviews. You should research the competencies which are asked for in the particular role - (these will be cited in the job advertisement) and make sure you use your answers to demonstrate that you have acquired them, over the course of your life to date.

Examples of competency questions include:

• "What are your three main strengths?"

• "What are your three main weaknesses?"

• "Would you say you're an effective leader?"

• "Do you work best on your own or as part of a team?"

• "Have you ever had to deal with an unhappy customer/ a difficult colleague? How did you go about it?"

Answers to these questions provided by homework helper answers may not come naturally, but can often be found if you think hard (and laterally) enough. You will usually find, even if there aren't any obvious scenarios which fit the bill, that you have something in your life experience which you can use to support your answers. 

Interview tips - preparing for an interview

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