For any first interview to develop into a positive second interview you will need to prepare and run through practise questions and have some pre planned answers in the pipeline. Some questions may be easier to answer however it is highly advised to practice every imaginable question they could throw at you. Below are the common tough questions often asked and how to give a stand out and memorable response.
Your CV contains several gaps, can you explain why?
Firstly, before starting your job search you need to ensure that your CV is current, clear to understand and most importantly it needs to be truthful. If there are substantial gaps in your CV you will need to do some preparations on how to answer them beforehand. Travel is the most common reasoning as to why there are gaps on a CV. When answering this question is it important to always put a positive spin on it, employers admire candidates who travel so use it to your advantage. “I needed to get the travel bug urges out of my system and see the world so I could come back home with a clear mind and better perspective on what I want in a career”. If a career gap is due to a redundancy a good way at explaining this and keeping it constructive, you can explain that is was due to a last in first out policy and it didn’t reflect on how your was performance was. Words to avoid whilst answering this question are ‘unemployed’ or ‘ill, it is better to explain what you were doing during this period rather than using one worded answers. Answers may be that you were a full time parent, studying or looking after a relative.
If your colleagues were to describe you how would they?
Employers want to know about your interpersonal skills, they don’t really need to know that you’ve downed a yard glass with colleagues or danced on the tables. Are you a people person? A team player? Or are you shy and keep to yourself. Company culture may be quite high up in your job searching criteria however it is also on the employer’s radar. They want to know what kind of person you are in the office and if you will fit in with the already established office culture. Remember to be professional when answering this question, mention your work ethic and speak about attributes you know you possess, do not make things up as they can be easily checked through your references. “Colleagues tell me that I’m a great listener and good team builder. They would also say that I’m a tireless worker, I plan well and am flexible and tolerant.” Also do your research on the company and look through their social media pages beforehand, these will give you a good insight into the company culture and give you some information to better tailor your answer.
What are the key trends in this industry?
Again, researching the company is a necessity. Job hunters who do their research are more likely to land the role. It shows your employer that you’ve invested time completing research about their company and shows a keen interest. Reading up in advance about the organisation will also give you more confidence and allow your answers to have more depth and substance to them especially if you can relate examples to ones you can spot on their website. You’ll show extra initiative if you can speak about upcoming trends in your industry too, it demonstrates that you can stay relevant and have a genuine interest in your industry.
Now that you’ve reached the end, go back to the beginning and practice your answers again. Preparation will be the key to nailing the interview!