Interview Preparation

Got a job interview coming up? Here's some expert advice on how to answer those tricky interview questions.

The questions that always catch people out in job interviews.

Having spent hours crafting the perfect CV, it's always a huge sense of relief to get called for an interview.

But with that relief comes the fear of being unprepared for those tricky interview questions that we all dread getting asked. For even the most experienced interviewees, highlighting why you're the perfect candidate for the role can be a challenge.

That's why we've compiled some of those difficult interview questions, to help you kickstart your job search. Leadership & Career Coach Louise Nevin has broken down these tricky questions to help you ace your next interview.

What's your biggest weakness?

The key to this one is keeping your answers relevant enough to the role, but not revealing a weakness that could cost you the job.

"This is a very popular question and I’m always amazed how few clients are prepared for it.

"In addition to the interviewer clarifying if you are qualified to do the role, they are checking if you are a self-aware candidate, that you can handle situations where you may not have been the most experienced and your ability to learn and overcome challenge.

"Demonstrate how you closed the weakness. For example, where you identified specific training, sought out a mentor to bestow their expert knowledge or joined an association to widen your network, which helped you close the weakness."

Where do you expect to be in the next 5 years?

Louise says people can have difficultly with this question if they're unclear on their values (what's most important to them) and their career goals.

"The interviewer wants to see that you have a ‘vision’ for yourself –you are clear on your career goals and they align with their company’s vision, mission and goals.

"If you don’t have a clear vision of where you see yourself [and] what your goals are, then the interviewer will have a difficult time visualising you in the role and supporting their vision and goals. They want to ensure you are not interviewing as a short-term stopgap between jobs."

For this one, Louise recommends keeping your answer relevant to the role, avoiding any mentions of long-terms plans that are not relevant to the position.


What are your salary expectations?

If you struggle with this one, Louise says it might be because you're not used to demonstrating your value in the workplace.

Louise says identifying your transferable skills, strengths and accomplishments will help you in clearly demonstrating your value.

"Interviewers can also ask this question to see if they can afford you so it’s important to do solid research on the salary range for the role you are interviewing for.

"Without this information you can aim too high outside the company’s budget or too low, devaluing your worth. You can come up with a salary range based on your most recent salary, however it’s always worth knowing your market value."


How would you describe your leadership style?

With this question, Louise says the interviewer is trying to assess your managerial capability and leadership potential.

"When it comes to interview preparation at this level, most clients struggle with leadership competency questions, particularly anything around their leadership style or strategy. These questions can strike fear in even the most experienced manager."

Louise recommends practicing for this question before the interview, reflecting on your own leadership experience when preparing for this type of question, to build confidence and competence for the interview.

"It’s important to reflect on your vast experience, acknowledging your achievements and identifying your leadership style.

"You will want to demonstrate that your leadership style is congruent with their company’s culture and how you will seamlessly ‘fit’ onto their leadership team.

Do you have any questions for the panel?

This might seem like an obvious one, but apparently some of us are having trouble with it.

"Always have a couple of questions prepared to ask the panel. I’m always amazed how many candidates are unprepared for this at the end of the interview and how many say they have no questions to ask. This can come across as either unprepared or disinterested in the role."

Louise offers this sample question that you can direct towards the panel: Could you share with me the typical objectives that might be set for this position over the first 3 to 6 months?

"Asking this question shows the interviewer that you are genuinely interested and eager to know more about the role, which is very positive! Their answer will also help you validate if it's the right role you are currently seeking."


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