Cliché Interview Questions
Updated: 3 days ago
How to Tackle Them
Tell us about yourself
For such a straight forward sounding question, sometimes it can be pretty hard to talk about yourself. There are a million and one things you can probably say relative to who you are and why you are a good candidate.
Where do we begin?
Prepare a short paragraph, paying attention to your professional knowledge and skills. Try breaking it down:
a.) Introduce yourself, and mention how long you have been working in your field.
b.) A brief mention of where you studied or worked previously.
c.) Skills and accomplishments.
d.) What you are hoping to achieve now (short-term).
e.) Where you are striving to be (long-term).
Tell us about your biggest weakness
This can feel like a challenging question to answer, as it is easily misinterpreted. You want to make sure you come across as self-aware.
So, there are a few ways to approach this question:
a.) Think honestly about the aspects of work that don’t necessarily come naturally to you. Do you get nervous about public speaking? What do you usually do to overcome this?
b.) Think about how weaknesses can be interpreted as strengths. For example, you can say that you pay too much attention to detail and cannot overlook the little things, but it allows you to complete tasks to the best of your ability.
c.) Open up about past weaknesses and explain how you have worked to overcome them.
The interviewer is not trying to find out a list of your flaws but wants to see that you are honest, authentic, optimistic and will work to overcome obstacles.
Tell us what your strengths are
While your CV outlines what your strengths are, this is a question that will be asked in almost every interview. Ensure that you have a clear-cut answer and don’t just list your strengths that can be read from a list on your CV. Instead, list 1-2 strengths and elaborate on them by giving examples. Examples are key, but don’t drag out the story.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
Your answer to this question should reassure that your career ambitions correspond with the direction which the company is heading for. It reassures the interviewer that you are here for the long haul, and not ready to quit in three weeks when a better opportunity pops up. It is important to understand the company’s goals prior to the interview and explain that they match with what you want to achieve.
a.) To show that you are motivated to grow within the company.
To be genuine, authentic and realistic. Avoid saying that your goal is to become a manager in four months, but instead, say that you will work hard to move up in the company.
Give us an example of a situation where you faced conflict with a colleague or client.
This is a question of maturity and shows a lot about how you handle difficult situations. How you handle a conflict situation, regardless of who is at fault, will have a huge impact on whether or not the interviewer will consider you for the role. Conflict is unavoidable where there is a lot of work to be done. We are all human beings, and the interviewer is not wanting you to say that you have never experienced or witnessed a conflict situation in the workplace, but rather how you dealt with it.
a.) How you acknowledged the issue and resolved it.
b.) How you learned from the experience.
c.) How you helped to inspire a colleague to resolve an issue of conflict in the workplace.
a.) Speak negatively in an interview about previous colleagues.
b.) Blame others. Focus more on how you worked to overcome the issue.
Explain to us about a challenging time in the workplace.
Use the following strategy:
1. Explain what the challenge was.
2. How you overcame it.
3. What you have learned from it.
4. How you as a person, have learned from the experience.
What salary are you looking for?
Not every job role is advertised with the salary on it. It is safe to say this can feel uncomfortable to answer and strike the right balance if you’re not used to interviewing.
How to answer:
a.) Ask the interviewer what kind of salary bracket they are offering for the position.
b.) You can be truthful, but remember to justify your reasons so that the employer doesn’t think that the salary is your prime interest. For example: Say that you require a minimum of $___ per month because of financial commitments.
c.) Say that you are more interested in the job role itself, and the learning opportunities within the company.
Are there any questions you’d like to ask us?
YES! Never say no as this gives you an opportunity to prove your interest in the company, and that you genuinely want to secure the role. Have 1-3 questions prepared before the interview that show you’ve researched the company, and that you are interested in growing your career within the company.
a.) Prove that you are interested in staying long-term by asking something like - “How many people do you currently have in your sales team? How is your training program organized?”
b.) Prove you have done your research by acknowledging their work or activity online – “I really liked your recent LinkedIn article where you described the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. How do you encourage intrinsic motivation?”