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Preparing for an interview

Prepare for questions you may be asked

Why do you want to work there?

Good reputation, their good training record, any other positive qualities

Why did you leave your last job?

Explain briefly and honestly. If you were ill, then reassure your employer that you are now well and that you can do the duties required. If you were dismissed, that you take responsibility for your actions and have learnt from the experience.

Have you done this kind of work before?

If not then quickly describe other work experience which will help you learn the job quickly. Tell them the skills you have and how you can use them. Emphasise your interest and enthusiasm to learn.

What did you do in your last job?

Describe your skills and duties relevant to the new job, your responsibilities, people you have dealt with, how long you were there, if you were promoted.

How long have you been out of work – how do you spend your time?

Describe your job search activity, voluntary work, further education or study, hobbies.

Why have you had (a) so many jobs, or (b) only one job?

If you have had a lot of jobs you can mention you wanted to widen your experience in different types if work. Many jobs were temporary and that you would rather be in work than out of work.

If you’ve had only one job you could mention the several different jobs within your last employment you have done.

Why should I take you on?

Be ready for this question, answer it confidently and positively. Describe your skills and experience and how they relate to this job. Reassure the employer that you are hard working, reliable and capable.

Aren’t you over qualified?

Here you would emphasise you are looking for something fresh/new/different.

How do you get on with people?

Describe how you have previously worked as part of a team. Mention that you have the ability to get on with people at all levels. Give examples.

What makes a good team member?

Good communication, flexibility, adaptability, co-operation and a good sense of humour.

How do you cope with pressure?

Describe the pressures in your previous jobs, using a recent example.

What are your strengths & weaknesses?

They should already know from your CV/application form or they wouldn’t be interviewing you. But if they ask about weaknesses describe parts of your last job that you found testing, but explain how you overcame any problems e.g.
I am always working on improving my IT skills to become a more effective worker. I have recently enrolled on an ECDL course which I’m finding very helpful.

What would you like to do in five years time?

Explain that you would ideally like to be working for the same company but to have developed within it.

What wage do you expect to earn?

If the wage is negotiable, be prepared to negotiate. The dilemma is “where to pitch your bid?” Too high and you could price yourself out. Too low and you could lose out. Before your interview find out the wage levels in the company and compare them with your current needs.

When would you be available to start?

As soon as possible! Do not put any barriers in the way.

Do you have any questions?

You could ask; why is the job vacant? Why did the last person leave? Who do I report to? What training will I do if any? How soon will I hear about the result of my application? How would I be paid?

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