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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Interviews can be a stressful time for most students, however, with a little luck and an article on the common questions, nothing will stop you from getting top marks on the recruiters little tick sheet. This guide is probably best read with the rest of our articles on interviews to enable you to have a full view of the entire interview process.

Tell me about yourself…
• What are your strengths?
• What are your weaknesses?
• Why should we hire you?
• What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
• What are your goals? or Where do you see yourself in five years time?
• Why do you want to work here?
 

Tell me about yourself…
In most cases this is the opening question form interviewers and getting a quality, long lasting impression is key. Keep your answer below 7 mins preferably 5 (but don't start timing). To start off with use the kind of flow you have with your CV say your Qualifications, achievements and skills. Try not to go into too much detail if the interviewers feels he/she wants to know more in a specific area they will ask. If you’re being interviewed for your first job since leaving education, focus on the areas of your studies you most enjoyed and how that has led to you wanting this particular role.

• What are your strengths?
A good way to get the best answer to this question is read the job description, this will give you all the basics of the job which you can then internalize into your answer.

• What are your weaknesses?
Normally a shock giver use this to your advantage, give your weakness but then follow it with a way your attempting to correct it, for example, if you have poor ICT skills then say you are weak in that area and then follow it up by saying but I have taken a key skills course in order to improve myself.

• Why should we hire you? or What can you do for us that other candidates can't?
What makes you special and where do your major strengths lie? again use the job description to your advantage and use that with your strengths, for example, if the job description says you need to be well organised then use something from your previous job or an achievement that shows you have good organisational skills.

• What are your goals? or Where do you see yourself in five years time?
It’s best to talk about both short-term and long-term goals. Talk about the kind of job you’d eventually like to do and the various steps you will need to get there, relating this in some way back to the position you’re interviewing for. Show the employer you have ambition, and that you have the determination to make the most of every job you have to get where you want to be.

• Why do you want to work here?
The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought. If you’ve prepared for the interview properly, you should have a good inside knowledge of the company’s values, mission statement, development plans and products. Use this information to describe how your goals and ambition matches their company ethos and how you would relish the opportunity to work for them. As a student your unlikely to need so much in-depth knowledge so simply say you have always been interested in retail apply subjects you take or examples if you can. This question is very unique and since you picked the job you should know why (never say I need a job).

• What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?
This is a great time to brag about yourself through someone else’s words. Try to include one thing that shows your ability to do the job, one thing that shows your commitment to the work, and one thing that shows you are a good person to have in a team. For example, “My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can always rely on me, and he likes my sense of humour.”
 

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