Good Interview Questions and Answers

What do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?

Interview rule number one is that you should never be negative when answering a question, even when invited. You should have a good strong list of likes, all of which reveal your motivation for new challenges and areas of the company's work. Never say that there is something you dislike, but state that you are enthusiastic about the position and the employer.

Are you too old for this job?

In the UK and US, age discrimination legislation has rendered this kind of question illegal, but in a different region or country, you may be asked this. Your response should focus on the benefits of your additional experience and reliability, which would enable you to make a bigger contribution to their company soon after being appointed. Emphasise your loyalty as an employee and interest in a longer term position.

Are you too young for this job?

Again, age discrimination legislation has rendered this kind of question illegal. In regions other than the UK or US, it's possible that you may be asked this. You can answer that there's no reason your age should be a problem, as you're more than capable of fulfilling the requirements of the position. Describe how much experience you've built up in a short period of time and mention your rapid learning abilities.

Are you over-qualified for this position?

This question can come up if you've been made redundant and are trying to find a job under pressure. State that your additional experience is a benefit, as it will enable you to make a significant contribution soon after being appointed. You can also say how much you value being able to contribute to the employer's goals, whether this means undertaking routine tasks or not.

3) Career direction

Why did you choose a career in ...?

This is another opportunity to mention your strengths and how well they fit with this area of work. Emphasise your natural aptitudes and how you recognised a way to apply them, fulfilling an interest in the area of work while welcoming the chance to learn and develop your strengths. If you are changing careers, specify your positives reasons for doing so in the same way.

Why are you changing careers?

If you are trying to switch careers, the question may well come up in the interview. Never start talking about the problems in your previous career, as no recruiter will be interested in a candidate who is only applying in order to get out of another career. As ever, you need to focus on the positive reasons for this change, stating how the new direction will suit your accumulated skills, experience and achievements.

How long have you been looking for a new job?

The employer doesn't want to take on somebody who has been rejected by everyone else. If you've been looking for a long time, they are going to wonder why you've been unsuccessful. Try not to mention a long period of job hunting if you can help it. You can't do this if you've been unemployed for a long time, so be honest. You can mention that you've use the time wisely, for instance with voluntary work or travelling.

What are you looking for in a new job?

Be genuine in your answer, making sure that your responses align with the position you're being interviewed for. You should state that you're interested in utilizing your existing knowledge, skills and experiences, while welcoming the chance to grow into a new role that demands more of you. Most employers like someone with a desire to learn, providing you offer solid experience to establish you in the post.

What would your ideal job be?

Naturally, your answer should line up with the job that you're being interviewed for. Rather than simply repeat the job description, interweave your career ambitions and professional strengths with aspects of the job. Focus on features such as challenging work with room to develop professionally, the attractions of team work, career prospects, application of existing skills, etc.

Do you prefer to work in a small, medium or large company?

Hopefully the answer to this question will be obvious to you - the company you wish to work for is the same size as the one currently interviewing you. Prepare your answer in advance. If the employer is small to medium-sized, state that you prefer a close, dynamic team, with the opportunity to work on more varied tasks. If it's large, then say that you enjoy an established company that's highly active in its field.

Are you considering any other positions at the moment?

You are under no obligation to tell the interviewer about any other applications, especially if it's going to weaken your negotiating position if you're made an offer. Always state that you have a couple of other applications out there, but resist any attempts to elicit details. It is your business alone.

What would you like to avoid in your next job?

You should never mention negatives in your response to any interview question. You should reply that there's nothing you'd like to avoid and that you're motivated by the opportunities give to you for professional development, the acquisition of new skills and experience, or whatever positive aspect of this vacancy attracts you.

Part 3: Top Interview Questions and Answers

Part 1: Answering Interview Questions

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