Job interview tips

So you’ve landed yourself a job interview – well done! While you’re one step closer to a chance at a new job, a job interview can also be very nerve-racking. The aim is to come prepared so you’re confident with every question that’s thrown at you.

What to expect

If you don't get the job, learn from it by politely asking for feedback in an email as opposed to the phone, so you don't put the employer on the spot

Job interview questions can vary greatly, and the interviewers asking the questions can have a manner that ranges from distant and diligent to more relaxed and casual. Here are some sample interview questions and answers that could help you know what to expect.

Behavioural questions

  • Example: “Describe a time when you showed initiative in the workplace.”
  • How to answer: These questions ask you to reach back into your own history to relay a time where you behaved in a certain way. They’re designed to give the interviewer an idea of how you could act in the future, based on your past, so make sure you’ve memorised some vital positive moments in your career that you are proud to bring up.

Situational questions

  • Example: "How would you manage a large workload with the same deadlines?”
  • How to answer: Situational questions are similar to behavioural questions, however they compel you to speak about how you would deal with a particular issue in the future. This often requires common sense. Make sure you always tailor your answers so that the employer feels your response would benefit the company.  

Competency/ability questions

  • Example: What are your strong points?
  • How to answer: When asked questions about your abilities, avoid bragging. Instead, give three of your strong points and how they have benefited previous employers, focusing on answers that would also be of benefit to the company your interviewing for.

Communication/cultural questions

  • Example: How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
  • How to answer: Employers usually want to know about your interpersonal skills and how you work within a team. Your answer will give them a sense of whether you’d be a good cultural fit. You could say: “colleagues tell me that I’m a good listener” or “…that I’m easygoing and tolerant of others.”

Salary questions

  • Example: “What are your salary expectations?”
  • How to answer: As difficult as questions about salary can be, it’s important you come prepared by taking the time to research salaries and how much you’re worth. If you were pleased with your previous salary, you may want to state that as a ballpark figure and also express your willingness to negotiate if landing this particular job is more important than the money.

Some other interview tips

  • In a phone interview, be really clear and concise in your answers, as you haven’t got the luxury of non-verbal communication.
  • Practise makes perfect so enlist a friend to do a mock interview with you.
  • If you don’t get the job, learn from it by politely asking for feedback in an email as opposed to the phone, so you don’t put the employer on the spot.