What's Your Question?

10 Interview Questions to Prepare For

Half the challenge of going for a job interview is not knowing what to expect. Many otherwise highly qualified candidates may be caught off-guard by questions they don’t know how to answer. So, to help you prepare, here are the top 10 interview questions you could be asked — along with some excellent answers.

Tell Me About Yourself.

You’ll probably be asked this at the outset. It’s kind of meant as an ice-breaker, even if the thought of it makes you shudder. Don’t be afraid to be personal. Talk about your hobbies and motivations, and feel free to showcase your personality. But don’t go on too long. And try to relate what you say to the job.

Why Do You Want This Job?

No, the answer is not “for the money.” Even if it is. Interviewers expect candidates to show off their knowledge of the company, and what appeals to them about the position they’ve applied for. So you should really know the ins and outs of the role and why you (might) want to work for that particular company.

What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

There’s an art to answering this question; it involves spinning your weakness as a strength. You might say, for example, that you can be a bit of a perfectionist. But if you do, it’s sensible to add that your drive to meet deadlines helps you to manage your time.

What Is Your Greatest Strength?

You might be proud of your crocheting skills, but is it relevant to the job? Always remember that you’re (probably) not the only shortlisted candidate. So if your greatest strength is swimming 50 lengths in a lunch break and another’s being a “people person,” who’s going to get the job in HR?

How Do You Handle Stress?

Bearing in mind that a smoke and a drink probably isn’t an acceptable answer, try to come up with a concrete example of how you’ve dealt with pressure in the workplace in the past. Telling them you never get stressed isn’t necessarily a good idea. Even if they believe you, they might just assume you’ve only worked in cushy environments.

Why Should I Hire You?

They’re asking for your sales pitch with this one. Don’t be modest. But don’t be arrogant either. Recap the highlights of your resume and emphasize any qualifications and experience that meet the requirements for the job. And finish with your own USP.

Where Do You See Yourself Five Years From Now?

Maybe this job is just a stopgap. Maybe in five years’ time, you won’t want anything to do with this company. But whatever you do, don’t tell them that. Instead, talk about your career progression goals and how your advancement will also be theirs. They might like to hear that you want to specialize and take on more responsibilities.

What Are Your Salary Expectations?

This is a horrible question. Not only can it knock you out of the contest if you quote a figure that’s a little too high; but employers can also hold candidates to a figure that’s well below average. Prior research is key. Find out the industry standard. And give a salary range instead of an exact sum — or, if possible, defer the question to your second interview.

Why Did You (or Will You) Leave Your Last (or Current) Job?

This isn’t an opportunity to rail against another employer. That would just seem disloyal. Even if you’re leaving under negative circumstances, focus your answer on the future. Talk about new opportunities. But also be factual and pragmatic.

Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

No, the interview hasn’t ended. This question is just as important. Many employers ask this to gauge how interested you really are in their company. So you might want to ask about the management style, or what your predecessor went on to do. You could also ask about the prospects for career advancement.


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Example Academic Interview Questions

Research area.

Teaching philosophy

Research plan



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