New job interview guide reveals most commonly asked questions – and how to answer them

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Published: 9 February, 2021
The recently released Hays Interview Guide provides a comprehensive list of tips to give candidates an edge in their next job interview.
After capturing the interest of a prospective employer and landing an interview, you need to prepare. The new Interview Guide, produced by recruiting experts Hays, looks at every element of the interview, from the questions a candidate should pre-empt to what to do if asked for a second interview.
“Following COVID-19 disruptions in 2020, organisations are returning to growth and hiring new headcount, so now is the time for jobseekers to look to advancing their careers,” said Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand. 
“We’re observing good growth in some sectors and big changes occurring in the job market due to the rapid implementation of digital technology. That means that, for candidates, opportunities are there – provided you can stand out in your next interview.” 
Your Guide to a Successful Job Interview assists candidates in:
  • Researching the industry and the organisation;
  • What to do the morning of the interview;
  • How to introduce yourself to the interviewer;
  • What to do afterwards; and
  • Determining whether the interview did or didn’t go well.
For example, the guide includes the top seven most common and tricky questions that candidates are asked, and the best way to go about answering them in the context of today’s job market. 
According to Hays, the top seven questions to prepare for – and how to answer them – are:

1.    “Why are you looking to leave your current job?”

An interviewer will ask this question to get an understanding of your motivation, how you find enjoyment and fulfilment in a position, and whether you’d be a good fit for the role and the organisation’s culture. 
Hays advises candidates not to focus on any grievances with their current role or employer, but frame your responses around the opportunities you see in the vacant position.

2.    “Why should I hire you?”

Perhaps this question won’t be asked so bluntly, but prospective employers will often ask something along these lines to gauge why you believe you are a good choice for the role.
This is your chance to promote yourself. Hays recommends that you prepare three skills or capabilities that you could bring to the role and include a mix of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills.

3.    “How would your friends describe you?”

Here the interviewer is enquiring about your personal attributes and whether you are suitable for the team environment. Hays suggests you ask a friend, mentor or trusted colleague for their input, as they might provide a new perspective.

4.    “Why do you want this job?”

This question gives you a chance to expand on your interest in the role. Hays advises you to prepare four points for your response:
  • Explain your interest in the organisation;
  • Describe your interest in the role;
  • Observe how you would use the opportunity to progress; and
  • Share that you are pleased to have been asked to the interview.

5.    “Can you tell me about a time that you failed?”

In response to one of the more difficult questions that can be posed by an interviewer, Hays suggests you provide an example that demonstrates your ability to think critically about your performance and learn from your mistakes.

6.    “What are your salary expectations?”

You should be aware of the industry standard for your role and level of experience prior to the interview. Having this information allows you to answer with more conviction and puts you in a better position should you need to negotiate. For more information, see the Hays Salary Guide.

7.    “Are you interviewing with any other organisations?”

An interviewer will ask this question for a number of reasons. The best response, according to the Hays Interview Guide, is to convey your interest in the role, but to be truthful if you have already received another interview offer elsewhere. Avoid listing the specific organisation and the number of other jobs applied for though.
Download the complete Hays Interview Guide here. 

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