The big day has arrived. You’ve done your research. The curriculum vitae is flawless. That suit is pressed and you’re dressed to impress. You’re now suitably prepared to ace that interview….or are you?

So many candidates have fallen at the final hurdle simply because of their failure to prepare for any potential questions that may arise during the interview. Some people get caught off-guard and slip up. Others try unconvincingly to bluff their way through to the next question.

The last thing you want is to let all that hard work go to waste. Read below about the five most common interview questions and how to deal with them.

What can you tell us about yourself?

Honesty is the best policy here. The employer wants to know about you and what you can bring to the company.

Never try to assume the persona of somebody else as any good interviewer will see through you straight-away.

Always be yourself, even if your achievements seem minimal make sure to list them. An employer will respect your honesty above everything else.

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What do you know about our company?

This should be relatively easy to answer through your initial research. It’s the way you present this information that’s the key here.

When an employer asks this question they are aiming to elicit a response from a candidate about why they want to work for the company.

Make sure to mention certain aspects of your research and inform the employer about how they influenced you towards applying for the job.

What are your strengths & weaknesses?

Once again honesty is the best policy here. Many people try to be clever with negative-into-positive responses such as “I care too much about my work”. Contrary to belief this does not work. Any seasoned interviewer will spot behaviour this a mile off.

Try instead to focus on your real strengths or weaknesses. If you feel you need to improve your leadership qualities for instance, then mention it.

Follow-up this with a strength such as “I am a quick learner and always willing to improve”. An interviewer will appreciate this honesty and it will give them a greater insight into your persona.

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Why do you wish to leave your current position?

For most who crave a new challenge this is a pretty straight-forward question. For others however this may prove tricky. Not every candidate has left their current or previous employers on good terms.

Therein lies a temptation for the candidate to launch into a tirade of criticism. Avoid this at all costs. It will make the candidate look unprofessional and untrustworthy in the eyes of an interviewer.

Always maintain a reserved and courteous tone when discussing your previous employer whatever your opinion of them.

Some interviewers may actually use this question as a wildcard in an attempt to sound out the persona of the potential candidate.

Why should we hire you?

As blunt as it seems this question comes up more often than not during the course of an interview. The employer is asking the candidate to sell themselves and this is usually the make-or-break question.

Don’t dive head-first into discussing your previous experiences and endeavours. Instead talk about how you can benefit the company and what you can bring to the table. State your ambition and demonstrate your desire to improve the status of the company to the best of your ability.

Maintain a confident and professional tone at all times and don’t try to oversell yourself. Stick to your important attributes and keep them clear and concise. This level of composure will impress any interviewer.

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