Examples Interview Questions

Do you feel you progressed satisfactorily in your last job?

If you're very happy with how you progressed, then say so, pointing out how this led to an achievement. Always remember that the interviewer may be getting a reference from your current or previous manager, so don't make claims you can't substantiate. If you are a fast learner, then say so. If you didn't progress enough, only say so if there were mitigating circumstances, such as the economic downturn.

What problems did you encounter in your last job? What annoyed you about your last job?

Never state that anything or anyone was a problem, as it will only make you look bad. Prepare a couple of answers that focus on problems that were beyond your control, such as market conditions or a change of direction in the company. Make sure that you can demonstrate your response to the problem, which either resolved it or minimized its effects. You need to show that you can deal with adversity or change.

How did you get on with your previous manager/supervisor, co-workers and subordinates?

You should always reply by saying that you got on with everyone, even if you did find somebody difficult to work with. Everybody has had a colleague who is difficult at some point in their career, but what's important to show is how you handle difficulties. By stating that you maintained a good professional relationship with everyone, you're showing that you are able to handle differences in personality.

Have you been responsible for implementing ISO9000/BS5750 or Total Quality Management (TQM)?

If you have, then you can provide examples of how you implemented it successfully. If not, this is an opportunity to specify how you have worked to company quality standards or met other regulations. A methodical approach and attention to detail are vital. You can state that you are open to undertaking any training relating to quality management.

5) About you

How would you describe yourself? / How would others describe you?

The way to answer this is to be honest, but not too honest. Describe your main professional strengths, including your personal attributes that come into play at work. Of course, these points should also satisfy the details of the person specification for the job. Always have achievements that you can link to the different strengths, as the interviewer may ask you for examples.

Do you consider yourself successful?

This is your chance to talk about your achievements. Say that you do consider yourself successful in meeting work related goals, mentioning some achievements that also align to the job vacancy's responsibilities and duties. Avoid sounding complacent by stressing that there's always more to learn and that you're keen to build on previous successes by developing further in your next job.

What was your greatest success? How did you achieve it?

As well as having a mental list of achievements, you need to ensure that you can talk about them in some detail. This usually means being able to describe each achievement and also to tackle a follow-up question, should the interviewer ask one. You will most likely know which achievement really stands out, but make sure it is relevant to the vacancy.

What has been your biggest failure?

If you say that you have never had a failure, the interviewer will not believe you. So instead of talking about a dreadful error you made at work, focus on something that you were able to correct, or which had minimal consequences. Always stress how much you have learned from your experiences.

How could you improve yourself?

This question is similar to "what is your greatest weakness?" If you say that you wouldn't improve anything, the interviewer is likely to challenge you or push for a reply. While you should never mention a negative, it's easy to focus on an area where you feel you could learn more and improve your work performance. Don't mention anything that is central to the job vacancy.

Are you a leader?

Don't claim to be a leader if you're not. If you are, describe how you have successfully acted as a leader, with examples. Ensure first that you fully understand what attributes and behaviour are generally regarded as leadership qualities. You can then describe which leadership qualities you have.

How do you handle criticism?

The interviewer is trying to assess how you respond to being managed or supervised. Nobody wants to employ someone who is unable to accept direction from a superior - or from a colleague. As ever, you need to show your readiness to improve and grow in your work by accepting valuable feedback. It is worth asking about staff appraisals and development plans (i.e. training) at this point.

Part 5: Typical Interview Questions

Part 1: Answering Interview Questions

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