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Interviews: questions and answers


The answers you give to the questions in an interview will be crucial in you succeeding at an interview. In this video employers and recruiters discuss some common interview questions, the importance of how you answer and questions they like to hear from candidates.

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  • HS = Harmesh Sansoa, Real World Magazine
  • GE = Greg Edwards, Corporate eCommerce, Deutsche Bank
  • HD = Howard Dawber, Strategic Advisor, Canary Wharf Group
  • AW = Alison White, Programme Director, East London Business Alliance

HS: Be prepared for a recruiter to ask you about your strengths, your weaknesses and your achievements.

GE: The most important standard interview questions, in my opinion, are: How has your educational background prepared you for the role or task you’re being considered for? Why do you want to work for the organisation or firm you’re applying to? And finally, where do you see yourself in four to five years time?

HD: The most off putting thing is having one word answers really. There’s someone who sits there and you say, "So, you’re at UEL" and they go, "Yeah". What you’re looking for is a sense of the person, not the right answer to the question but it’s a conversation. An interview has to be a conversation. The questions are designed to get the interviewee talking, not at great length and not in a very chatty way but in a way so that you get an idea of what they’re like as a person and what they’re capable of doing. So, short, one word answers or mumbles, that’s really, really off putting and very quickly, you’ll find if you have an interview and it only takes 20 minutes or 15 minutes, it’s because the other person really isn’t getting anything from you and they just think, actually, there’s no point in carrying on.

AW: I think a student should prepare for interviewing by being able to answer the question, "Why do you want this job?". I expect everyone to be able to come into an interview and to be able to convince me they want this job. The second most important question, I would say, is, "What skills have you got to bring to the job?" and they should be very well prepared for that.

GE: The questions we like to hear from candidates at the end of the interview are around the role, so, for example, "What are the challenges that the role encompasses?" and, personally, I like to have a question around what types of individuals succeed within the organisation.

HD: Something that shows that you’ve either done some research or that you’ve been really intrigued by something that was said in the interview or that you’re really keen to get going. Like, "What are the challenges of this job going to be?" and "If I’m really good, if I do get this job and I’m really successful, what are the chances of promotion?" or "How do you move up in the company? How did somebody like you get to be in the job that you have got? How did you get your job?" Those sort of questions that show that you’re really interested in that job and that organisation will really help.


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