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The top seven questions asked at job interviews and how to answer them to make sure you get the job

Recruiters and careers experts have revealed the top questions people are asked during job interviews, and how best to answer them to ensure you get the role.   

Leading Australian recruiters, Steve Shepard, CEO of TwoPointZero, and Suzie McInerney, CEO of Six Degrees Executive, said it’s easy to be bombarded when asked questions about strengths and weaknesses and your skills set.

But if you can answer with a clear head and well, you’ll almost certainly get the job.

A question about your skills is all about how well you understand the role in question, and what the day-to-day requirements of your job will be.

Steve said the best way to answer this question is to link your skills with what the company or business does and its objectives, along with practical examples.

‘The more you understand about the role and have researched the organisation, considering its stakeholders, customers, business strategy, goals and objectives, the more you’ll be able to talk about how you can contribute,’ he told Seek. 

This is one of those questions where it’s vital that you have done your homework before you get into the interview room.

Another question you’re likely to get asked is what is the role and why are you interested in it.

Suzie said in this instance, employers are looking to find out how well you have interpreted what you will be doing on a day-to-day basis – and which elements you’ll perform well.

Again, make sure you speak about how you will add value to the company and what they do, she said.

When you speak, bring back all of your skills to how they will benefit the business you want to be a part of. 

While this might feel like a trick question, Suzie said it’s designed to show what is ‘most important to you and how and why you gain satisfaction from different aspects of your career’.

‘Good answers are less about tasks and more about showing your passion, what you are most proud of, and how you have made an impact in your current role,’ she explained.

On the flip side, it’s always a good idea to be prepared to discuss elements about what you do that frustrate and annoy you.

Steve recommends being honest here, but framing your response in a ‘positive light’ so you can talk about how you manage your frustration. 

‘Also, remember to think about the job description – for example, you don’t want to say you find dealing with difficult customers frustrating if the role is customer-facing,’ he said.

Try not to make your frustrations too ‘ranting’ in their tone.

This question can be scary to answer, because you don’t want to admit you made a mistake, but also don’t want to be caught out thinking you’re perfect.

‘The key here is to focus on the take outs from your mistakes,’ Steve said.

When you give an example of a mistake from the past, outline the circumstances, as well as your decision-making process and how you moved on from the error.

He added that most companies just want to see that you’ve learned from a mistake, so acknowledge how you have moved forward.  

Having a sense of self-improvement is vital for any role, and when they ask you this, employers want to know if you have an appetite for self-development.

Steve recommends you answer by giving the skill you want to develop and the reason why, such as ‘I want to improve my Photoshop skills to enhance my marketing ability’. 

Finally, employers ask about your professional and technical skills set because they want to know both about what you can do and how your communication and leadership skills are.

‘Authentic answers work best – this is not a laundry list of generic traits,’ Suzie said.

Similarly, you need to substantiate each trait with real examples of how your skills look when they’re in action.

Think about this question before you go into the interview, and also how you’re going to answer it. 

Careers expert and LinkedIn specialist Sue Ellson previously shared her tips to help you make yourself as employable as possible after COVID-19. 

‘If you are considering going back into your old role after COVID-19 or into a new role somewhere else, you need to think in terms of the best value you can provide your employer,’ Sue told FEMAIL.

She said employees must add value to the employer by having the necessary skills, a ‘can do’ attitude and a willingness to learn.

One of the ways you can do this is by participating in online courses, such as those offered by TAFE.

The courses, which can cost as much as $1,570 for 12 weeks of study, offer practical skills and experiences across a range of industries including administration, business and computing.

You could also use this time during the pandemic to update your CV and make sure you’re putting forward the best foot possible.

Sue said you should be sure to include your previous jobs, experiences, skills, achievements, volunteer work (if any), interests and how the employer can contact you.

‘The achievements need to describe your value in terms that the employer understands, so if you are switching careers, you need to focus on your transferable skills as well as document your other skills,’ Sue said.

You should also take the time to write the perfect cover letter for that particular job, and update your LinkedIn profile so that it’s relevant with your experience.

A good cover letter should predominantly outline and summarise your resume and why you are best suited for the job position available.

Finally, you should also use online platforms including LinkedIn, which are a great way to develop connections and network with other people.

‘Now is a good time to track down past colleagues and managers and request an online recommendation via LinkedIn,’ Sue said.

‘And don’t be afraid to contact members of a professional association related to where you would like to work and see if you can volunteer in some way’.

Sue said to ‘be realistic’ about how much time is spent each day on career development tasks, as adjusting to the new home isolation ‘rhythm’ will take time.

‘I usually suggest two hours a day, five days a week is more than enough to keep you in the running for great opportunities,’ she said.

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