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How to Answer Common Interview Questions

How to answer common interview questions with examples.
© CQUniversity 2021

Introducing Andrew

a stock image of a man with a beard

When Andrew is not busy existing in stock photo collections, he is a student that has recently completed a FutureLearn microcredential in Data Analysis like this one. He has experience in coding, a high school diploma/certificate and has completed an internship with the data team at a national bank. He is looking for a position as a junior data analyst.

Andrew has secured an interview with an online learning company for the same position he is seeking. He followed our steps and reworked his resume, made a succinct but specific cover letter and prepared thoroughly for his interview. Now he is sitting in the interview chair after introductions, ready to answer the panel’s questions.

Join us and follow along as we conduct a demonstration interview. As you are listening to or reading the question responses (a transcript is in the downloads below), consider how you could apply your own experience and skills to similar questions and responses.

Interviewer Andrew Tip
Tell me about yourself. Response Keep your answer brief and related to your professional background. Plan your 1-minute ‘elevator speech’.
What are your most significant strengths? Response Think of top 3 e.g. communicator, planner, team player. Check what the company is looking for and choose examples that show how your strengths align with what the company needs.
What are your career goals? Response Start with short-term and move into long-term goals.
What is your biggest weakness? No Response Show what you have done to overcome it/turn it into a strength.
What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishment? No Response Align your answer with company needs.
What aspect of your previous role did you find most challenging? No Response This is an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to problem solve and learn/adapt.
Why should we hire you? No Response Show that you understand the business and prove that you are a good fit. Provide success stories, demonstrate how you can help the company and why you will be successful.
Why would you like to work for our organisation? No Response This is an opportunity to connect with their values.
What do you know about the company? No Response Demonstrate your research, understanding, and interest in the company – be excited about the opportunity.
How would your co-workers describe you? No Response This is an opportunity to expand on your strengths, teamwork, communication skills, organisational skills and whatever else is relevant.
How do you manage your time and priorities? No Response Provide specific examples of how you have prioritised workload to meet deadlines.
How do you deal with pressure? No Response Provide a specific example (success story) to show how you have coped with a stressful situation.
Describe a situation where you have used your initiative. No Response Use the STAR Method to answer – Situation, Task, Action, Results.
Describe a situation when you had to work as part of a team. No Response What was your role in the team? What did you contribute to the team? (Use STAR method).
Describe a difficult or challenging situation that you have faced and explain how you have dealt with this. No Response This is an opportunity to demonstrate your problem-solving skills.
Provide an example of how you have dealt with a difficult customer. No Response Use the STAR method to give an example of a positive outcome.
Do you have any questions for us? No Response Make sure you have prepared questions, as this shows you have a serious interest in the position. Ask meaningful questions about the position or goals for the position.
© CQUniversity 2021
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