There is an awful lot of chitchat and small talk that happens in interviews. When you take a closer look at the exchanges, you can see that there are only a few questions the interviewer is essentially really interested in. The rest are simply there to create rapport and to fill the gaps.

We don’t know the specific questions you will be asked however, what we do know is that an interviewer has one major objective to fulfil, and that is to get the answers to the five basic questions below. Based on your answers, he or she will then compare you to the other interviewees, and they will then rule you in or out. Here is the list:

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What brings you to this interview?

This is where the interviewer wants to see how well you have researched this position, how committed you really are to the company and why you are looking for a new job in the first place. Make sure you read up on the job and can say exactly how it fits to your skills. Do your homework on the company so that you can explain why you are on their interview couch and not the competitor’s. Finally, you will inevitably have to explain what brought you to a job interview, prepare to outline your reason for changing jobs.

What value will you add to our company?

The interviewer is hoping you might be the solution to their problems, so let’s show them why you are the answer. List your main skills and how these will be directly applicable if you get the job. Back your claims up with examples, situations and achievements from your previous jobs, and relate them directly to the job specification preferably quantified (i.e £ x increase in sales, 30% savings on paper clips). Forget what you want to get out of the job you are interviewing for, this is all about what they will get from you.

Can you work well with the team?

Here’s your chance to elaborate on how well you get on with people from all walks of life. Tell them how, although you have your own opinions and initiatives, you always make compromises and move forward for the best interest of the team and the company. Throw in some examples where you went the extra mile for your team and indicate how you will do the same for the team you would join.

What is special about you?

Let’s face it; every candidate that comes through the employer’s door will be praising themselves in their interview. This means that not only do you have to sell yourself, but in order to be credible you will have to give specific examples from when you have achieved great results in the past.

Tell them about when you solved that huge issue for your company’s biggest client and saved the Christmas party for everyone. Whatever nice and tangible achievement makes you special, memorise it and get ready to deliver it when prompted.

What’s your salary and when can you start?

If you get this question, you are probably doing well. These two points are classic buying signals. They indicate that the interviewer is actually calculating how much money they can make from you and when to begin doing so. The answer you want to give has to be low enough to make you competitive and high enough to avoid looking desperate. A good trick is to be sketchy and give them a salary range and say that you can’t really give a definite answer until you can compare the benefits to what you have already. Indicate that you will be flexible and that there will be a way to work out both the financials and start date, should you get to that stage.

Killer interview questions

You've made it to the interview and you've prepared for all the questions they are supposedly going to ask you. You go in confident, chest up, and smiling for what feels like forever. They start asking you questions about your background and life stories to illustrate your unique character. You explain your past work experiences, and personal events that define your leadership skills and qualities that make you a perfect fit for the position.

The interview is almost over and then they ask you the last question that you forgot about – Do you have any questions for me?

This is your window of opportunity that you really do not want to miss. Participating in the interview is one factor, but what distinguishes candidates from the others is when they actively participate with the interviewee by asking them questions. Not only does this demonstrate your sincere interest in the position, it also illustrates that you've done your homework on the company and the position offered.

Regardless if you are more of an extrovert or introvert, there are a variety of questions you can ask in your next interview. Before jotting all of these down, make sure you are comfortable asking the questions you have chosen otherwise your successful interview could quickly turn to an awkward one.

Ending your interview as confident as you were in the beginning is an essential element to a successful interview and they will remember your self-assurance when discussing who they want to hire.

9 questions to ask the interviewer:

  1. How would you describe the general culture of the company and the workplace?
  2. Why did you choose this company?
  3. Will there be any form of training provided?
  4. What are some of the biggest challenges/successes facing the department currently?
  5. What process will be used to evaluate my employee performance?
  6. Who will be my direct supervisor?
  7. Are there many opportunities for professional development within the company?
  8. What is the usual time frame for making the hiring decision?
  9. Is there anything I could have done differently in this interview?

Many candidates take the wrong path and ask inappropriate questions in their first interview. As tempting as benefits and salary information is to know up front, that should only be discussed after you have been offered the position. Plus, you will be in a better position to negotiate anyways. Not jumping ahead is important because you should be focused on having a great and memorable first interview to be called in for a second.

The interview process can be your best introduction to the company and by developing an interpersonal relationship you can stand out among the rest of the candidates. The more comfortable you are, the more comfortable they are and will appreciate the gesture in reciprocating the dialogue.

Remember, this is your opportunity to obtain further information regarding the position and the company that you could not get while researching online, so take advantage of this opportunity and make sure it is the right position for you.

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