Interview Questions You May Be Asked (Part Six)

In part 6 of our interview questions, you'll see how to approach and answer the trickiest of interview questions, where a wrong answer means that you've instantly failed the interview.

To better prepare for interviews, you might consider mock interviews where you're asked a series of interview questions, just like a real job interview; after the mock interview, we'll teach you how you can improve your interview performance.

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

If you have, state how you implemented it successfully. If you have not, you will need to show that you are used to working to company quality standards or that you have a methodical approach to carrying out work.

What interests do you have outside work?

Your hobbies and interests can tell an employer a lot about you, including whether you are sociable or solitary, and whether you can take on 'leadership' roles. So you should think about which interests will paint the right picture of you given the position you are discussing.

If you have changed jobs a lot you may be asked how long you would stay in the new job.

You should state that you are looking for a long-term opportunity where you can learn and develop. You could then ask them if this applies to the job being discussed.

Have you ever been fired?

If you have, you will need to handle this question with great care. Try and put yourself in as favourable light as possible without being too dismissive. If you have later been able to correct any deficiency which resulted in you being fired you should tell the interviewer.

Are you too old for this job?

An interviewer shouldn't really ask you this question if you live in a country that has age discrimination legislation. If you are asked this question then you should tell the interviewer that you feel that your extra experience would enable you to make a bigger contribution to their company sooner than someone younger and less experienced.

Are you too young for this job?

You shouldn't be asked this question if you live in a country that has age discrimination legislation. If you are asked this question then say "No, I do not think so!" and then state the reasons why you are not too young. If you have a lot of experience gained in a short time, say so.

You may be over qualified for this position?

Tell them that you feel that your extra experience would enable you to make a bigger contribution sooner than someone with less experience.

Are you prepared to relocate?

If you are, say so. If you do not want to move then you do not have to accept the job - try and come across as someone who is positive.

Are you willing to travel?

Again if you are, say so. You want to sound positive, so find out how much travelling is involved before you turn down the job.

How often are you off sick?

This can be a difficult question to answer if you are frequently off sick or you have just recovered from a prolonged period of illness. If you have generally enjoyed good health and this period of illness is not typical then you should say so.

What did you earn in your last job?

You have to be very careful when answering this question because once an interviewer knows your current salary they will try and fix your next remuneration based on this figure. This may be satisfactory if you only wanted a modest rise in salary and your current salary is in line with their salary range, but, what if your current salary is substantially lower than the rate for the job, or if you want a substantial salary rise? In these cases you would be best advised to say that you do not really want to prejudice yourself by being too high or too low. Ask if you can discuss this later after the responsibilities for the job have been discussed; you may also want to ask them what the range for the job is (if you do not already know).

What level of salary are you looking for now?

Be very careful when you answer this question - you do not want to appear to be greedy. If you are applying for a specific vacancy you could ask them what the salary range is. Once they have answered you could say "I think my experience would place me at the top end of your range, don't you?" If they ask you this question fairly early on in the interview you could delay answering by saying "It is hard to discuss salary without first knowing a little bit more about the job and the responsibilities."

What will your referees say about you?

Say that you expect excellent references.

Difficult questions

If you cannot answer a question you might reply with "That's an interesting question - how would you tackle it?"

Fantasy questions

These sort of questions can be very difficult to answer. Such questions might include: "What would you do if you won the National Lottery?" You should give the answer, which in your opinion will give you the best chance of getting the job.

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