A guide to common interview questions

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When it comes to job interviews, preparation is key. 

While you can’t possibly think of every question you might be asked, there are lots of common interview questions you can use to get yourself ready for that all-important job interview.

Good preparation will ensure you walk in to your job interview feeling calm, confident and capable.

An interview is a conversation, a chance for the job seeker and employer to get to know each other - so make sure you relax and simply be yourself, too.

Here are some of the most common interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Tell me about your proudest achievement in a previous job (or study)
  • What is your understanding of this job?
  • What do you know about this company/organisation?
  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • Why do you want to leave your current job?
  • What would you like to achieve in this job/company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  • Tell me about how you work in a team
  • Tell me about a time when you’ve overcome a challenge at work
  • Your current/previous job was XYZ and this job is quite different - what skills and experience can you bring to this role?
  • Have you ever had a problem or challenge with a teammate and how did you overcome it?
  • Tell me about a time you failed or made a mistake at work - what did you do next?
  • What is important to you in a job?
  • What type of work environment suits you best?
  • How do you like to be managed?
  • Why are you the best person for this job?
  • How would your teammates and/or previous manager describe you?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time/outside work?
  • Do you have any questions for me?
  • What other jobs are you interviewing for?

Because an interview is a two-way street, it’s important to ask some questions of your own.

This is your opportunity to find out as much as you can about the job so you can make sure it’s a good fit for you. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What does a typical day in this job look like?
  • What do you love about working here?
  • What will be the biggest challenges for the person who takes this job?
  • What are your expectations of the person in this job (in the first week, first month and first three months)?
  • What three traits do your best employees have in common?
  • Why did the last person leave this job?
  • What opportunities for training and professional development do you offer?
  • What is the interview process and when should I expect to receive feedback on my interview?
  • Do you have any feedback for me on my suitability for the role and/or this interview?


Ready to find your next job?

We have assisted thousands of kiwis to gain new skills and secure work. You might be recently out of work, needing confidence building and interview practice, have a health or disability challenge, or maybe you are switching fields and need support accessing funding for licenses or short courses.

We will work with you on a personalised plan to help you prepare for, find and maintain work.

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