A recruiter is asking questions to a young potential colleague.

10 helpful job interview questions

Do you have an appointment for a job interview? Prepare yourself!

Do you have an appointment for a job interview? 10 helpful job interview questions

A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you're not sure what questions to expect. Employers want to get a good idea of who you are, what your skills are and whether you're a good cultural fit. And as a job applicant, of course you want clear answers, despite the stressful situation you find yourself in at the time. That's why knowing how to prepare for your job interview is very important. This blog shares 10 questions you can expect in initial interviews, along with some tips on how best to answer them.

1. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

This is often the opening question of a job interview and it gives you the chance to make a good first impression. Keep your answer concise and relevant to the position you are applying for. Focus on your professional background, experience and accomplishments relevant to the position. Feel free to also talk about something that will give your interviewer more insight into your personality or skills, without elaborating too much on intimate or irrelevant details. For example, for a first job as a Talent Acquisition Specialist, it would be relevant to say something about a project in your training for which you brought together the right people to give an effective presentation, but it would be less interesting to mention that you can pour a perfect beer. Then again, you could link that to the top-notch service you provided with a smile in your student job.

2. Why are you applying for this position?

Employers want to know what drives you and why you are interested in the position and the company. Highlight your passion for the field of expertise, your interest in the company's mission and how this position suits your long-term goals. Do you have some experience in the industry or in a similar role already? Or have you done other jobs or taken certain training courses in order to make this move? If so, you can highlight those to clarify your track record. This will give the interviewer a good idea of your motivation and ambition. For example, you could mention that you took a degree in communication because you are interested in efficient business communication and the different roles people play in that.

3. What are your strengths?

This is your chance to sell yourself. Choose a few strengths that are relevant to the position and support them with examples from your work experience. Be honest and humble, but be proud of your accomplishments. This sounds like a contradiction, so it's advisable to prepare your response to this question carefully. Think about which projects or accomplishments you are proud of. Try to explain them clearly, fluently and matter-of-factly, and link a good attribute or skill to them. How do you link a skill to an accomplishment? By telling how your sense of accuracy and good planning ensured that you completed a major project on time, or by mentioning how you used those skills to support other people.

For example:

Imagine you're applying for a recruitment job and the interviewer asks you about your experience in building strong relationships with both clients and candidates. In that case, you could answer:

"My experience as a recruitment consultant has improved my ability to build strong relationships with both clients and candidates. For example, when I was serving a client who was looking for specialist technical staff, I stayed touch with the client to make sure I fully understood their needs. At the same time, I built strong relationships with potential candidates, which resulted in successful placements and long-term collaborations. I believe this skill will certainly be useful in the role of recruitment consultant at your company."

Meeting in Antwerp office.

4. What are your weaknesses?

It's important to be honest, but do avoid any shortcomings that are critical to the position. Instead, mention a weakness that you recognized and you have been working on, and describe what steps you have taken to tackle it. This question is also asked to get to know you better as a person. The interviewer wants to know whether you have a realistic attitude and a problem-solving approach. For example, you can be honest and say that you sometimes lose track of different priorities, but that this has led you to spend a bit of time on a planning system each day to stay ahead of yourself.

5. Why do you think you are suitable for this position?

Here you need to show how your skills and experience match the position's requirements. Give specific examples of situations in which you did similar tasks and the results you achieved. You can prepare this thoroughly by reading the job posting carefully and by making connections to your own skills or experience. You can make certain transferable skills stand out here by clarifying your motivation for them. Eagerness to learn is also a good quality. Be sure to mention that you want to learn a lot and how you expect to approach this.

6. How do you work in a team?

Employers want to know how well you cooperate and communicate with others. Give examples of projects that required you to work together with colleagues and how you contributed to the team's success. They may also ask you what roles you have taken on in a team already and what type of role you are comfortable with. For example, do you like to take responsibility or are you good at documentation and distributing tasks? This requires self-knowledge, but you can also prepare for this by checking with previous teammates.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This is a question about your long-term goals and ambitions. Indicate that you are interested in growth and development within the company, but also be flexible and open to new opportunities that may arise. You don't have to know what job title you'll have in 5 years, but you could say, for example, what new things you want to learn and whether you are interested in vertical advancement or specialization.

8. Why do you want to change jobs?

Be careful when answering this question and avoid negativity about your current employer. Similar to job interview question 4, this is a good opportunity to turn negatives into positives. For example, if you tell them that you no longer see any more room for growth, this shows the interviewer that you have ambition. If you say that you would like to learn and expand your knowledge, this shows great motivation in your job interview. So, you no longer focus on your previous employer, but on what you are looking for in your new challenge and how this position better matches your goals and interests.

9. What do you look for in an employer?

State what is important to you in an employer, such as a positive work culture, opportunities for professional growth, and a good work-life balance. Show that you have thought about what is important to you in a job and why this company appeals to you. You can also prepare your answer to this question before the job interview: most companies' websites talk about what kind of employer they are and what their values are. Decide whether you can relate to this even before you accept the invitation for an initial interview.

10. Do you have any questions for us?

This is your chance to find out more about the company and the position – after all, that's what the interview is for. Prepare some questions that show you are interested in the company and the role. For example, a few questions about the company culture, the advancement opportunities or the day-to-day responsibilities for the position. If you read the job posting and website carefully, you'll undoubtedly have some questions about the position. One good question would be: "What's the team like and who will I be reporting to?"

In short: knowing how to prepare for your job interview pays off!

Preparing your answers to these common job interview questions will help you come across as confident and professional. Even if your education or experience suit the described position perfectly, take the time to practice and refine your answers. It will stop you from getting overwhelmed by your nerves and you'll be ready to make a good impression on your potential employer. Good luck!

A candidate is explaining his motivation to the interviewers during his job interview.

FAQThe 10 most commonly asked questions in job interviews

Let's summarize what we have discussed in this article for a quick overview.

1. Can you tell us about yourself?

Briefly highlight your professional background and relevant accomplishments, avoiding irrelevant details.

2. Why are you applying for this position?

Express your passion for the field, interest in the company's mission, and how the role aligns with your long-term goals and experience.

3. What are your strengths?

Showcase relevant strengths with examples from your work experience, demonstrating humility and pride in your achievements.

4. What are your weaknesses?

Acknowledge a weakness you're working on, emphasizing your problem-solving approach and realistic attitude.

5. Why do you think you're suitable for this position?

Provide examples of how your skills and experience match the job requirements, demonstrating eagerness to learn and grow.

6. How do you work in a team?

Describe your teamwork skills with examples of successful collaborations and your role within teams.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Express interest in growth within the company while remaining open to new opportunities and development.

8. Why do you want to change jobs?

Focus on positive aspects, such as seeking growth and learning opportunities, without criticizing your current employer.

9. What do you look for in an employer?

Highlight factors important to you, like positive work culture and professional growth opportunities, showing alignment with the company's values.

10. Do you have any questions for us?

Show interest in the company and position by asking insightful questions about the company culture, advancement opportunities, or job responsibilities.

Preparing for these questions can help you appear confident and professional during your job interview, increasing your chances of making a positive impression on potential employers.

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