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Be prepared! Know your interview questions

Depending on the format of your interview, the employer may use different types of questions to determine different things about your skills and character.


Competency questions allow interviewers to find out about your skills and qualities – in other words, how competent you are at certain tasks? You will need to prepare anecdotes that you can give as evidence for your abilities.


Technical questions challenge your specific knowledge of a subject. These types of questions are particularly used in interviews for vocational or highly specialised roles, such as engineering, which depend upon a technical understanding.


A structured interview is where an employer asks the exact same questions to each interviewee, in order to give a fair and measured comparison of each of their responses.


In contrast to a structured interview, an informal interview allows conversation to flow more freely. Although this may help you to relax more, it does make the questions more unpredictable, and also puts pressure on you to ensure that the discussion remains relevant, and firmly focussed on your skills.


Candidates are asked scenario situations about how they would react to certain tasks and situations related to the job. These allow you to draw on your previous experiences and show how you would fit in to the company.


You may be given a role-play question to see how well you think on your feet. The classic is “Here is a pen, sell it to me.” Interviewers may also use more unpredictable questions, such as “If you were an animal, what would you be?” If you get asked a question like this, it is essential that you stay in character – give an answer that is relevant to the job you are being interviewed for!


Often in your interviews you’ll be given a range of these different question types, in order for the employer to get a good overall understanding of your strengths as a candidate, so be sure to prepare for each!