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What kinds of things will you actually be asked in your interview?

Unless you’ve got a crystal ball, it’s impossible to know exactly what your interviewer will ask you.  However, it is possible to make an educated guess.

We’ve rounded up a few of the typical questions that you’re likely to be asked, and given you some tips on how to tackle them.

We have given you an example answer for each question, so you can get a feel of tone and structure, but remember these are lose outlines, and you should adapt and lengthen these to reflect yourself and your own experiences in the best way possible.

Q: Tell me about yourself

This is a classic ice-breaker question. Use this opportunity to give a brief introduction to who you are, where you live, where and what you studied, as well as your current employment situation. Be sure to make it concise and relevant – never waffle during an interview.

Example: “I graduated from Birmingham City University in 2013, with a 2:1 in Marketing. I currently live in Manchester, working as a Retail Assistant at a department store. I also volunteer part-time as a Marketing Assistant at a local craft store. I am looking to move into a marketing-centric role and put my skills to good use.”

Q: Why are you interested in this role?

You need to show the employer that you’ve put some thought into your application, and that you are familiar with the tasks and duties expected of the role. Be sure to keep a copy of the job advert in order that you can study it prior to the interview.

Example: “The role really stood out to me because of the diverse range of responsibilities. I really thrive on variety and enjoy getting involved in many projects. The involvement of SEO and Google Analytics also really excited me, as I find this side of online marketing extremely fascinating, and have used it a lot in my current role. I would enjoy the opportunity to bring what I’ve learned to a company that interests me so much. Your current campaigns on the website are really inspiring and engaging, being involved in that really appealed to me.”

Q: What could you bring to the company?

This is a tricky question that tests a number of things. It expects you to know a number of different things: primarily what the job is, the tasks it involves, and what the company does. You then need to talk about your skills and experience in the context of what you’re looking for. You need to be clued up on the transferability of your skills.

Example: “As a recent graduate I can bring a fresh, forward-thinking attitude to the company. My current work experience has given me invaluable experience working in a fast-paced environment. I am part of a team that developed and saw through the online marketing strategy, and I personally took control of analysing the results – which had the best outcome they had seen in years. My dedication and hard work in this role has meant that they have kept me on in a part-time voluntary role. I can bring this kind of energy and enthusiasm to the company, as well as many relevant skills that I have developed over my time at university. University gave me the foundations to develop and refine my skills and understanding of Marketing, as well as project management, meeting deadlines, and theoretical and creative thinking. My current role in Retail has equipped me with skills in communication, working under pressure and time management.”

Q: What is your greatest achievement?

Ideally you should try and pick an achievement that is relevant to the role, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be work related. The main part of your answer should focus on how your achievement allowed you to grow and develop as a candidate. It will also give the interviewer some indication about what motivates you.

Example: “My greatest achievement so far would be raising over £2,000 for the National Autistic Society last year. I took park in a sponsored hike across Wales, which took a lot of dedication and motivation. I learnt a lot about myself and what drives me, as well as how strong I truly am when I put my mind to something. It took a lot of slow and steady training beforehand, but the results were worth the effort. I gained a lot of satisfaction in being able to hand over the cheque, and I even got to see some of the places the money went to which was inspiring.”

Q: What’s your biggest weakness?

When discussing your weaknesses, you need to strike a balance between being honest and being sensible – don’t choose a weakness which will probably spoil your chances of getting the job, but equally avoid clichés such “I’m a workaholic” or “I’m a perfectionist”. Turn a negative into a positive and show how you are improving.

Example: “Some people might consider the fact that I am a new graduate with no paid experience as a weakness. However, what I lack for in paid experience, I make up for in being youthful, enthusiastic and open-minded. I have no pre-conceived notions about the way in which I should work, which leaves you open to mould me into an excellent fit for your company.”

Although it can be difficult to know for definite what you’ll be asked in interviews, there are some things which future employers aren’t allowed to ask about. These include:

Marital/family status
Sexual orientation
Political affiliation
Previous arrests