Career Toolkit


Most interviewers will ask a number of classic interview questions in order to determine your suitability to the role and how you will fit in with the team and company’s organisational structure. When answering the questions they are looking for you to demonstrate qualities that match their selection criteria.

A number of classic interview questions are listed below and it’s worthwhile spending time prior to the interview studying carefully the selection criteria given in the job description, understanding what is required and deciding what answer you would give to each. Remember to always emphasise the positive.

What are your main responsibilities in your current role?

  • Talk about your current responsibilities which are most relevant to the requirements of the role.

Describe the challenges you face in your current role and how you have overcome them?

  • This question offers you the chance to highlight problem solving skills and show that you can achieve results in the face of adversity. Think about challenges you have faced that are relevant to the role you are applying for and focus on the areas where you were key to the solution.

Describe your greatest achievement in your current role / career to date?

  • Describe an achievement which is specifically linked to the role you are applying for. You should be able to demonstrate quantifiable results and that you were the person leading the initiative or driving change.

Why do you want to leave you current employment?

  • Say that you are looking for greater opportunities, technical challenges or responsibilities and talk about the positive aspects of the role which made you apply to it. Never mention the negative aspects of your current job or employer and never give money as an answer.

What salary are you expecting to achieve in a new role?

  • Research salaries for roles of this nature on the internet and speak to your Recruitment Consultant at Deanston Cooper for advice, making sure you take into account your level of experience. Try to balance your research with your personal needs in order to determine a realistic salary range – it’s worth noting that most people who change jobs receive a salary increase of around 10%. Remember to have a degree of flexibility in any salary negotiation and to highlight that your main concern is to make a good career move.

What aspects of the role interest you the most?

  • Stress the positive aspects of the role which made you apply to it and what you feel that you can bring to it. Never imply that there are any aspects of the role that you dislike.

What qualities do you think are required for this role? How would you demonstrate these?

  • The job description will help you here but it is also worthwhile thinking about other qualities that may be required including leadership, communication, teamwork and problem solving skills. Think of specific examples from your working career which demonstrate these.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • Strengths - Briefly describe your strongest attributes and technical skills, making sure to mention your specific assets that directly relate to the responsibilities of the job. The four basic skills to highlight are strong work ethic, self motivation, initiative and teamwork. Personal characteristics need to be backed up with examples from previous jobs.
  • Weaknesses - Try to turn personal weaknesses into professional strengths, i.e. neglect family and friends when working on an important project or say that you are too meticulous and once you have started a major project, you can't let go until you have ironed out all the technical problems. Be prepared to provide examples of how you are trying to overcome these weaknesses.

Where do you see yourself in 5 / 10 years time?

  • Highlight the positive contribution that you can bring to the role and company. Be realistic about your career aspirations but do not sell yourself short.

What motivates you at work?

  • Never give money as an answer. Challenging workload, job security, good career prospects, recognition, good working environment and company culture, quality service provision and opportunity to learn new skills are all much better answers.

Why do you want to work for us?

  • Talk enthusiastically about the company and the positive contribution that you can bring to the role. Refer to their needs rather than your own and explain how you can contribute to specific company goals.

What do you know about the company?

  • This is where the earlier research pays dividends. Highlight size, products / services, history, culture, management style, people, competitors, USP’s. Be factual and never waffle - the interviewer will immediately know if this is the case.

Tell me about yourself?

  • Keep answers short – a few minutes maximum. Use the profile section of your CV as a starting point and make sure you highlight relevant key achievements.

Why should we employ you?

  • Describe your skills, experience and training that qualify you for the role, demonstrating that there is a good fit between you and the job requirements. Highlight the positive contribution you will bring to the role and that you will quickly add value.

Are you a team player?

  • You must highlight fact that you are a team player but can also work alone. Be prepared to provide examples.

What are your leadership qualities?

  • Even if you are not in a management position, you must highlight specific examples where you have taken charge and shown initiative.

Are you interviewing elsewhere?

  • Always take the opportunity to let the interviewer know if you have been for other interviews and are waiting for an offer. Being in demand or appearing to be in demand will heighten your chances of securing an offer and will also speed up the process. If you do not have any other job offers at the moment, simply say that you have a few other opportunities that you are pursuing at present. Remember to stress your interest in this opportunity.

If you require any further guidance on interview preparation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Good luck!