This is typically the most common interview question, and as such, is your chance to make a great first impression. This question is the way of the interviewer getting to know your personality a lot better, although the question is extremely vague the way you answer will let the interviewer know a lot about your personality.

Candidates may approach this question by giving an overview of their employment or personal history, and while there is nothing wrong with this approach, it won’t necessarily make you stand out to an interviewer. It is important that you highlight your key skills and achievements, and speak of your future ambitions. However, you should keep your answer short and concise to keep the interviewer engaged.

Why do you want to work here?

It is important that you give a clear account of why you would like to join the organisation and what appeals to you. The organisation will have expected you to have done some homework about what they do and show awareness that you have thought about how you can fit into their organisation. How you will help the company achieve its missions and values and your skill sets that aligns with their vision for the future.

What are your main strengths?

This is a question that candidates can often become stuck on, it is important not to overthink your answer and be clear, honest and concise. You should be confident while giving your answer and have no doubts about your strengths. Pick two or three of your best attributes and give examples of how these characteristics have led to professional success and how you can apply these strengths in the role. It is always worth looking at the requirements in the job description to tailor your answer to the qualities they are seeking.

What are your main weaknesses?

This question shouldn’t be perceived as a negative question, the organisation is not expecting you to be perfect or the finished article. Never say you have no weaknesses as this shows a lack of self-awareness and even arrogance. The best way to approach this question is to focus on areas you feel you can improve and say how you believe the organisation can help you progress in those areas.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Questions where the employer asks you about your future plans and outlook are a really important gauge of your thought process, your career ambitions and dedication. It is important that you set realistic goals and even break those goals down to show that you have thought clearly about your career progression and the path you would like to take. It is also worth mentioning how the role can help you achieve your targets and how you will go about achieving those goals.

Why are you leaving your current job?

This is a very common question because the employer wants to understand your current circumstances and what is the driver behind you pursuing other opportunities. Avoid bad-mouthing your current employer, regardless of your feelings towards them and explain your reasoning. The employer will want you to be professional and any criticism of previous organisations will only damage your credibility and hinder your chances of success. It is much better to focus on the positive aspects of previous organisations and how they have got you to where you are now, this is where you can mention about how the employer can help you go to the next stage of your career.

Give me an example of a time you showed leadership skills?

Organisations are always keen to see if you have leadership potential because they always have one eye on the next generation of leaders. Showing leadership credentials could be a decisive factor in making you stand out from the crowd. It is important to back up what you say with examples and case studies that validate your argument, without any examples the employer may oversee your points as it doesn’t represent added value.

What are your salary expectations?

Organisations will always ask about your salary expectations, this gives them an understanding of where you feel like you are in your career and also how you value yourself. Before answering any question on salaries it is important you do your research on the industry so you don’t price yourself out of the market.

Do you have any questions?

It is crucial that you ask the interviewer questions at the end, it shows that you are still engaged and that you are showing an active interest in the company. You could ask the interviewer about career paths in the organisation, this shows that you are committed to the organisation and you are career-motivated. You could also focus on the interviewer themselves and ask them about their history in the organisation and how they have got to where they are.