The top 10 interview questions – and how to answer them

Now that you’re qualified to apply for your dream job, you need to get ready to ace the interview. But what are hirers most likely to ask, and how should you respond?

For the inside scoop, we asked Birsen Polat (Recruitment Manager at Dimension Data), Wayne Baker (Chief Operations Officer at Symmetry HR) and Jane Nielsen (Manager of Aged and Disability Care Recruitment at McArthur) what the top 10 interview questions and answers are.

Top interview questions

Interview questions and answers

What interests you about this position?

Employers want to know your ambitions – why you’re looking for a new job, and why you’re applying for this one in particular. Think about how the role aligns with your interests, goals, and studies.

What do you know about this organisation?

Show how you serious you are by doing your homework. Visit the company’s website to learn about their products and services, as well as the company history. Do a quick Google search to see if they’re appeared in the news lately, and prepare some thoughts around how your expertise would benefit the organisation.

How would people close to you describe you?

The interviewer will want to determine whether you would fit in with their company culture. Think about traits that are valuable in both professional and social settings, such as being organised, reliable and driven.

How do you think your experience aligns with this role?

The job ad will have detailed the experience and skills required, so talk about previous roles where you’ve used those skills. If you haven’t worked in that industry, highlight your transferable skills, such as communication, leadership and teamwork.

Tell me about a recent project you worked on. What were your responsibilities?

Think back to work you’ve done previously, and your level of involvement in decision-making, problem-solving and leadership. You could use examples of times when you led an initiative, contributed to a brainstorm, ensured a deadline was met, or coordinated a team.

When have you had to work as a team to achieve an outcome?

Give an example of a situation where you completed a task with a group, explaining how you used communication skills and agility when identifying and resolving roadblocks. If you were the team leader, describe your delegation and support process. Alternatively, let the interviewer know how well you handled instruction and showed initiative during a project.

Who is the most difficult person you’ve worked with, and how did you respond?

Be diplomatic in your response, for example: “I was in a team with someone who tended to be a bit uncooperative, and consistently challenged the input of others. I didn’t take this personally, and just made sure I had facts to support our thinking and was sure to involve them in decision-making.”

What is the management style that you respond best to?

Think of the manager, coach or leader that you performed best with and what you admired most about them.

You might describe their style as:

  • Considerate
  • Highly structured
  • Frequent face-to-face engagement
  • Trusting
  • Encouraging

Can you describe a situation when you had conflicting demands, and how you managed it?

Give an example of when you met your responsibilities by being organised, checking in with key stakeholders to understand where your priorities should lie, and focusing on critical business goals.

What kind of environment do you thrive in?

Think of a time when you felt genuinely comfortable at work. Was it because it was fast-paced and energetic? Or there was a lot of team collaboration? Remember to mention that you’re flexible enough to work in any environment; however don’t be afraid to state your preference.

Now you should be feeling more prepared to answer the most popular interview questions, but are you ready for the more difficult questions?  Learn how to answer difficult questions in your next job interview.