Introduce yourself :
Unavoidable and essential. It must be clear and short. Around 5 mins long. Tell briefly where you are from, your age and your degrees.
You may go further into details on your past work experience, your functions and what you have learned from each of them.
You can end up talking about your passions and hobbies, unless you are alcoholic or taxidermist.
It’s not a good idea to make stuff up. Recruiters may ask questions and find out that you lied.
What do you know about the company?
By asking that question, they want to make sure that you know about the company.
However, it’d be counterproductive to read out loud their complete history. Stay focus on essential points. Look at their website and prepare 7 or 8 lines of relevant information about the company: origin, activities, size, market placement, countries they work in, clients, what they make stand out from competitors.
Why our company?
It is very important to emphasize what you can bring to the company.
This is when you tell them why you want to work with them. It may be to join a big company, to start international career, to learn new functions and new skills, to integrate a company with career perspectives or only to evolve professionally.
Recruiters want to know if they can trust you on a long term basis and check if you have career plans (they want to see if you applied on every job you found on Indeed).
What are your plans in the next 2 to 5 years?
This is the most common difficult question. Although no one really knows where they will be in 5 years, you have to think about it and prepare an answer.
The main point of asking this is to find out if the company can count on you on a short or long-term basis. They also want to know if you already have career plans and to have an overview of you ambitions.
The challenge is to find balance between ambition, humility and logic. You have a lot to learn before evolving in the company, don’t forget it. Showing that you are open to any option is always a good point. Avoid being too closed minded and saying things like: «If I didn’t change position after a year, I’ll leave the company”. It would clearly be one of the worst things you could say. You can say that you’d think about changes when the right time comes.
What is a typical working day with us like?
By asking that question, they check if you know where you’re going. You should show that you know about their working environment, timetables, tasks, specificities and job difficulties. You may ask more details and check if you’re not mistaking.
Tell me about your worst work experience:
This is a tricky question. Bad experience does not exist. You have definitely learned something, even from each experience if it ended badly. What you should not do is: speaking about organisation issues of the last company you worked for, telling them personal stuff about your old manager that was the worst man ever (even though he did deserve it!). You can compare experiences and explain why one was more rewarding than others but you shouldn’t use the words «bad experience».
What would your last manager say about you?
This is another way of asking about your qualities and defaults. Be honest but not too much. Candidates tend to go a bit too far answering that question. It’s the right time to be original and use your sense of humour although you have to manage it well.
Think outside the box. Keep in mind that recruiters have dozens of interviews every month. What you’re saying must be in line with the job position. A bad example would be to say that you’re empathetic while applying for a prison guard job position. Give 3 or 4 qualities, it’s more than enough. And don’t lie about them.
This is auto-criticism. Be aware that they want to turn your qualities into defaults. Start by talking about what you can «improve» and not about «weaknesses». Make sure to say that you’re already working on it and that you know how to change them. Be honest and humble. Keep in mind that one can always improve. Please do not say you’re a perfectionist, you wouldn’t be original at all.
How do you manage stress?
Tight deadlines, last minute changes, high quality standards, limited resources… here is a sample of stressful aspects of work. Recruiters want to make sure that you can handle stress. Show them that you are able to keep your calm and that working under pressure makes you even more efficient.
A good employee is able to handle issues and stressful situations. Show that your have got self-control by giving examples of stressful situations that you have dealt with. Managing stress consists in organising yourself and prioritising tasks.
What about leading?
Recruiters want to know what kind of position you may be able to have in their company. If you think that you can lead, you should give facts from your past experience to prove it. However, if you’re not a leader, do not lie about it. In a team, all profiles are necessary. There is no wrong answer to that question.
Why should they choose you?
This is when you really try to sell yourself. Develop and give relevant points. Highlight your skills and show them that you understood missions and challenges of the position. Underline that you’re able to adapt easily and that you’re ready for new challenges. Be careful not to sound too confident, stay humble. Avoid speaking about personal life.
It’s not necessarily a tricky question but be careful to not answer it stupidely. Beforehand, get information about salaries of these types of jobs. You may ask for higher salary if you have experience in that job field. If you just received your degree, you shouldn’t ask for higher. Keep in mind that companies are more likely to trust experienced people than juniors with degrees.
You can tell them what you’re currently earning and your last salary. Do not set up too high expectation, you might loose credibility and sound pretentious.
Have you got any questions?
Yes, you must do. Be curious. Show that you’re already part of the company. You ca ask about management, company values, future managers, general atmosphere.
Why not ask recruiters why they chose to join that company? Ask them what are the company plans in the next years and evolution possibilities. Do not take too much risk: don’t ask questions regarding salaries, days off, holidays… Don’t say that you have holidays planned. If your holidays are more important that the job, do not even go to the interview.
You can also ask recruiters for feedback regarding your interview and what you may improve. It’ll give you an overview of what they have thought of you. Avoid trivial questions such as cafeteria menu and company revenues.
Why did you leave your previous job?
This is to check if you’re reliable. The worst mistake would be to denigrate previous employers. Underline what you have learnt in each work experience and explain the reason of your leave. Reasons you can give: career change, lack of evolution possibilities, salary too low relatively to similar job salaries, moving house, commuting time, company was likely to close down…
Reasons you can’t give: I didn’t get on with colleagues, I had bad managers, I had too much work, I didn’t agree with company values.
Why is there big gap on your CV?
It is not advisable to lie or give fake dates to fill gaps on you CV. There is nothing worse than sounding dishonest. Some companies may as well ask you for proves of your experience and degrees. Show that you stayed active and positive during that difficult period. Explain why you didn’t get jobs and what you have learned from it.