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The Most Common Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

Published 4th May, 2023

Looking for a new job, a promotion or a career change can be an exciting time – it can also feel a bit like a job in itself! The key to a successful interview is two-pronged; you need preparation and practice. The job market operates almost entirely online, and the interview process is quite often conducted across Zoom, Teams, or Skype. However, the interview questions NZ employers ask remain largely unchanged. Although each sector and industry will have interview questions specific to the work, at The Career Academy, we have researched the most common questions asked in a job interview and written them up for easy access as part of your preparation.
Sitting down with someone you trust to give honest feedback on these five common interview questions and how to answer them could see you arriving to your interview calm and confident – and that may be half the battle won!

1. Do you have a weakness that might affect your performance?

This is always the trickiest interview question, so we will get it out of the way first. It’s okay to be honest here – in fact, it’s really best to be 100% honest across all the interview questions – just don’t dwell on negative aspects.

So, if you are wondering how to answer the strength and weakness interview question, it’s simple, first identify your weakness – and then explain how you offset it so it doesn’t affect your work.

For example, you may have time management issues, leading to unfinished tasks. In this case, you might frame your weakness as ‘occasionally taking on too much’.

The second part of your answer should confirm your ability to offset your weakness. You might say, “I recently invested in a scheduling app, which has been invaluable in letting me see where I need to pull back from overcommitting”.

This will let a prospective employer see you are proactive in dealing with weak spots as they arise – and that you are a hard worker.

2. Why should we hire you ahead of another candidate?

This is one of the most common job interview questions NZ employers ask. Here you have an opportunity to give them your ‘elevator pitch’. This means you need to have a few key points to share, and you should connect your points back to the job description – a good elevator pitch is around 30 seconds.

You might say, “I was interested to note that you are looking for someone who is proficient across Xero & MYOB software. I have studied both of these software applications and now have an advanced, certified skillset. I recently had the opportunity to apply my Xero and MYOB skills to (situation x) and found what I learned on my course was easily applied on a practical level”.

This allows the hiring manager to see that you are paying attention to their goals for the role, you have invested in yourself, and that your investment will benefit the company you want to work for.

3. Tell us about yourself

This is one of the most common questions asked in a job interview – it’s also kind of a trick question. This is not an invitation to chat about your weekend, your relationship history – or the fact that you are a cat person!

While it is important to be yourself and allow your personality to shine through when you are answering interview questions, this question should be answered in a way that lets the hiring team see that you are a reliable, goal-oriented, well-rounded person.

Use this time to chat about what led you to the interview, when you first became interested in the type of work you are applying for, and what you did in the way of training and inquiry to ensure you were qualified to apply.

Keep your answer warm, and throw in a couple of points about how your personal life is maintained in a way that has allowed you to stay on course for your career goals.

4. Tell us about a time you had to deal with a conflict at work

These types of interview questions present an opportunity to use the STAR formula. This comprises a four-part answer: situation/task, action and result.

A conflict could be that a team member was not keeping up with their share of the work in a group project, and when they were called on it, they got defensive and upset.

You figured out that they were not assigned the task which best suited their competency, and you suggested a redistribution of tasks to ensure everyone could bring their A-game. Then, everyone happily moved the project forward to meet the deadline.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This is one of those job interview questions NZ hiring managers love to ask as it speaks to goals, ambition, forward-thinking – and, most importantly, loyalty. Companies are largely looking to invest time and money into onboarding a competent team player who plans to stick around for the long haul.

Talk about the role you are applying for as a stepping stone within that company, and draw a picture of your trajectory within that business.

Telling your interviewer you want to develop your professional skills with study that will enhance your capabilities for the role is a great answer, and throwing in a couple of healthy personal goals will allow them to see you have personal ambition, want to run a half marathon? Perfect!

Get In Touch

At The Career Academy, we have a dedicated Career Centre that all our students can access to get feedback about their CVs or ask questions about the interview process.

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