It is important to prepare yourself for all types of questions; what, how and why. The person conducting your job interview may stick to one type of question but it is best to be prepared for all eventualities, especially if your job interview is being conducted by multiple people.
Previous work experience is great, but make sure you can repackage it in a way that is relevant to the job you are interviewing for. Before you answer, think hard about why they are asking this question and try to give examples that are relevant to the job you are applying for, then explain how the skills and experience would be transferable in your new role. If they ask you the common question about a past mistake or for you to describe something you did but would now do differently, say so and explain why.
If you are stumped by a question and draw a blank, do not panic. Saying ‘I have never come across that in my line of work’ or ‘I haven’t yet faced that in my working life’ is a perfectly acceptable answer, if you can’t think of anything important.
You will often come across assertive interviewers who are purposely trying to put you on the back foot. At this point it is important to be equally confident and assertive in your answers. It is important to remain calm and professional. Be careful not to be too defensive – it is usually a tactic to see if you can keep your cool under pressure.
The early rounds of an interview process are usually a box-ticking exercise to ensure you meet the criteria needed to do the job. Essentially, the interviewer is looking for a specific answer, and once you say the magic word they will move on to the next question. The best way to prepare for this is to read up on the company, check out the ‘about us’ section of their website and look up the company’s values.
At the end of the interview don’t forget to thank them for their time. Ask what the next steps are in the process and let them know you are interested in the job.