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How to answer common but ambiguous interview questions with hidden meanings

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​The most common interview questions can often have a hidden meaning due to the broadness and ambiguity of the specific question. Here are 5 of these questions and an explanation of how to approach them:

Tell us about your career to date.

The difficulty with this question is at what point in your career should you begin explaining and how long should the answer be. The tip here is to aim for 3-5 minutes and start chronologically from the most relevant part of your career in relation to the specific job.

Why are you looking to move?

The obvious answers which you shouldn’t say even if true are more money, fewer hours, or the fact you do not get on with your team. The emphasis here should be to envisage several reasons from the interviewer’s perspective as to why you would move and link to your own reasons without criticising your current employer.

What are your weaknesses?

This question is to check both how self-aware you are and your ability to address certain attributes that need to be refined and how you are improving them. It is important to pick an example that is not crucial to the job requirements as this may harm your interview. Ideally, pick an example that may be viewed as positive and one which you can demonstrate how you are improving.

Tell us about when you have dealt with a difficult situation at work?

This is a very common question and is used to test how you cope under less than ideal circumstances. The best thing to do here is to succinctly explain your thought process so the interviewer can imagine the scenario for themselves and ideally adopt the STAR approach (detailing the situation, action, task, and result).

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

The difficulty in this question is typically the person interviewing you could be the person whose job you want in the future. The best thing to do is explain your next move will for the long term with a focus on realistic progression in the same firm and helping the company build on their current success.