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How to answer common but ambiguous interview questions - part 2

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Following the positive feedback to Part 1 of this topic, here is how to answer 5 other common but ambiguous interview questions:

  1. What would you do if you didn’t get the role? This question is designed to test how you respond to setbacks. I would explain that you would be disappointed (playing this cool may actually demonstrate you aren’t actually interested) but would like feedback for either other roles in the space you work in. In doing so, it gives an insight into how you respond to bad news and what you are doing to improve.

  2. How would your friends describe you? Bearing in mind we spend more time with colleagues than our own families at times, it is important to demonstrate that you are a good person to work with. The best approach would pick 2 or so characteristics that are could be useful for the role but not actually overtly saying this whilst coming across as friendly and professional.

  3. What do you know about us? The key here is to make your answer specific to you and not explain verbatim what is on the company website. Research news articles about the company in the press or initiatives the company has been involved in and how it relates to your interest in them. If you know anyone in your network who has worked for the company either currently or previously, it is also worth mentioning anything particularly positive.

  4. Are you unhappy in your current role? The usage of the word “unhappy” implies you are leaving your roles for push factors rather than pull factors. Even if you are unhappy, it is important not to convey this as it could result in the company seeing this as leverage to offer you a lower salary. I would, therefore, explain it is this role and similar roles like it due to positive things like progression and reputation rather than being unhappy.

  5. What questions do you have for us? The best thing to have 2-3 questions lined up that you are genuinely interested in but are also appropriate i.e. asking why the budget for the role is low is not appropriate! Asking about the day-to-day of the role and the progression of the role is always good. Simply saying you have no questions is a complete no-no as it may convey a lack of interest.