I’m just going to go ahead and say it — job interviews are extremely frustrating. It’s very hard to tell what the employer is thinking of you (unless they make it visibly or verbally clear), and some may throw you some curveball questions that are not commonly asked at workplaces.
While we can’t prepare you for all the existing interview questions in Australia, we will show you how to answer the most common interview questions there, as they might not be as common in your home country.
More specifically, we’ll explain how to answer the most common interview questions on a phone or Zoom interview, where it gets much more difficult to express your true self. In other words, certain nuances that you would use to influence the employer’s impression of you such as body language, making eye contact, and more, may not be applicable this time around.
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Most Common Interview Questions Australia
One of the things that makes job interviews hard is not really knowing what stands behind the questions you’re being asked. Many questions are asked in a very direct manner, but they’re meant to test your thinking abilities, your perspective on yourself, and your overall potential to fit in the new workplace.
With that in mind, let’s get into it:
Can you tell me more about yourself?
It’s short and simple, but it’s one of the hardest questions to answer. How do you begin to describe yourself, especially in such a short time frame? Whether you’re doing a phone, Zoom, or personal interview, your time is limited, and you’re definitely not supposed to tell your entire life story.
The employer wants to observe your strong and weak points through your quick summary. It might be tempting to recite what is already written in your resume, but that would be a mistake, as it will show your lack of confidence and perhaps other negative qualities.
Depending on your type of occupation, tell your future employer about projects you handled and challenges you had to face at work. Tell them how you made things work in spite of it all. You can also mention something that you failed to do and what you did to improve yourself. This will show your self-awareness, growth, self-confidence, and other great qualities such as problem-solving skills, and more.
What do you consider as your strengths?
Believe it or not, there’s an art to answering this question without appearing overly confident or pompous.
Sure, you’re a professional and you deserve this job, but saying this out loud doesn’t establish you as someone who is right for it. Instead of bragging about what you are good at, focus on how you can bring value to their company.
You can highlight a shortlist of accomplishments that make you a strong employee and a significant contributor to the growth of previous workplaces. Make sure to provide clear examples of how your contributions were made and their results.
As a rule of thumb, a list of 3 to 5 things for your strengths should be more than enough. Keep it short and to the point to get your message across in a timely manner.
What do you consider as your weaknesses?
Some would say that this question is much more difficult than the first. How do you answer this type of question without sounding incapable of doing your job?
It’s easy to do down this slippery slope if you don’t know why the employer is actually asking you this question. They want to observe your self-awareness and ability to cope with challenging situations. For instance, if you mention that one of your weaknesses is having an attention deficit disorder (ADD), how would you handle long meetings? Or working long hours?
Just make sure not to come down on yourself when speaking about your weak points, or try to overcompensate. If the employer recognizes in your explanation (or even, tone of voice!) that you are lacking self-confidence in this question, this may be enough to dismiss you.
What was your biggest challenge in a previous job, and how did you handle it?
This question is pretty straightforward, but also allows the employer to observe the way you recount the challenge you dealt with, your creativity, and problem-solving skills.
Prepare 1 or 2 challenges where your problem-solving skills and creativity were highlighted. Be sure to explain the chain of events clearly and honestly. It’s alright to admit mistakes, and more importantly, to show how you cope with such events.
Just be careful not to sound like you’re complaining, and definitely do not “trash-talk” your previous workplace. You will come across as unappreciative and unreliable in handling difficulties.
Why should we hire you?
This question usually comes up by the end of the interview. This is your final moment to prove yourself to the employer. However, as usual, there’s more to this question.
You could be highly intelligent, highly educated, and boast years of work experience, but how much of a valuable employee would you be if you had no passion for the workplace you’re applying for? How long would you want to stay in a place that has no value to you?
What your employer wants to see is whether you have the potential to stay for the long run, fully understand the work at hand, and want to give it everything you have. Otherwise, hiring you would be a waste of time for both of you.
If you found a workplace that you really like, be sure to do your research on it and show why you feel connected to what this company does. Remember, this will be your final stamp in that job interview.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The employer wants to assess your career path and whether you can grow along with the company. At the end of the day, hiring a new employee is a big investment of resources, so the employer wants this investment to pay off.
If you can see yourself growing in this company and climbing the corporate ladder, be upfront about it. Don’t shy away from expressing your future goals and aspirations.
Do you have any questions for me?
Remember, when you participate in a job interview, you are not just the one being observed. It’s your opportunity to learn about the workplace environment, policies, projects, etc. Take advantage of this question to get answers about things that matter to you in the workplace. For example:
What is a typical day at the workplace?
Who will be your coworkers?
What are their policies regarding vacation days, sick days, insurances, etc.
This will show the interviewer that you are serious about your job application and a potential fit for the company itself.
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