How to Prepare for a Job Interview

  • Ascertain your possible career options, relating them to your personal interests, inclination and aspirations.
  • Articulate your career goal(s).
  • Develop your career development plan, indicating the career milestones and development.
  • Include a cover letter if applicable.
  • Bring the folder during the interview, as you may be asked to show the evidence. 
  • Clean and neat attire; including appropriate footwear for the job applied
  • Neat and proper haircut / hairstyle
  • Appropriate/minimal accessories
  • Check that there is no body odour and bad breadth
  • Display positive body language
  • Respond appropriately to questions posed
  • Ask relevant questions


  • Good in relating to people
  • Good leadership skills
  • Good organizational skills – planning and executing of events
  • Cheerful
  • Patient
  • Competent in using software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint
  • Communication skills such as presentation to an audience
  • Punctuality
  • Good team player
  • Responsible for tasks assigned
  • Adaptable
  • Eager to upgrade and learn new skills

How to respond to Commonly Asked Job Interview Questions

This will be most likely be the first question that you are asked in your interview. As it comes at the beginning, it is important that you are prepared to answer so that you can start the conversation off on the right foot.

When an interviewer asks: “Tell me about yourself”: What they want to do is to get to know you and have a feel of whether you are the best candidate for the job – your experience, skills and interest in the position. 

What NOT To Do:

  • DO NOT get personal – Do not discuss personal issues. Keep your answer professional and completely focused on the position.
  • DO NOT ramble – Your answer should be like your elevator pitch both in content and length. This means your answer should not be more than just a few minutes!
  • DO NOT just go through your resume – Do not go through your resume bullet by bullet point, and give your entire employment or personal background.
  • DO NOT go off topic – everything you say should be related to your professional experience and skills and how they relate to the position.
  • DO NOT appear scripted – Being prepared does not mean memorizing a script because it comes across as disingenuous. Instead, memorise key points and transition through each one naturally.


  • Take the opportunity to take some control over the interview. Give just enough of the right information so that interviewers can ask you follow up questions.
  • Keep it RELEVANT and CONCISE – Highlight the experience, training and skills that are relevant to the position, and why you are suitable for the job. Study the job posting in advance and plan which skills you will highlight.
  • Stay CHRONOLOGICAL – Discussing your relevant experiences in chronological order is a great way to demonstrate your career progression.
  • Highlight your ACHIEVEMENTS – For each role that you previously held, discuss an achievement that makes you a good fit for the position.
  • Do some STORYTELLING – The best story you can tell is one that gives the interviewer a true sense of how you can problem solve. You can use the STAR framework:
    • S – describe the Situation
    • T – describe the Tasks
    • A – describe the Actions
    • R – describe the Results

Interviewers ask you the question not to make you feel awkward but to gain some insights into how you have performed when faced with adversity. They do not really care that you failed but how you approach situations when they do not work out for you.

They want to see that:

  • You are self-aware and can acknowledge your failures
  • You take responsibility for your mistakes
  • You grow and learn from failure
  • You are able to overcome challenges and move forward from your missteps

How NOT to answer the question

  • Everyone has failures so do not minimize your answer by saying, “Oh, I have not really had any failures”. This answer reduces your credibility and is an immediate red flag to the interviewer.
  • You also do not need to confess to a catastrophic event that send your interviewer running for the hills.
  • Never make excuses or blame others for the failure. It makes us look defensive.
  • Do not put yourself down. One thing that the interviewer wants to hear from you is that you don’t dwell on but learn and move past your failures

Selecting a situation to discuss

  • Team failures – make sure you are sharing the responsibility!
  • Discuss something that went wrong but not catastrophically.
  • Avoid personal and overly emotional topics that don’t relate to the position.
  • Discuss a meaningful failure such as missing a deadline, wrong decision etc.
  • Be sure that there is a career-related lesson learned or take-away from the failure.

How to answer: Have a formula and structure to address the failure

  • Be genuine and admit your mistakes.
  • Tell the story from beginning to end but be succinct.
  • Explain what you learned and how you will prevent the same mistake from happening in future. Use the START approach to formulate your answer:
    • S – Situation: Introduce the scenario and the issue you are faced with.
    • T – Task that needs to be accomplished.
    • A – Approach: What decisions were made?
    • R – Results: What happened as a result?
    • T – Take-away: What did you learn? What should have been done? What will you do next time?
I. What do you know about the company?
  • Start by showing that you understand the goals of the company.
  • Then go on to say something personal.
  • You can talk about why you were drawn to the mission or why you believe in their approach with personal examples from prior jobs or volunteer experiences
II. Why do you want this job?
  • Companies want to hire people who are passionate about this position, so you should have reasons for wanting the job.
  • First, bring up a couple of factors that makes the role a great fit for you and then share why you love the company.
  • Examples of possible answers include:
    • I like to interact with people and help them, which is why I would love to join the Customer Service Department.
    • I think your company is doing great things, and I would love to be a part it.
III. Why should we hire you?

If you are asked this question, then you are in luck. There is no better setup for you to sell yourself and your skills to the interviewers. Your answer should include:

  • You can do the work and deliver great results 
  • You will fit in perfectly with the team and work culture
IV. What are your strengths?
  • Share your true strengths which suit the position you are seeking.
  • Share an example of how you have demonstrated these skills in a professional setting, your past successes and achievements.
V. What are your weaknesses?

The interviewer is checking your self-awareness.

  • Identify something that you struggle with but that you are working to improve.
    • For example, maybe you have never been good at public speaking but you have stepped out of your comfort zone and volunteered to run presentations, which has helped when addressing a crowd.
  • Frame your answer in a positive way.
    • DO NOT Say something cheesy – do not give a generic answer like in a Google search. You need to appear honest.
  • Tell the Truth – but frame in a positive way. For example:
    • Do not say: “I am terrible at follow up.” – No one will want to hire you as you will be seen as irresponsible.
    • You CAN say: “I often say “Yes” and may end up taking too many projects.”- You may come across as a hard worker.
  • Spin your answer positively. It is important that while sharing your answer, you show you can take feedback and learn.
    • For example, if your biggest weakness is that you are very detailed oriented, so that sometimes you have trouble looking at the big picture. You can easily spin this into a positive.
    • You can say you researched how to look at things in the big picture and now, after recognizing this, you always look towards the next steps.
VI. What is your greatest achievement?

There is no better way to impress a hiring manager than talk about a track record of achieving great results in past jobs.

  • Set up the situation that you were given to complete,
  • Describe what you did and what you achieved.
VII. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Be honest about your future goals, but keep in mind that a hiring manager wants to know if you have set realistic expectations for your career.

  • Share your thoughts on what you would love to see the company achieve.
  • Show how your interests would contribute to the job.
VIII. What do you like to do outside of work?  

Interviewers ask personal questions to see if candidates will fit in with the culture at the company.

  • If someone asks about your hobbies outside of work, you can open up and share what you enjoy doing
  • Keep it professional, hiring managers do not need to know everything.
X. Do you have any questions for us? A job interview is not only for hiring managers to grill you; it is also an opportunity for you to figure out if the job is the right fit for you. What do you want to know about the position? For example, what is your favourite part about working here? 
XI. Special Circumstances If you are a recent graduate or a career changer and do not have any experience directly related to the role, you can talk about transferrable skills and training (e.g. interpersonal, organizational, leadership skills, etc.) 

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