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How to answer interview questions

There are some common interview questions and you should prepare your answers before-hand. The key thing to remember when responding to interview questions is to keep your answers brief and to the point. If you are faced with a difficult question, make sure you stay calm, don't get defensive, and take a moment to think about your response before you answer. Remember, the answers below are only suggestions. Try to personalise your response as much as possible. Question: Tell me about yourself. Answer: Identify some of your main attributes and memorise them. Describe your qualifications, career history and range of skills, emphasising those skills relevant to the job on offer. Q: What have your achievements been to date? A. Select an achievement that is work-related and fairly recent. Identify the skills you used in the achievement and quantify the benefit it had to the company. For example, 'my greatest achievement has been to design and implement a new sales ledger system, bringing it in ahead of time and improving our debtors' position significantly, saving the company 50,000 a month in interest'. Q: Are you happy with your career-to-date? A: This question is really about your self-esteem, confidence and career aspirations. The answer must be 'yes', followed by a brief explanation as to what it is about your career so far that's made you happy. If you have hit a career plateau, or you feel you are moving too slowly, then you must qualify your answer. Q: What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it? A: The purpose of this question is to find out what your definition of difficult is and whether you can show a logical approach to problem solving. In order to show yourself in a positive light, select a difficult work situation which was not caused by you and which can be quickly explained in a few sentences. Explain how you defined the problem, what the options were, why you selected the one you did and what the outcome was. Always end on a positive note. Q: What do you like about your present job? A: This is a straightforward question. All you have to do is make sure that your 'likes' correspond to the skills required for the job on offer. Be enthusiastic; describe your job as interesting and diverse but do not overdo it - after all, you are looking to leave. Q: What do you dislike about your present job? A: Be cautious with this answer. Do not be too specific as you may draw attention to weaknesses that will leave you open to further problems. One approach is to choose a characteristic of your present company, such as its size or slow decision-making processes etc. Give your answer with the air of someone who takes problems and frustrations in your stride as part of the job. Q: What are your strengths? A: This is one question that you know you are going to get so there is no excuse for being unprepared. Concentrate on discussing your main strengths. List three or four proficiencies e.g. your ability to learn quickly, determination to succeed, positive attitude, your ability to relate to people and achieve a common goal. You may be asked to give examples of the above so be prepared. Q: What is your greatest weakness? A: Do not say you have none - this will lead to further problems. You have two options - use a professed weakness such as a lack of experience (not ability) on your part in an area that is not vital for the job. The second option is to describe a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered to be a strength and the steps you have taken to combat it. An example would be: "I know my team think I'm too demanding at times - I tend to drive them pretty hard but I'm getting much better at using the carrot and not the stick". Q: Why do you want to leave your current employer?

A: State how you are looking for a new challenge, more responsibility, experience and a change of environment. Do not be negative in your reasons for leaving. It is rarely appropriate to cite salary as your primary motivator. Q: Why have you applied for this particular job? A: The employer is looking for evidence that the job suits you, fits in with your general aptitudes, coincides with your long-term goals and involves doing things you enjoy. Make sure you have a good understanding of the role and the organisation, and describe the attributes of the organisation that interest you most. Other common interview questions to consider:

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How does your job fit in to your department and company? What do you enjoy about this industry? Give an example of when you have worked under pressure. What kinds of people do you like working with? Give me an example of when your work was criticised. Give me an example of when you have felt anger at work. How did you cope and did you still perform a good job? What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with? Give me an example of when you have had to face a conflict of interest at work. Tell me about the last time you disagreed with your boss. Give me an example of when you haven't got on with others. Do you prefer to work alone or in a group? Why? This organisation is very different to your current employer - how do you think you are going to fit in? What are you looking for in a company? How do you measure your own performance? What kind of pressures have you encountered at work? Are you a self-starter? Give me examples to demonstrate this? What changes in the workplace have caused you difficulty and why? How do you feel about working long hours and/or weekends? Give me an example of when you have been out of your depth. What have you failed to achieve to date? What can you bring to this organisation?

Interview Question: Has there been an occasion, when to proceed with a project you have had to use specialist safety equipment? Answer Guide: Applicant should be completely willing to acquire and use protective equipment and use their accessories. Interview Question: When was the last occasion you had to make an instant decision to prevent a dangerous situation from becoming a crisis? Answer Guide: Answer should display an intuitive reaction to protecting life and property when public safety is at stake. Interview Question: When was the last occasion when others benefited from your description of personal experiences regarding safety hazards? Answer Guide: Applicant should show willingness and the skills to communicate experience of risks and safety hazards for the benefit of other.

Interview Question: How regularly do you change your computer access code or password? Why do you make the change and what could be the result if you neglected to do so? Answer Guide: Applicant should seek to protect sensitive or confidential information by making non-obvious code choices when changing the password. Interview Question: When you have been given a physically demanding task or assignment how do you handle the situation? Answer Guide: Applicant should assess the risk involved and takes steps to not overstrain their physical capacity. Interview Question: Has there been a situation at home or within the work place where you have observed a potential safety risk that no one else seemed to consider? If so, how did you rectify the situation? Answer Guide: A candidate should have the capability and confidence to independently assess environmental or safety risks. They should also have self-assurance to state his opinion and have good decision making skills. Interview Question: You are aware that your current work place does not have the most modern or effective safety equipment available. Does this bother you and/or how do you handle this situation? Answer Guide: The candidate should be not intimidated where issues of health and safety are concerned. They should be capable of expressing a desire to acquire it.

The safety manager for your company is responsible for establishing and enforcing the safety policies that protect your employees and your business. She needs to have knowledge and understanding of not only corporate safety, but also legal guidelines on state and federal levels. In order to find a suitable safety manager, you need to know what questions to ask. You also need to know what information categories to consider as you speak to each candidate.


Questions on how the safety manager would approach the job are important. It will give you insight about how she would create and enforce safety policies. How would she evaluate the safety needs for a situation? What is her process for creating policies? What factors does she consider when creating policy? What groups of employees and management would she involve in the creation of safety policy, and what groups should be involved in enforcement? What does she believe are appropriate consequences for employees that violate safety policy?


A safety manager needs to have experience within your industry, and experience in creating safety policy. Ask her what were her accomplishments as a safety manager at previous companies. What experience does she have with hazardous materials? What is the most complicated safety situation she has experienced and and how did she handle it? What is the largest number of employees for which she has created and enforced safety policy? What is her experience with enforcing federal and state safety laws? Have her describe a situation in which she made a good safety decision, and a situation in which she made a bad decision. What did she learn from each situation?

Company-Specific Questions

A candidate interviewing to be the safety manager of any company should do research and know something about the company. Ask the candidate what she would do to improve safety conditions at your company. What does she feel is the biggest safety concern facing a company in your industry? How can she help your company improve its safety


Interview Question: What kind of salary would you require to accept this position? Answer Guide: Candidates should have a healthy regard for their value, be able to sell their skills and experience to you, show an ability to negotiate, act diplomatically, and have the ability to redirect the question back to you without an answer. Interview Question: What kind of salary do you think you are worth? Answer Guide: Candidate should use this opportunity to sell the benefits of their skills, competencies and experience. They should show the ability to negotiate. Negativity is not needed here. Interview Question: What kind of salary do you believe you will be earning in say, five years? Answer Guide: Job seeker should show confidence, belief in self, and strong ambition. Candidates should see themselves in the company and growing with it.


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How much do you know about the vacancy / company? What do you see as the main functions of the vacancy? How do you visualise a typical day? What interests you about the position? What do you see as the satisfactions of the job? What do you anticipate the frustrations to be? What skills or experience do you have that make you right for the position? What qualities do you have that make you right for this position? Who and what were you responsible for in your last job? What has been your biggest achievement in your career to date? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Give an example of when you coped well under pressure? When have you had an opportunity to show initiative? What motivates you? How do you motivate yourself? What de-motivates you? How do you analyse your own performance? How do you think that you could improve your own performance?

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What are your long-term goals? Why do you wish to leave your current job / last job? If you could change one aspect of your current / last position, what would that be and why? What are you looking for in your next position? Choose 5 words to describe yourself? What 5 words would your previous boss use to describe you? Describe a time when you received negative feedback about your performance? Are you considering other vacancies? EXAMPLE QUESTIONS YOU MAY WANT TO ASK THE INTERVIEWER

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Ask relevant questions that show you are interested, e.g. future plans of the company / position, how long has the company been in business, who are their competitors? What are the company's growth plans? What is the company culture / ethos? Ask about training opportunities, promotion prospects etc.? Ask for more information about the duties and responsibilities required in the position? How many employees do they have, how many other offices do they have, UK and overseas? What is staff retention like? Why has the vacancy arisen? Find out more about the people / team you would be working with? Ask about the interview procedure, whether there is a second or third round of interviews? Ask plenty of questions to show you are interested in the company and position? Confirm the salary and benefits with your recruitment consultant prior to the interview rather than ask at the interview. By leaving your consultant to negotiate on your behalf you will often end up with a more comprehensive offer.