Questions and answers during the job interview

So there you are, sitting down, a little nervous. The recruiter comes in and takes a seat close to you. You take a first sip from your glass of water. The recruiter picks up his notepad. The barrage of questions is about to begin!   

What questions can you expect, which answers should you give?

Doel van je sollicitatiegesprek is de recruiter ervan overtuigen dat jij dé man of vrouw bent voor de vacature. Je toont je toegevoegde waarde voor de rol én voor het bedrijf aan.

The objective of your job interview is to convince the recruiter that you are the man or woman for the position. You demonstrate your added value for the role and for the company.

In an interview with a recruiter the questions might be more general and more focused on softer aspects. When the hiring manager conducts the interview, the questions will sometimes go into more (technical/commercial) depth.

So know in advance who you’re going to be talking to, and what his area of responsibility is.

Sometimes HR and the manager interview together, and then you can expect both types of questions. So what are the classic questions and answers during the job interview?

To start with: general, introductory questions.

Expect an ´icebreaker´, a question the recruiter asks to put you at ease. Give a brief, general answer. These are questions like ´did you find our office all right?´ and ´great weather today, isn´t it?´

Questions about your work experience and/or your training.

The longer you’ve already worked, the more the focus will lie on questions about your career, which is altogether logical. If you have little or no work experience, the recruiter will assess your educational career more extensively.

If the questions concern your studies, be sure to make your substantive motives for choosing your field clear and try to make the link with the job opening.

The recruiter will read from your CV the most important points of your career and pick out the relevant topics. Answer as far as possible with concrete examples via the STAR methodology (Situation, Tasks, Activities and Result).

Many applicants fear the question about the ´gap´ in the CV. Stay honest, without going into the personal details. List the meaningful activities you engaged in during that period, missions that gave you new skills/insights (e.g. volunteer work, organising an event, assisting a family member, etc.).  

Questions and answers during the job interview about your motivation.
´Tell me something about yourself, what should I know?´. ´If I asked your manager who you are, what kind of answer would I get?´. ´Why should we select you?´ Typical open questions. The smart thing is to give an answer that makes clear your motivation for the job. Mention education, experiences and secondary activities, do so succinctly and only tell about the ones that are relevant. Carefully rehearse your elevator pitch at home! With the question ´what are the most important evolutions in our sector?´ the recruiter checks how motivated you are to work for the company.

Questions about your professional qualities and personality

´Can you work well with others?´. ´Are you a team player?´ Questions about your competencies, in other words. You respond here with concrete examples according to the STAR methodology.

Most applicants find the question ´give your positive and less positive points´ to be disagreeable. It doesn´t have to be, if you’ve analysed the job in advance and therefore know what characteristics are necessary. Combine that with a good self-evaluation and bingo! For the negative points you should avoid general clichés like ´I´m a perfectionist´. Concede a genuine negative point that is of lesser importance for the job at issue. With proof that you´ve been working on that point, you can even score well on this question.

Finally: the category of wild-card questions.

These questions often have nothing to do with the job opening. The recruiter is checking how you react to unforeseen circumstances. These are questions like ´what would you do if you were president of football club X?´ or ´what´s the highest mountain in the world?´ Don´t be thrown off balance and give a sharp answer.  


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