Want to prepare for that interview?
Here are some frequently asked questions along with a guide to what the recruiter is really getting at. The best advice is to prepare your modal answers now, practise with a friend, colleague or your Advisor at Workplace.
Always ensure that your answers relate to your skill set and how this matches with the competencies outlined in the job specification.
You may have already carried out research online on how to answer frequently asked questions but it is also important to remember not to provide a common answer that other candidates are likely to provide. It’s best to ensure your answers include both your knowledge and experience.
Make your response about the personal qualities and skills needed for the job.
Remember those few lines at the top of your CV? The ones that say you are a “hardworking, target driven, Sales Executive". These are perfect. Get to know your opening lines by heart and start to feel comfortable promoting what you can bring to the role.
Do your research and show you’ve done it. It’s easy enough to find out what the company stands for. The employer’s values and mission statement is often found on the home page of their website.
“I know this company celebrates diversity and develops projects to give something back to the local community. I would really like to be a part of that.”
If ten people in a room had the same qualifications, their experiences and how they achieved their goals would be different. Feel comfortable knowing that you are not the same as everyone else. You are unique - there simply isn’t anyone exactly the same as you.
“I’ve been working in sales and marketing for three years while also studying part time. I’m really dedicated to my goals but also in helping others achieve theirs. I have a ‘Can do’ approach to tasks and a positive attitude which I think will really help me in this role.”
Scan the previous jobs on your CV and there is bound to be a time that you remember being pushed out of your comfort zone. Perhaps it wasn’t just work but in your personal life too.
Being asked about achievements is a chance to talk about traditional success and also overcoming life’s challenges as well.
“I was a carer for my elderly parents while attending college. It was hard finding time to study at home and even to attend all my classes during the day, but I did my best and am really proud of completing the course and the grades I achieved.”
The STAR method is a good way to manage your answer to this complex question. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
“While working as a Sales Advisor at Myers, (Situation), I learned my colleague was going to be off sick for a week. I opened her appointments calendar (Task) and called her scheduled appointments in advance offering to re book them with me if they needed urgent help (Action). This meant none of those clients had to wait for my colleague to return to have their queries dealt with. This helped the company but also alleviated the pressure on our team and my colleague when she did eventually return to work. (Result)."
“When I was working at Lloyds, as their Account Manager, I had really hoped to represent
our company at the local school’s Raising Aspirations Day. I had taken on several new
accounts in recent months from staff who had left the company. I just couldn’t fit this
event into my schedule. I let the school know in advance and I know they found a
replacement to fill our slot. I would offer this event up to another of our departments next
time, as it’s still an excellent opportunity for a colleague to promote the careers we have
out there in the community.”
“I have a lot of experience giving excellent customer service, for example, when I worked at Harry’s Restaurant, I knew every customer wanted to feel special. I did this by meeting and greeting each customer with a smile, making eye contact and getting to know the
names of regulars as well as asking how their week had been. I showed that we valued their custom. I always take an interest in my customers and the feedback they give me shows they appreciate it.”
“I avoid pressure by organising my day, week and month in advance. This means I can plan activities with the knowledge of how long I have to complete a task and ensure I complete all the associated tasks leading up to my deadline. Managing my time in this way means I alleviate a lot of stress as I know I am on track.”
“I have really enjoyed leading and motivating others. While working at Kelly’s Deli, I showed my team how to increase sales and the success led to increased revenue at this branch beating all the local competition. I can see myself being a team leader one day and certainly would hope to supervise others.”
“I was quite shy speaking in front of others until relatively recently. I’ve found that small groups of familiar faces is where I am most comfortable. I’ve been doing a few presentations at work recently and really quite enjoyed it. The feedback has been really positive so now I know it’s something I am getting better at, each time I’m in that situation of being asked to give a talk, I say yes now even if I am a bit nervous.”