Careers advice – Five questions likely to crop up in interviews

Written by: Colin Marrs
Published on: 7 Sep 2014

Job interview

Securing an interview at a company you really want to work for is just the first step -  next, you need to prepare effectively. A key aspect of this is spending some time to think about what discussion points are likely to crop up in the interview. At Penguin Recruitment we prepare candidates constantly for interviews and here are our 5 top tips on how to answer five of the most common questions.

1. Tell me about yourself
Your academic and career history is the reason the interviewers wanted to see you. I would advise starting with your academic planning background and then any work experience and project work. Prepare a one minute history summary before the interview and practise it.

2. What key projects have you been involved on?
The client may already know this level of detail, so you should prepare for some detailed questioning. The best approach to take is if you have mentioned it on your CV then have an explanation ready. Any documentation that will support your answer would be ideal to take with you.

3. Where have you worked to business deadlines?
Planning is constantly governed by deadlines so have at least one recent example ready. If this deadline was faced while you were working in conjunction with other consultancies or governing bodies this would enhance your application.

4. What is the biggest challenge you have faced in planning?
Things don’t always go to plan and the interviewers will be keen to understand how you deal with adversity and adapting to fresh problems. A recent example – and remember that it is crucial to explain the solution you reached - will demonstrate your flexible calm approach.

5. Why do you want to work for us?
This is a great opportunity to give your pitch but also to use the information you have gathered in the meeting. Have a well thought out answer and take a pad to make notes during the interview which you can refer back to at the end.

Nick Lewis is director at Penguin Recruitment

image courtesy of bpsusf, Flickr