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Job Interview Questions and Answers – Your Guide to Answering the Right Way

Job interviews don’t have to be such a scary and daunting process. If you prepare and have an understanding of the types of questions to expect, it’s easy to nail it! Read about some of the most commonly asked job interview questions in NZ so that you can start thinking about how you might respond. We have also included some job interview answer examples to show you how to answer the right way.

Answering Job Interview Questions

The first thing you need to know is that any answer you give should be well-structured. The STAR technique is one of the most commonly used methods to structure your response. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result.

If you are answering a question that begins with ‘tell me about a time when…’, try to stick to the STAR structure. Let the interviewer know what the situation was, what you had to do, the action you took, and the outcome. This ensures that your answers are detailed and to the point, not meandering off in another direction.

Job Interview Questions and Answers

Tell Me About Yourself

The ‘tell me about yourself’ question is one of the ones interviewees dread the most. Do you go with personal information, such as what sports you play, or do you offer an overview of your work history?

What the interviewer is looking for in your answer is some insight into your personality. They already know what’s on your CV, so we recommend giving some details that they may not already know. You could mention some of your hobbies, such as dance classes, reading, or volunteering on the weekends.

This can help the interviewer assess whether your personality may suit the position well. However, this question is really just designed to warm you up before getting into the more official questions.

What Are Your Strengths?

You are likely already aware of plenty of strengths you have. The key is to mention those that relate to the position.

When preparing for job interview questions and answers, re-read the job ad or position description. Decide which of the characteristics the manager is looking for that  you are strongest in. These are the strengths you should describe.

Example Answer

The below would be an excellent answer for a customer-facing role:

‘One of my greatest strengths is in connecting with people. I find that I have a natural ability to interact with people from all walks of life and find points of connection with almost anyone.’

Then go on to describe a time where your people-building skills have helped you to excel.

What Are Your Weaknesses?

Another commonly asked interview question in NZ is ‘what are your weaknesses?’. Many people try to avoid the question, say they don’t have a weakness, or claim to be a perfectionist. However, none of these is the right way to answer.

Instead, you need to identify something that you actually think is a weakness. The key is to find a trait that is not critical to the position you are applying for. That way, it will not make the interviewer question whether you can do the job. Also, make sure that your answer shows that you are aware of your weakness and are working to overcome it.

Example Answer

If you are applying for a data analyst position, for example, here’s what you could say:

‘I love getting into the details of data but can find it challenging to zoom out and understand the bigger picture. I am working on this skill and find that I am improving.’

Then add an example of a time when you have noticed your improvements in this skill.

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

The purpose of this question is to find out how much of a go-getter you are. Your answer will show whether you have goals for the future or if you aren’t sure what you want to achieve. Additionally, the role you’re applying for should be a stepping stone to where you want to be in 5 years.

Example Answer

If you’re applying for a role as a marketing coordinator, here’s how you might respond:

‘In 5 years, I would love to have learnt as much as I can about digital marketing and be now using those skills to work as a marketing manager, taking the lead on client projects.’

Tell Me About a Time When You Had a Conflict in the Workplace and How You Resolved It

While you may not get this exact question, you can expect to get a similar one in almost every interview you attend.

The reason that interviewers are so keen to ask about when you’ve had a conflict is that they want to see how you deal with tricky situations. Focusing too much on the conflict may suggest that you are difficult to work with. That’s why you need to emphasise the resolution, not the disagreement.

Example Answer

This will depend on what situations you have had conflict in, so tailor this job interview example answer to suit your own experiences:

‘A colleague and I disagreed on the best way to approach a new project and we needed to come to an agreement on how to proceed. Ultimately, we ended up talking it out, and once we knew the reasons behind each other’s ideas, we were able to come to a compromise. The compromise worked out even better in the long run, and the project improved our sales by 28%!’.

You can see that we have designed this job interview answer example around the STAR method mentioned earlier so that you can see how it works in practice.

Now that you’re all ready for an interview, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Discover the latest job listings on Shopless today and begin the search for your ideal next role.