Killer Interview K-uestions

I hear you asking yourself, “What is a ‘Killer K-uestion’?” Well, they are questions that are considered to be some of the most difficult to answer in interviews, here are some examples…

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?” 

“What motivates you?”

“Why should I hire you?”

Imagine you’re sitting in an interview and then BAM! One of these questions is thrown at you, out of nowhere. Where did that come from? You barely know what you’re going to be eating for dinner in 4 hours’ time, but we’re asking you about 5 years’ time? It seems pretty unfair to have these types of questions sprung on you in the middle of a nerve-wrecking interview for your dream job. Yet, it’s pretty likely that you will be asked some terrifying questions once in that dreaded interview chair. 

These questions will give your employer a deeper insight into your character and decide whether you are a good fit for the company, or not. Think carefully before you head to your interview as these questions are important and they are intended to show your potential employer how you think. So, this is our attempt at helping out with one of the most daunting aspects of an interview… the Killer K-uestions.

  • “What is your biggest weakness?” 

Trick question? Some believe so. We are all most naturally inclined to only talk positively about ourselves in an interview, and the employers want to know about our strengths and skills, right? So, is this question just a means of finding a way to eliminate you from the job? Of course not, the key is to not draw any negative attention to yourself, pick something that you would consider a weakness, but not something that would potentially put off your future employer. Then, follow that on by stating that you are working towards bettering yourself and setting your own personal goals in the workplace. Give examples of when you’ve been faced with your weakness at work, then explain how you would cope and deal with the stress. You can take a negative aspect and put a positive spin on it, so that it works to your advantage. 

  • “What motivates you?”

This is categorised as a personality question, and this will give the employer a better understanding of the kind of person you are, what you enjoy doing in your spare time and what you do well. Whether it’s your family, work or your future, everyone has something that motivates them. When talking about what you are motivated by, try to keep the job that you are applying for in mind, try to think about what skills would be most useful and practical for the job and then try to incorporate those abilities into your answer. Maybe try thinking about past jobs that you’ve had and a point during this time in which you were really proud of the work you did, what pushed you and motivated you to do your best? Remember to give relevant examples to show that you would be strongly motivated by the job that you are currently applying for, whether that be a motivation for providing excellent customer service or getting the best results. Whatever motivates you, use this to show that you are the perfect candidate for the job you’re applying for. 

  • “Why should I hire you?” or “Why do you think you would be successful in this job?”

The perfect time to show yourself off but not too much (remember that there’s a line between confidence and arrogance). Use this time to justify why you are the perfect person for the job, highlight your skills and strengths that match you to this job, why are you perfect for this job? How could you try to improve the company? Why is this specific job perfect for you and not a different one? Try to keep in mind what the employer is looking for and the type of person that they want for this job, this will be easy considering that you have already done some thorough research of the company, then tailor your answer to reflect those qualities. Give examples from the past that support what you choose to say, for example, if you were to say that you could improve the customer services of the job, state a past experience in which you did that. This question is a chance for you to express your skills, abilities, experiences and the enthusiasm that you would bring along with you to this new job. 

  • “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?”

DO NOT say that you don’t know. This is, possibly, one of the most damaging answers that you could give to a potential employer. Even a toddler can tell you what they want to be in the future, whether that be a princess or football player, they have an idea of where they want to go, and I tell you know, there is no employer out there that would be impressed by someone that has no future aspirations or goals. It’s okay if you really don’t know what you want to do in life, but this isn’t the impression that you would want to leave in a first interview. An answer that hasn’t been thought out and planned can be like you saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, I’m a free bird that doesn’t know where I’m going or how I’m going to get there.” So, a better response would be one that doesn’t explicitly state that you want to stay with the same company forever or leave them as soon as another option comes up. Of course, if you do plan on staying in this company and moving your way upwards, make that clear. You need an answer that shows that you want to grow and become an expert in whatever you do. 

As long as you show that you have future aspirations for yourself within this job or within your own personal abilities, this will show the employer that you are committed to improving the company through your own consistent improvement. Just, for the love of God, do not say that you don’t know. 

Although these questions are difficult, they give your employer a deeper insight into the kind of worker that you are and if you are well suited to the job. Remember to prepare yourself before going to the interview, think about your answers and if they maintain the vibe that you would want to be giving your employer. Stick to these tips and you will fly through your interview with golden star stickers.

Post by Anika Tazmin

Anika is a 4th year student at the University of Nottingham.

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