Questions you may get asked at an interview (applies to both face-to-face and telephone interviews)
Commonly asked questions
Tell me about yourself - the dreaded first question. Here the interviewer wants to know primarily about your employment and educational history. It's a good idea to have a copy of your CV handy.
Describe your current role and duties - or describe a typical day - this can be a hard question to answer. Just what is a "typical day?" To help - refer to your current job description and make a note of your daily tasks in a notepad. You might be surprised at just how much work you do!
Describe yourself in X number of words - again another tough question. Why not ask someone else - such as a partner or friend - to describe your qualities to you.
What are your strengths? - think back to recent situations that you've had to deal with. Perhaps it was a last-minute piece of work or dealing with a difficult task or person. How well did you handle it?
What are your weaknesses? - be careful with this question! The employer is looking for how self-aware you are. Again, think of a recent situation and what you learnt from it.
What do you know about our company? - this is when your research pays off. You'll be showing the employer that you're just as interested in them as they are in you.
Why do you think you are suitable for the role? - this is your opportunity to let the employer know how your experience and knowledge will benefit them. Don't be shy!
Where do you see yourself in five years time? - this all depends on how ambitious you are. If you're going for a junior position, say that, naturally, you want to progress. If you're applying for a senior position, you could say that you want to face new challenges.
What do you look for in a company? - this can relate to any number of things including work environment, good management or opportunity to progress.
Why do you want to leave your current employer? - it's best to be tactful with this question. Never speak negatively about your current employer; state that you are looking for a new challenge or change of direction.
Other questions you may get asked
How does your current role fit into the organisation?
What did you learn from your time at university?
How do you cope with pressure?
Do you prefer to work in a stand-alone position or in a team?
How has your performance been measured?
What skills do you have to offer us?
What would you do if someone didn't follow correct procedure?
Tell me what you know about a particular specification. This could be GMP, assays, etc.
How would you deal with an aggressive colleague?
Can you communicate with all levels of management?
Competency-based questions A competency-based question is used to determine how well your behaviour is suited to a particular role. These questions require you to provide examples of situations that you have faced, so that the employer can match your responses to the role requirements.
Examples of competency-based questions
Describe a situation when you had to...
Tell me about...
Give an example of...
It's very important to remember that these questions relate to you and not to the company or role.