Answers to interview questions

Prepare well for the range of questions that might be covered. Most questions are likely to focus on your experience, skills and motivation. Persuade your interviewers that you are very motivated to get the job. Tell them about how your strengths and interests match those that the employer is seeking. Answer questions fully but concisely. Speak only about facts that may be of interest to the employer. Be polite, honest and professional. Never lie.

Be clear and concise in your answers and do not use jargon or acronyms. Common interview ques­tions asked by employers include the following.

Why do you want this job?

What can you contribute to our company?

Tell me something about yourself Who are you?

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Why do you want to work in this country?

How long do you intend to stay in this country?

Why did you leave your last job?

Are your qualifications appropriate for the job we have to offer?

Expect to give practical examples to demonstrate your motivation and skills.


Deal diplomatically with questions about your weaknesses or inappropriate qualifications. Try to present your weaknesses as strengths. Counter bad experiences by giving several examples of things that worked out well and that you managed to cope with well.

Prepare answers in advance for questions about the reasons why you left other jobs or former employers. Practise these on your family and friends. They should tell you honestly if the answer you give is convincing.


Some interviews may address non-professional topics. Nevertheless, certain areas are considered as private and candidates should not feel obliged to answer questions on these topics. All coun­tries have anti-discrimination laws in conformity with EU rules relating to sexual orientation, age, disability, race or ethnic origin and religious beliefs. Other areas that should not be considered for discussion within the interview are political opinions, health, marital status or family plans. If the interview does include this sort of question, you are advised to ask: 'How does this relate to the job I am applying for?'


Generally, keep your questions to the end of the interview. Questions may cover the following: management structure of the company, a typical working day of the employee in that position, deadline for receiving feedback and the company's staff training and qualification programmes.


Discussions about pay depend on the country and the job being applied for (refer to country sec­tions in this booklet for specific advice on this). If in doubt, wait for the employer to raise the issue. Avoid discussing pay requirements at your first interview. In many countries, it is common to wait for the employer to make a job offer before negotiating pay and other benefits.

You may have more chance of negotiating pay and benefits with a small company, as large com­panies and institutions usually operate a fixed salary scale.

Whether pay is expressed hourly, daily, monthly or annually varies between sectors and countries. See country sections for details.

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