Interviewing is a learned skill, and there are no second chances to make a great first impression. Most of us dread job interviews but it's the key to a successful job. Hence it is important to approach interviews in the correct manner and with the right attitude, as that is the key to success.
Why do you want this job?
One of the most predictable questions and very important. You need to demonstrate that you have researched the employer and tie your knowledge of them into the skills and interests that led you to apply.
From your perspective, what does success look like or mean in this role?
It's important to remember that a job well done might look different to different people. Ideally what you do and how you do it are a match to what they are looking at as they rely on your role for their success, but often this is not the case.
What do you expect to be doing in 5 years time?
Try to avoid vague or general answers such as "I would hope to grow with the responsibility I am offered and to develop my skills as far as I am able" or "I would expect to be in a management role by then".
What are your weaknesses?
One interviewee, asked about her weaknesses, thought briefly and then replied "Wine, chocolate and men - though not necessarily in that order." The classic answer here is to state a strength which is disguised as a weakness, such as "I'm too much of a perfectionist" or "I push myself too hard". This approach has been used so often that, even if these answers really are true they sound cliched.
What are your strengths?
This allows you to put across your "Unique Selling Points" - three or four of your key strengths. Try to back these points up with examples of where you have had to use them. Consider the requirements of the job and compare these with all your own attributes - your personality, skills, abilities or experience. Where they match you should consider these to be your major strengths. The employer certainly will.
What has been your greatest achievement?
To say that your greatest achievement was getting to University, or getting your degree, will do nothing to distinguish you from all the other candidates. Unless you have had to contend with exceptional difficulties to gain your academic qualifications - such as illness or major family problems - try to say something different that will make you stand out.
Could you describe your perfect candidate for this role?
The answer to this question is revealing, "Once the interviewer articulates for you what the perfect candidate looks like, you can then either reiterate your qualifications for the position or add anything that you did not mention before that directly relates to how your background positions you as the perfect candidate." It's a great way to end an interview on a strong note.