Types of Interview Question

Many interviewers will ask questions that ask you to describe a particular situation that you have experienced in your working life, and how you confronted that particular challenge.

There are various types of interview questions; here we look at the most common ones with suggested approaches that you can use to construct a good quality answer. We also explain why interviewers ask each type of question.

1 - Competency Based Questions

These questions will often begin with "describe a situation when..." or "give me an example of..." or "tell me about a time when...". They require you to give specific examples of a situation that you encountered, what the background was, and how you tackled that problem, and what the outcome was.

These are popular types of question because you can't really give an answer that is waffle: it requires you to talk specifically and lets the interviewer hone in on exactly what they want to ask. Rather than asking generally how you would deal with conflict, they often get a better idea about you by asking about a real life conflict situation you have and how you managed to tackle it.

2 - Problem Solving Questions

There are a range of problem solving questions that can be asked in an interview, and these are particularly set to work out how good you are at thinking quickly on your feet in a logical manner. You might be asked to say how many people in Britain have an ipod for instance, then justify your answer.

3 - Technical Questions

With many jobs there will be some questions that relate to the specifics of the job. Here you need to of course know your subject inside out. These are often the most straightforward questions however, as if you do know your field of expertise in detail then you should be able to give these a good go.

4 - Behavioural and Attitude Questions

These questions will ask you about your behaviours, views and attitudes. Do you like working in a team or prefer working alone, how would you deal with conflict, how do you like to work, how would you set about balancing a difficult workload and so on.

5 - Stupid Questions

When the interviewer thinks they are being clever (or, just possibly if they notice that your answers are too rehearsed) they may ask a question to throw you off balance. These sort of questions might be along the lines of "if you were interviewing yourself, what would you ask?" through to bizarre sounding questions about what type of car best expresses your personality. If there is any justification for these questions, it is to see if you can think on your feet.