Answering Interview Questions – Basic Principles

Be succinct and concise when answering questions – set the scene and give enough detail in the example to give the interviewer a good understanding of what you trying to convey without too much irrelevant detail. Stick to the point and don’t waffle or go off on tangents.

It’s important that the interviewer walks away from the interview knowing exactly what you do so don’t talk generically about what your firm or your team do, instead talk about your role in the team.  Rather than using phrases such as “We looked at this…” talk more along the lines of “I did this…”

Reasons for leaving – keep your answers as positive as possible.  Obviously you have your reasons for wanting to move on but don’t fall into the trap making negative comments about your current (or even past) employers.

Achievements – firms want to know how you are going to add value to their organisation.  It’s important to be able to discuss what you achieved in your current and past roles.  Think of a number of achievements based on the core skills in the job spec and be prepared to talk about your achievements in the following way:


  • What you did and why
  • How you did it
  • Obstacles you had to overcome
  • Results and measurement

Many people have a habit of talking quickly, particularly when nervous.  Remember to speak slowly and clearly.  Practice this, particularly if you know that you have a tendency to talk quickly!

Practice your answers – writing them down and talking them through out loud really helps to consolidate clear, focused and succinct answers.