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Classic Interview Questions and Answers

What do you think are our organisation's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

Alternative and related questions:

What do you think is the greatest advantage we have over the competition?

The meaning behind the question:

This is a complex question. The interviewer wants to really put your knowledge of their organisation – and of the market in general – to the test. Their secondary objective will be to see how you handle a question in four parts – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Questions which are really three or four questions in one are often considered to be good basic indicators of intelligence – showing how well your brain can absorb, hold and process multiple concepts simultaneously. Trust me; this is not an easy question – especially when you are already under pressure.

Your answer:

Fear not. Tricky as this question is, if you’ve prepared for it (which, if you’re reading this, you hopefully will have done) then it all boils down to keeping your cool, breaking the question down into its component parts and addressing each of them in turn, one by one. You should also aim to go heavy on the strengths and opportunities and a little more gently with the weaknesses and threats. It’s a big question but try to keep your answer reasonably concise. As with other questions about potentially negative issues, try to put a positive spin on matters. If the role you are being interviewed for could play a part in tackling these weaknesses and threats then make sure you say so.


I think your greatest strengths are your market-leading position and the customer service philosophy which has resulted in this. Every business has its weakness and I think we’d agree that your greatest weakness is the lack of a comprehensive marketing strategy. As we’ve already discussed, you focus on a few key marketing avenues and are leaving a lot of money on the table in certain other areas. I firmly believe this is something I can help you with and that the development of a broad and consistent marketing strategy is consequently also your greatest opportunity. I also reckon that expanding internationally represents another major opportunity. As for threats, the greatest threat is quite simply the competition. It’s vitally important for you to continue to stay one step ahead of them.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

Take the fear out of your interview and never be stuck for the right answer to even the toughest questions with The Interview Question & Answer Book.

The job market is fierce, competition has never been greater and it's important that you can grab every opportunity for competitive advantage and stay one step ahead. Written by one of the world's leading careers experts and bestselling author of The Interview Book, this definitive guide to questions and answers encourages every job-hunter to think on your feet and express your individuality while supplying ideal responses to interview questions so that you’re seen as the ideal candidate for the job.


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More classic interview questions and answers


How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?

In what ways are you a team player?

Do you work well on your own initiative?

What techniques do you use to get things done?

What motivates you?

Are you proactive?

Are you creative?

Are you a risk-taker?

How do you handle pressure and stress?

Can you tell me about a time when you have failed to achieve a goal?

What's the worst mistake you've made at work and how did you deal with it?

How would you handle the following situation?

Can you tell me about a major project you have successfully completed?

Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you've had to deal with?

We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?

What do you do when you disagree with your line manager?

How would you describe yourself as a manager?

Can you give me an example of when you have successfully coached a member of your team?

What is your customer service philosophy?

How did you get your last job?

What does your current job involve on a day-to-day basis?

What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?

What changes have you made to your current job role since you started?

What have you learned in your last job?

Can you tell me about your last appraisal?

How would you describe your current boss?

Why did you leave that job?

Which of your jobs was the best?

Why is there a gap in your resume/CV?

What do you know about us as an organisation?

What do you know about our products/services?

What do you think are our organisation's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

What do you know about the vacancy for which you are applying?

How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?

What appeals to you most about this vacancy?

Why have you chosen this line of work?

Are there any other organisations to which you are applying?

How does this job compare to others for which you are applying?

Can you describe your ideal employer to me?

What sort of person would you most like to work for?

In what ways is your degree relevant to the work you are now doing?

What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?

What sports are you/have you been involved in?

Do you know what the current headline news is?

How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?

Would it be a problem if we asked you to work overtime/evenings/weekends?

What is your current salary package?

What salary package are you expecting for this role?

When would you be available to start?

Do you mind if we contact your current employer for a reference?