How to tackle the most common job interview questions

Prepare for an interview | Santander Bank

What types of questions are asked in job interviews and how should I answer them?

John Lees, author of “The Interview Expert: How to Get the Job You Want”, says that “even relatively smart people dont prepare very well for interviews”, improvising instead, which leads to many being much more nervous when it comes to making an impression. According to Lees, “nervousness is intimately related to underperforming”.

Having an impeccable CV doesnt mean its easy to secure a job, because the various job interview questions are designed to delve deeper into who you are on both a personal and professional level. Hence, its vital to properly prepare for a job interview and not leave a thing to chance.

If you knew what questions were going to come up in an exam, the chances of passing would be greater, right? The same is true with job interview questions: the better-prepared you are, the greater the likelihood of securing the job you want.

Personal questions in a job interview are designed to find out more about the candidates personality. However, these shouldnt be confused with certain intrusive questions about your personal life, such as your marital status or whether you plan to have children. If you are asked such questions, you can refuse to answer them as they are unethical.

Candidates should always be prepared for this type of open question, because theyre often asked during the selection process.

To give a suitable answer, you have to analyse yourself, both personally and professionally, sell yourself as best as you can and make it clear that your skills match the advertised job. Take the opportunity to demonstrate your best qualities, but dont exaggerate and do stick to the truth: responsible, flexible, open-minded, sociable, self-sacrificing, proactive, etc. It’s best to link your qualities to your personal or professional experience.

You can also deliver your response as an elevator pitch, i.e. a short speech lasting less than 30 seconds during which you explain who you are, what you want and what youre doing to achieve it.

This is another typical question in job interviews. Their aim is similar to the previous question, with the main difference being that in this case, they also want you to discuss your weaknesses.

With this question, its important not to fall into the trap and provide reasons to be rejected. Instead of mentioning actual weaknesses, talk about areas to improve to become a better professional. For example, if you are indecisive, you might say that your decision-making could be improved. Likewise, when it comes to your strengths, remember to talk about these with restraint, as bragging can be counterproductive.

Questions about your education and training aim to find out more about your studies. Dont just recite your CV -the interviewers will have it in front of them, so they already know the details.

The purpose of this sort of question is to delve into why you chose the path you did and what kind of experiences youve had, as well as which skills and abilities youve acquired and why these might be useful in the job youve applied for.

You should give a positive overview of everything youve studied so far. If you have taken any courses that dont quite fit with the job, try to give them a spin that focuses on the soft skills acquired: team work, empathy, communication skills, etc.

If your background includes any experiences that could be construed as negative, such as dropping out of a degree, turn these into positives, for example: it allowed me to discover my true path. Above all, dont forget to highlight the skills that are most suitable for the job.

Questions about work experience are also the order of the day at job interviews. The interviewers will want to check whether youre used to working in an environment similar to the advertised job.

They will also want to know what experience you have and how you would rate it. Its important to be honest and mention every experience that has helped you to learn something new and to grow professionally.

When faced with this question, you should be as sincere as possible, but be careful not to shoot yourself in the foot.

For example, instead of saying that you felt like you didnt fit into your previous job, you might reply that your day-to-day work wasnt challenging and thats why youre looking for new opportunities. Whatever the reason, dont criticise your old company, boss or colleagues, because thats a sign of distrust and disloyalty.

Before you attend a job interview, you should analyse your prior work experience to identify which goals you achieved, and which remain to be met. In this way, you can link your previous expectations to your current ones, thus demonstrating that youre a non-conformist and want to keep growing professionally.

Its common to be asked questions about the company or business advertising the job. Their aim is simple: to discover whether youve bothered to find out about them, what they do, their corporate culture, projects, etc.

Avoid the obvious responses or those related to pay, as these can put you in a bad light. Instead, demonstrate that youve done in-depth research on the company, show that you share their values or that you love the projects youve seen on their website.

Soft skills are increasingly important in the world of work; so much so that, according to a LinkedIn study, some 57% of managers consider soft skills to be more important than hard skills. Hence, its ever more common to be asked about these.

Teamwork has become one of the most valued soft skills for companies. Answer positively, with an example of how you have worked in a team from your previous jobs or studies.

The aim of this common job interview question is to probe whether you have a long-term career goal, ambition and leadership spirit. Leadership is one of the most valued soft skills.

This question is designed to find out if the candidate has crucial skills such as emotional intelligence, empathy or listening skills.

To help you prepare for a Santander Bank job interview, here are 27 interview questions and answer examples.

Santander Bank was written by Ryan Brunner and updated on October 7th, 2020. Learn more here.

What Does Santander Look For in Employees?

Santander values the way employees interact with each other, customers, shareholders and communities – and it has specific core behaviours that it looks for in applicants.

These include:

  • Passion
  • Straight talking
  • Able to embrace change
  • Respect
  • Confidence
  • Integrity
  • Supportive
  • Great listening
  • Active collaboration
  • santander interview questions

    For all positions, the online application is likely to be the first contact that you will have with the Santander recruitment team.

    This includes basic contact information, details about qualifications and education – so basically, information from your CV.

    Be sure to be accurate and check your spelling and grammar before hitting send.

    The Santander recruitment team will review the application and check that you meet the requirements for the role, and you will usually hear whether you have been successful within a week.

    If you have been successful with your initial application, you will be invited to take part in some online psychometric assessments that will test your inherent aptitudes as well as your personality and work behaviours.

    Situational judgment tests are work-related scenarios presented in video format, and candidates need to select the most appropriate course of action to take.

    There are usually several options, and these will demonstrate the way you would behave in a workplace situation, based on your own judgment.

    Understanding a candidate’s personality helps the Santander recruitment team get to know you – and work out what your motivations are, as well as how you deal with problems.

    Personality tests are not pass/fail. Instead, you will be marked against what Santander feels are desirable personality traits for the role you have applied for.

    The numerical reasoning test at Santander is gamified – which means that it doesn’t feel so much like a test.

    Numerical reasoning isn’t a test of your maths ability, but more about your ability to use numbers and data from tables and graphs to find solutions.

    You will usually get the results of the aptitude tests within 48 hours, and if you are successful, you will be invited to the next stage.

    The telephone interview stage at Santander is more of a get to know you discussion, focusing on your application information, your right to work in the UK and an opportunity to discuss the position in more detail.

    This is also the best time to let the recruiter know if you are interested in more than one position so you can discuss how that might work.

    You should usually hear whether your application is being taken further within a week of the telephone interview.

    Depending on the role you have applied for, the final stage of the process is an interview – and this could be just a face-to-face interview, or it might be part of an assessment centre.

    The interview might be a pre-recorded video interview – which means that you will be presented with several questions that you need to answer on video.

    This is not live, and there is usually a good opportunity to practise answering the questions before you send through your responses.

    Usually, an assessment centre brings a number of candidates for several roles together for a full day of assessments at one of the Santander offices.

    During the day you will be asked to complete several tasks, from group exercises to solo projects, often with presentations. There will be opportunities to ask questions, with seminars and Q&A sessions.

    At the assessment centre you will be meeting a few senior Santander staff, and this is a real opportunity to demonstrate your suitability for the role – highlighting the core behaviours that Santander looks for in employees.

    This is the longest part of the process, and it could take six to eight weeks before you get to the assessment centre after your telephone interview, depending on demand. You will hear soon after if you have been successful with a verbal offer.


    How do I prepare for Santander interview?

    Tips for job interview success
    1. Learn as much about the job and the company as possible. …
    2. Think about why you’re ready for a change. …
    3. Talk about your experience as it relates to the job opening. …
    4. Show what you can bring to the new team and how your experience can be useful to your future colleagues.

    Why would you want to work for Santander?

    Our employees work in a flexible environment focused on diversity and inclusion, where they are evaluated not only for what they do but also for how they do it. This is one of the reasons why we have been recognised by Fortune magazine as one of the best companies to work for in the world.

    What are the 6 most common interview questions and answers?

    Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers
    1. Tell Me About Yourself. …
    2. Why Are You the Best Person for the Job? …
    3. Why Do You Want This Job? …
    4. How Has Your Experience Prepared You for This Role? …
    5. Why Are You Leaving (or Have Left) Your Job? …
    6. What Is Your Greatest Strength? …
    7. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

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