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How to answer Tough Interview Questions for Grads

Job interviews can be tough. If you’re not 101% prepared, questions can leave you searching anxiously for an answer. Here are some tips on how to answer two of the most common interview questions.


You have finished university a couple of months now and it’s time to start your journey into the big bad world of employment (you’ll enjoy it, I promise!!) The joy of being told you have an interview is short-lived when the preparation starts to begin to secure your first graduate job. Interviews are a highly stressful and traumatic time for majority of us (Right?). Question’s such as “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time” and “Any questions?”. The interviewer is being polite, yeah? No! Whilst the interviewer does not expect candidates to know exactly what they will be up to in nearly 2,000 days, they will want an answer that will align with their long-term goals.

So, how do you answer, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

An answer like this needs to be strategic and tactical, after all, you need to stand out from the crowd. Whilst some people believe there is no such thing as a wrong answer when answering interview questions, there is. When the interviewer asks this question, thoughts will be circulating around your head, “probably not in this job,” or, “in your job,” or something like, “at a bigger better opportunity elsewhere.” But then these are the not the things to say to someone who could be your manager in the future. These answers may have worked when you were a university student looking for a part-time job, but not when applying for graduate roles.

Sample Answer:

A sample answer to a question asking, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to work in the position we are discussing today. The next five years will be the pinnacle of my career. My focus will be to do the best I can possibly do in this role first and foremost and become an expert in my industry. When I feel as though I have proved that my skills and experience are appropriate to take on more responsibility, then that is something I would be extremely interested in.”

his answer provides exactly what the interviewer wants to hear, without making any “empty promises” that you will be staying within that company. It gives you a little bit of leg-room and shows that whilst you are looking for experience and to develop your skills, later down the line you would like more responsibility, which is always a good thing (employers like ambitious people).

So, how do you answer, “Any questions?”

The key to having a good interview is not just the interviewer asking questions, but for you to ask a few questions too. This is your opportunity to show the employer that you are engaged and interested in the position and their company.  Here is a list of dos’ and don’ts when asking questioning at the end of an interview:


  • What does a typical day look like?
  • What are your performance expectations of this position over the first 6 months?
  • Will there be opportunities for advancement?
  • Can you tell me anything about the team in which I will be working with?
  • What projects will I be involved in?
  • What is the Culture Company of this organisation?
  • What is the next stage of the recruiting process? 


  • Avoid asking questions about holidays.
  • Don’t ask questions in which you should know about the company (i.e., what will my role be?)
  • Don’t ask a lot of questions, 1 or 2 is fine, maximum 3. You don’t want to be bombarding the interviewer with loads of questions, as there will be time for that if they offer you the position.  

I hope this article helped your understanding of two of the most tough and generic interview questions. Graduates (Myself) don’t tend to practice questions about ourselves as we are preoccupied researching the company in which we have applied for. After numerous interviews and rejections, I started to realise where I was going wrong, I knew everything there was to know about the company, I didn’t know everything about myself. I learnt that companies are asking these questions because they want to know about you, they already know everything about their company, you’re not telling them anything new (only that you can do research).

Whilst it is important to know about the company, you need to know about yourself, where do you see yourself in five years? What questions do you have about their company? Will you be happy there? 

Good luck with your job hunting (relax and breathe) everything will work out in the end! You have the rest of your life to start your career. (What is meant for you won’t pass you by!) 


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