The application form is often the first hurdle you’ll encounter in the application process, and it’s also one of the most important to get right.

Here’s a selection of common questions you may well find yourself facing, along with advice on how to tackle them:

Motivational questions are a staple of most application forms. The employer wants to know that you are choosing them for the right reasons and that your goals align with theirs. They want to see you demonstrate a good fit. Examples include:

1. Why do you want to work for us?
2. What interests you about this particular sector?
3. What do you think you would enjoy most about working here?
4. What are your long-term career goals?
5. What you hope to achieve over the next five years?

You’ve got to show you’ve done your research, and your enthusiasm for working for the organisation has got to shine through. But to make your enthusiasm believeable they need to see that alignment between what they are offering and what you want to achieve. You’ve got to make it about them, but enough about you too.

Many employers are phasing out experience or competency-based questions in favour of strength-based questions (see below). However there’s still a strong likelihood of them finding their way onto your application form. These types of questions look for evidence of when you’ve demonstrated relevant skills or competencies. Examples include:

6. Tell us about a challenging experience you’ve had and how you overcame it.
7. Describe a time when you couldn’t meet a deadline. What did you do about it?
8. Have you ever had to explain a difficult concept to someone? How did you go about it?
9. Talk about a time when you went against the grain with a different approach or way of thinking.
10. Give an example of when you worked successfully as part of a team. What was your contribution?

This is about understanding your tendencies, your approach and your response to challenges. Don’t limit yourself to work scenarios, particularly if your work experience is limited, but give genuine examples. Using a set formula like the STAR (situation, task, action and result) or Context, Action, Result (CAR) techniques will help you to structure your answers.

As mentioned, strength-based questioning is finding its way increasingly into application processes. These questions seek to gain a sense of your inherent personality traits and the kind of work you enjoy. Examples include:

11. Which kinds of tasks come easily to you?
12. What do you most enjoy doing?
13. What did you find easiest to learn at school or university?
14. Which of your achievements are you most proud of and why?
15. Do you feel more energised at the start of a project or at the end?

The key to answering strengths-based questions is true self awareness. Start from a point of brutal honesty with yourself and then step back to consider how your preferences might be viewed by your potential employer. Do your research to get a feel for the qualities and values that are important to the employer to help you position your answers.

How you approach the application form will depend very much on the type of questions in front of you. However, you should always make sure you answer each question in full (keeping an eye out for sub-questions); and be honest without losing third party perspective on your answers.

On finishing go back over the form thoroughly for spelling and typos, ideally with someone proof-reading after you. Then save a copy for yourself – it may prove useful when preparing for an interview.

Source: Abintegro News