Imperial College London interview

By | 19th June 2017

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Imperial College London interview

There are different sorts of questions that you may be asked by an employer during an interview for a graduate job or internship position. Competency questions focus on your skills (such as teamwork, communication and organisation) and require you to draw on examples of where you have shown these in the workplace, education, or elsewhere. You may also be asked questions about your motivation for choosing a particular role or employer, and questions about yourself, your strengths and/or your weaknesses.

Below are some of the most common types of interview questions you may face, but, of course, you could be asked some different sorts of questions altogether. Whatever the question, your primary aim is to describe yourself as a suitable candidate with desirable skills and attributes which match the requirements of the employer you’re being interviewed by.

Interview Questions Tabs

  • Biographical questions
  • Competency questions
  • Motivation questions
  • Why this employer?
  • Career development
  • Strength based questions


Typical question 1

“What activities and leisure interests are you currently involved in, and what have you learnt about yourself from your involvement in these?”

How to answer

Ideally you should be able to talk about a reasonable range of activities, but avoid giving lists. Providing some further information about a few points will make your answer more impressive and memorable. Try to include some details and numbers to make it more credible. Activities which involve you with other people are generally a better idea than too many solitary sounding activities. Make sure that you explain any skills that you have developed as a result of these activities.

Imperial College London interview

Typical question 2

“What are your three main strengths?”

How to answer

This is not just to find out what you’re really good at, but also to ascertain your level of self-awareness. Your strengths will be convincing if you back them up with sufficiently detailed evidence. The point of the question is to prove good things about yourself, whether these are well-developed skills such as teamwork or leadership, or attributes, e.g. motivation, resilience, drive, creativity.

Typical question 3

“What do you regard as the three areas you feel you most need to improve and why – or what is your greatest weakness?”

Imperial College London interview

How to answer

For weaknesses, employers are primarily looking for self-awareness – evidence that you know and understand yourself. You need to answer honestly (of course) and wisely. Avoid corny options like saying you are a perfectionist or that you always work too hard. Employers are bored with those by now. A ‘safe’ weakness is one that could become a strength when it is managed with insight.

Think about things that wind you up when you work with others – this can often give clues as to your own weaknesses. What is your approach to deadlines, public speaking and projects – is there anything you wish to improve on? Knowledge gaps can be useful: e.g. ‘I wish I knew more about XXX’. Beware of simply quoting past weaknesses that you have already overcome – you may be challenged at interview for more current ones.

Typical question 4

“Why should we employ you?”

How to answer

This is an opportunity to demonstrate your suitability and draw parallels between what you’ve got to offer and what they need. Highlight your skills, knowledge and experience relative to the role, and match your values to those of the employer.

Imperial College London interview

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