Although we can’t predict with complete certainty that you’ll get asked these questions they are some of the most commonly asked questions – and that counts for logistics and transport jobs too. Anticipating some likely questions is a great way to prepare for an interview and can really help to boost your response if you can practice your response to them. So read on for our advice on how to answer some of the most common interview questions.
“Tell me a little bit about yourself”
This is a classic question, and you’ll probably be asked it in some form or another. It’s also a deceptively simple one that doesn’t seem to require much explanation as to how to answer it. But think again! What employers want to hear with this question is how your skills and experience make you the right person for the job – not just a short history of your previous employment or what you like to do in your free time.
Because this is quite often an opening question and people make impressions so quickly it’s well worth spending time crafting a prepared and practiced response to this. Read through the job description and person specification to understand what the main objective of the role is and then craft a few sentences about yourself, explaining how you could help the company achieve this goal. It’s important to stay focused on what you can bring to the company as this is what the interviewers are looking to hear.
“I’m an experienced logistic manager who really enjoys helping small teams become more productive. In my last two roles I gained valuable experience in how to create new working practices and administrative systems to increase efficiency and speed, but I also got a lot of hands-on experience working in different areas of cargo and delivery. I can see that this role needs a person with a positive attitude who is motivated to make big changes and I’m confident I can deliver on that.”
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is quite a tricky one as it can be difficult to talk both about our strengths and our weaknesses: a lot of people tend to become quite uncomfortable when faced with this. It never pays to sound too boastful, or on the other hand, too honest! The best way to answer this question is not to dodge it and try to respond in a measured way that shows that you are self-aware about what you’re good and bad at.
If you feel you have really struggled in an area in the past, emphasise that you’ve learned from your mistakes and you have made some real efforts into addressing your weakness. Or, pick the same quality as both a strength, and a weakness, and draw out the respective positives and negatives.
You could say something like:
“I actually see my greatest weakness as one of my biggest strengths. I’m very straightforward and honest and that can be difficult when I’m responsible for giving critical feedback, but it’s also a strength because teams often need someone with their feet on the ground who can pick up on potential problems and difficulties.”
The question about strengths is really your opportunity to shine so don’t be shy here and try to back up your most positive qualities of examples from when you have really excelled. If you can include some concrete figures or projects this will help to back up your ideas without making you sound like you just have a very high opinion of yourself.
“I would say my greatest strength is my ability to manage projects to tight deadlines. This was really important in my last role as a consultant as we had to turn over a high volume of reports and statistics to different clients. To make sure we always delivered on time I allocated clear responsibilities and tasks and checked in every day with them to make sure they had the resources they needed.”
“How would your former boss or colleagues describe you?”
This question is looking to see that you’ve been honest about your past experience and for that reason it is best to say something positive that someone has actually said about you (rather than something you imagine to be true). It adds extra credibility if you have a reference or LinkedIn recommendation to back this up and you refer to this in your answer.
On the other hand, if you have had a difficult relationship with your former boss or colleague, don’t be tempted to lie as you may be caught out if they actually follow up. It’s ok to admit that relationships weren’t always easy but be sure to highlight what you did to try to improve things rather than falling into the trap of blaming the other person.
You could say something like:
“My boss would say that I’m very reliable and hard-working, and this is something she always mentions on my references. I did struggle to make a connection with some of my former colleagues in the beginning but the relationships improved over time after I suggested we meet weekly to discuss the projects we were working on.”
Why do you want to work here?
If you get asked this it’s a great opportunity to show off just how much you know about the company and how much research you did in your interview preparation. What the employer is looking to see is that you understand the company culture and the business strategy of the organisation as a whole.
Commercial awareness is one of the key skills that hiring managers in logistics and transport are looking for so make sure that you draw connections between the company and the industry in general. Try to mention some of the challenges or opportunities that the company is facing and what it is that appeals to you about that.
You could say something like:
“I know that there is greater and greater demand for transparency in the supply chain, and that’s something I’m really enthusiastic about promoting. I know that [insert company name here] has been at the forefront on addressing the need for more ethical supply production and transport processes and that’s what attracts me to working here.”
What makes a good team/team-player/team-leader?
This question is looking to see how you approach your work life and what you value in your colleagues. For that reason it’s good to define what you think is the most important element of team work and then follow up with some examples from your experience that show you taking action to create this sort of team. Everybody has a different idea about what is the best way to work, so it’s a good idea to be honest about what you think is important.
First, explain what you think makes a good team/player/leader. Then explain why that quality is helpful. Next give an example of what you did to be a good team/player/leader in your previous experience and finally what the result of that was. By following this method you’ll give a very structured and effective answer that will be hard for the interviewer to argue with!
“For me, a good team player is someone who gets on with people. That way, it’s easier to resolve problems. In my last job I took the effort to get to know people in my team, then whenever difficulties came up it was easy to approach them for help in a friendly and professional manner. I think that contributed to the fact that we consistently led on meeting our monthly targets.”
What’s your dream job/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Unless the job you are being interviewed for genuinely is your dream job, don’t immediately respond with “this one!” With this question the interviewer is trying to figure out what sort of environment you like to work in, so it’s ok to give a fairly vague answer, especially if you’re not certain that there is a particular advancement route in the company you are applying for. If you do have your sights set on a particular role then make sure to specify why you want it.
A good way to respond to this question is to draw out some elements of the environment or roles you work best in and then connect them to what that company offers.
You could say:
My dream job as an analyst would have a number of elements. First I’d like to be a part of a big team because I really enjoy working with a lot of people. Secondly I’d love to be part of a company that gave me opportunities to constantly expand my skills with structured training sessions. It’s important for me to stay up to date with emerging technologies and new business practices and that’s why I want to work for a company like [insert company name] that really invests in its staff’s knowledge and skills.”