Application forms – Questions and Answers
Stuck with questions on application forms? Check out our huge list of example questions and answers.
You may have already started filling out online job application forms or even read our application form guide and come on the hunt for some example questions and answers. Well, you’re in luck!
If you’re currently working on application forms, you’ll have realised that there are some tricky questions that you need to answer. It’s not quite as intense as a face to face interview, and the good news is that you have plenty of time to formulate your answers.
Get practicing by reading our examples of the most common application form questions along with suggestions for answers (bear in mind that you will have to change them dependent on your career choice).
Example Job Application Questions & Answers
Why do you want to work for this company?
This question is your opportunity to show your understanding of the company’s values and ethos, and match them with your own.
Do your research and demonstrate that you know what the business is about, and haven’t just applied for the sake of it! Trust us, interviewers can tell when you don’t know about a company.
I have been keen to work for company X for a while now because of my interest in “digital marketing.” I believe company X to be a leader within this field and the team based working environment is definitely one I feel that I could grown and excel in.
Why have you applied for this role?
Here, you should match your skills and experience to the job description to demonstrate how suitable you are for the role. Pick out a few key points and give examples of how you’ve proven that you could excel. Avoid any answers that make reference to pay or benefits!
After having gained a degree in engineering I am keen to pursue a career in that field. During my time that I spent working with company X in the past I managed to pick up many key skills needed for this role too. My real abilities lie in “example” and the job role advertised fits hand in hand with this.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Pick something that’s integral to the role rather just a generic statement.
Also, remember that your answer needs to be different to what your peers might say.
All graduates will have achieved a degree, so go for something that’s more unique to set you apart from the rest.
Moving away from home to go to university was a big achievement for me. It allowed me to be more independent as well as learn beneficial skills such as time management and organisation which are perfect for a role in administration. My social and conversational skills also improved which allowed me to be much more effective in team working exercises.
Explain any gaps in your education and work experience
If you’ve followed the traditional route of school, college, then university, you probably won’t have anything to worry about here. If you do have some gaps though, turn them into a positive. You might have learned about different cultures while travelling the world, or helped disadvantaged groups through volunteering.
It’s unlikely that you did absolutely nothing for any period of time, so just think creatively about what you really achieved.
After graduating I was looking for a challenge and wanted to discover new cultures as well as improve my communication skills. I travelled around the world for 9 months in order to experience different cultures. Over the 9 months I had to be extremely creative as well as improve upon my organisational skills.
Give details of your extracurricular activities and interests
For this one, select a few of your interests outside of university and explain what skills you’ve developed as a result and what you’ve learned.
Generic statements such as ‘I enjoy listening to music’ should be avoided. Pick ones that demonstrate team working, initiative and communication skills.
During my time at university I was part of a wide range of societies and clubs. For a period of 18 months I was part of the team that ran the music society and my role as events organiser meant that I had to be very precise so that everything ran smoothly. I was also part of the football team which allowed me to improve my team working as well as leadership skills.
Tell us about a time when you did something as part of a team
Use this question to give an example of the role that you typically take in a group situation.
Do you lead, do you help to build positive relations, or do you drive the group towards the goal?
Explain the situation, what happened during the task, and outline the overall outcome.
The course that I completed at university had a strong emphasis on team based tasks. One example was when teams of 5 were tasked with presenting a new business proposal to our peers via a 30 minute presentation. From the offset nobody wanted to take the lead and I was happy to have that responsibility. I assigned tasks, set meeting times and overlooked the whole project to ensure that everyone pitched in.
Give an example of a time when you had to use your communication skills
Explain a time when you’ve gone out of your way to tailor your communications to a specific group of people, bearing in mind their individual needs and existing knowledge. So, perhaps you had a part-time job in which you were responsible for delivering a presentation to new members of staff about the business. You might have made sure that you used no company jargon, and sought to identify the issues that would be most important to them.
When working part time for the educational charity X, I was tasked with compiling a presentation on my university experience to a group on year 9 students. With my audience in mind I made sure to keep academic jargon out of the presentation as well as adding humour to keep the audience captivated throughout.
Tell us about a time when you took responsibility for managing a project or activity
This is your chance to show off your leadership skills! It doesn’t necessarily have to be work related, so feel free to talk about a uni project or something that you do in your spare time. Talk through the situation, including any setbacks that you came across and how they were overcome, then outline the outcome.
In my previous role at company X we had a short period when my line manager was on annual leave. During that time I was made the team leader. My main task was to complete a proposal which had been started by coordinating all of the team members as well as keeping them motivated. The proposal was overdue but I was keen to get it right the first time rather than rushing through an unfinished project.
Tell us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer
Think about a time when you managed to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
So, maybe you dealt with a customer complaint in your part-time job, but ensured that the customer left with an excellent and renewed impression of the business.
Here’s a hint, this one is all about showing off your communication skills.
When working in John Lewis there was once a customer who was not happy that a certain hoodie was not in their size. The gentleman was shouting and swearing and among this I made sure that I remained calm, polite and helpful. I was aware that he was angry at the situation as opposed to me myself, although I did not tell him that. The issue was resolved as I calmly explained that we could order one into the store for him to pick up.
Tell us about your most challenging work experience
This one is a great opportunity to show off your strengths, alongside some concrete examples. Briefly explain your role, identify what it was that made it so challenging, and make it clear what skills you developed along the way.
At a previous job a coworker was going through a very rough time after the lost a relative so I offered to help out and take on additional work to help them out for a short period. I know that this colleague would have done the same for me and I think it’s important to always work as a team.
Describe a time when you couldn’t meet a deadline. What did you do about it?
Resist the temptation to say that you never miss a deadline because you’re so organised – the question isn’t a trick! Everyone has a time when they can’t do what they’d agreed to, and it’s all about showing how you managed people’s expectations and made the best of a bad situation.
Be sure to talk about the various stakeholders in the task and the outcome, as well as what you’d do differently in the future.
During my third year at university I failed to meet the deadline for an online test. I had underestimated the time that it would take to complete which meant that I submitted an unfinished test and lost important grades. I learned that in future I should allow more flex time to complete tasks.
Tell us about a time when you had to communicate complex information
Again, this communication question is all about showing that you recognise your audience and can find simple yet effective ways to get your message across. Mention why it was important, how you ensured everyone understood, and what the result was.
I previously held a role for a popular graduate website that required me to write engaging yet informative advice on a wide range of subjects. The information was complex and at times a little dry. I was able to make it more engaging by simplifying jargon among other things.
What are your strengths?
Pick to or three things that you believe you’re genuinely really good at, and give examples that prove it.
For example, you might believe that you’re a great team leader, and discuss a time that you lead a group towards a big goal.
I am extremely computer literate and this has been shown by my ability to build a website as an online portfolio for myself. The website has opened up opportunities as well as allowed me to hone my skills.
What are your weaknesses?
Don’t turn to a cliche such as ‘I work too hard’! Be honest, but turn your answer into a positive. So, maybe you aren’t confident when it comes to speaking in front of groups of people. Say this, but explain how you’ve been trying to overcome this by volunteering to deliver presentations and putting yourself out of your comfort zone.
Public speaking is not my strongest skill. However, during university I joined the debating society in order to improve speaking to large crowds. As time goes on I hope to work hard to turn it into one of my strengths.
Give an example of when you used your initiative
Use this question as a chance to show how you go out of your way to deliver more than what’s expected for you. So, perhaps you took on an extra project at work to benefit the business, or you took on an extra evening course to improve your skills in an area that you’re passionate about. Use the opportunity to show off how you’re willing to go beyond the call of duty.
At my first ever job I realised that the company were not taking on the full benefit of social media due to the manager not fully understanding it. I took it upon myself to write a full proposal in my spare time highlighting the benefits of social media. I was then given the responsibility to run the social pages myself which were a success and added 20% more business.
Though these questions are the ones that are most likely to pop up, be prepared for a few unexpected ones. As long as you’re using every opportunity to show your suitability for the role and give solid examples of your skills and achievements, you can’t go too far wrong.
What’s the hardest application form question that you’ve come across? How did you tackle it? We’d love to hear about your experiences.