Application Questions: How to Nail Your Answers

Rachel Tudor

One of the hardest, but often overlooked, parts of any application is the questions. These are the ones asked prior to the interview that help an employer shortlist candidates.

At TalentPool, as indeed with most platforms, you’ll always have to answer some questions alongside uploading your CV. The questions can be quite tricky to tackle at times, and that’s where this blog post comes in handy to help guide you through them.

Actually answer the questions in front of you

Read each question carefully and break it down. What are the questions actually asking you? Try to think about what the employer wants to gain from asking this question, and tailor your response to that. And writing a decent response is only going to increase your chances of getting invited to interview so it’s well worth spending some time crafting your answers. It’s really important that you show that you’ll be an asset to the company, and this is even more important as the employers will consider your answers when making final decisions. You’ll really need to ensure quality of application, so don’t just fill in the answers generically or try to shortcut your way through.


Don't waffle!

Although you’ll need to go into detail with your answers, remember that the employer may have lots of applications and won’t have time to read convoluted answers. We recommend keeping your answers to around 150-200 words as a general rule, although it can vary. It’s also a good idea to write your answers in a Word document or Google Doc before sending off your application. This means you can proofread, edit, and cut out any unnecessary information from earlier drafts.

Explain your reasoning

The application questions are really designed to give the employer more information about you and your suitability for the role. Some questions will only need straightforward answers but for most, you’ll have to write a longer answer, and spend more time on it. Questions can be varied, but it’s rare that they’ll ever require just a Yes/No answer. Even if some questions may seem like they require a one word answer, give depth. Explain your reasoning behind the conclusion you came to. These questions, like ‘If you could be any animal, what would you be’ aren’t designed to catch you out, but more to see how you think. It can be really helpful to include the word because in each answer, so rather than simply ‘Dolphin’, your answer becomes more detailed e.g. ‘Dolphin because…’. This is the kind of depth the employer is looking for.

Remember the basics

Remember, it’s all about quality answers, so your application answers should be unique.  Tailor your application to that specific role and don’t just fill them in generically. A great way to ensure you’ve ticked all the employer’s boxes is to use keywords that match the job description. Basics like spelling, grammar, punctuation, and paragraphs are important as ever. You never know, you may be judged on the attention to detail in your answers!