Here at The CV Store, one of the most common questions we get asked is about questions in an application form and the answers that should be used. As with interviews, there are no set answers but please find below some guidelines we believe may be useful to you.
As stated in our introduction to application forms, it is a good idea to make a copy of the form before completing the real thing - this will allow you to make corrections and polish up the answers. Also, spend as much time as you need to complete the form and read over the information a few times before starting so that you have a solid understanding of the questions you will be answering. This stage of the application process is when the first set of candidates will be selected so use this chance carefully!
One of the most popular questions we get asked is: "How do I answer the question: describe a situation where you worked as part of a team to achieve something". What you have to remember here is that the main thing the reader is looking for is team-working ability. Don't worry too much about the example you use, as long as it shows you worked within a team to complete something.
Another popular question is "describe a situation where you implemented change" - again, it is not the question you have to concentrate on but ask yourself - what is the reader looking for? With this example, they will be looking for good organisation, planning and maybe analytical skills. If possible, try to aim your questions to fit these areas.
"Give an example where you overcame a difficulty/problem" - this question is looking for your problem solving abilities. When answering this question, attempt to show the stages you went through to solve a problem and how you implemented the solution - do not worry too much about the example you use - it is the problem solving skills the reader is looking for.
You may get asked "where do you see yourself in 5 years?" Or maybe "what are your career goals?" These questions are looking for your commitment and enthusiasm to the job. As we mentioned in our interview tips, try to mention something positive but not too unrealistic. For example; maybe you are considering training courses to help you perform your job as effectively as possible and eventually progress within the company.
"Are you willing to relocate?" Obviously your answer to this question will be dependent upon your individual aims and needs but being flexible in your preferred location obviously hands you an increased possibility of receiving employment. It may also be worth remembering that you could always relocate at a later date if it is not possible to do so now.
Most applicants will have seen this question: "please provide further information in support of your application". This section is your last chance in the form to tell the reader why they should select you for an interview. Use this space to tell the reader what interests you about the position and the skills you have that complement it. In addition to this, tell the reader of any previous experience/achievements you have had that are in any way related to the job you are applying for!
We often get asked if it is important to complete the Equal Opportunities form normally located at the back of the application. This is primarily used to show the employer's commitment towards equality and your answers on this form will not be used to decide whether or not you get the job. If you feel uncomfortable answering this question just leave it blank.