Christmas parties can be very revealing affairs. Year-long trysts between adoring colleagues are often carelessly exposed and dangerous ­liaisons cruelly laid bare in what can only be described as a booze-fuelled frenzy of unbridled passion. And that's just at my local Parent-Teacher Association.

It's much worse in business. Sure, it makes for a great party and juicy gossip the next day but it can only lead to one thing. Someone's looking for a new job in the new year.

So, if this month it's you who's scanning the jobs section, here's a quick guide to the most popular questions asked at interview.

There are, in effect, only two things that an interviewer wants to know. Why he should hire you, and why he shouldn't. Naturally, your list of answers should ideally be longer for the former than the latter.

The most popular opening question is: "Tell me about yourself." This often means the interviewer has only scanned your letter and CV and is ill- prepared. Don't despair, since this gives you the opportunity to lead the interviewer and talk at length about the four or five key relevant points that you have diligently ­prepared.

The second question is often: "Where do you see yourself in five years time?" Resist the temptation to say something glib such as: "Sitting where you are." They're looking for ambition, drive and vision, not a smartass rival. "Regarded as a true professional and a team player" works well, or, if you want to throw in a specific, maybe refer to gaining a highly prized qualification such as a ­Marketing Diploma or an MBA.

Finally, they'll almost certainly ask why they shouldn't hire you, disguised as something like: "Tell me about your biggest weakness." An easy option is to give a witty response such as chocolate or beer, but choose your interviewer carefully if you do.

Better still, pick on a seemingly harmless subject and reply something like: "I've always been completely useless at anything to do with cars." However, use this line sparingly if you're going for a job as a motor mechanic.

Remember, your prospective employer is looking to hire hardworking people with ambition, so refer to your struggle with the work/life balance or your fixation with attention to detail. And don't forget they're always interested in problem-solvers so mention something that used to be a weakness that you've overcome. And tell them how you overcame it. And next Christmas avoid the booze-fuelled frenzy of unbridled passion.

Philip Hesketh is a professional speaker on 'The Psychology of Persuasion' and the author of 'Life's A Game So Fix The Odds'.