Job interviews are never ending and always a determinant to career growth: from start to finish. As a Human Resource Consultant, I have conducted uncountable job interviews some of which were interesting, embarrassing, inspiring, and funny. This is why I am glad to help you with some crucial tips on one major aspect of interviews: Questions!!!
On this platform, I have, in the past, written about other Recruitment components including: Cover Letter Writing, Preparing for Interviews, Writing a Winning CV, etc. Please refer to the blog archives and fetch all you can read from my posts to better your chances as you enhance your career. Today, let us discuss the Questions you will most often encounter at interview panels. Welcome!!!
Common Interview Questions and Best Answers
- Tell us about yourself: Most panellists ask this question with a view to perceive how self-confident a candidate is. A candidate should answer this question by being methodical, brief and straightforward. It is necessary to highlight your full name, your state of origin, and your biological family nature. Also briefly discuss your professional interests to date and your vision for the future in line with your interest areas.
- Where do you see yourself in the next ‘x’ years? Most respondents discuss this question from the perspective that they will be in the employment of the current prospective employer. This is not proper. Answers to this question should be independent of employment or contract. Let the panellists understand what your immediate career vision is and if possible, how you envision achieving it
- Tell us about your experience at ‘so and so employer’ (based on experiences enumerated on CV): This is your opportunity to be a professional. Start by sharing your Job Title, your Job Description, your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and how you achieved them. Also mention how your contributions in and out of your primary KPI impacted positively on the organisation’s financial Income, lowering costs, and enhanced corporate workflow. Do not talk down on your previous employer, it sends a wrong message to the Panellists.
- What weaknesses do you have? In error, many defend their weaknesses like a plague. This is not necessary. You do not need to say so much about your weakness. It is honourable to mention at least three weaknesses you remember and briefly explain how you have focused on building capacity to ensure the weaknesses are complementary enough to empower your strengths.
- What do you have to offer our Organisation? Quickly highlight the fact that you are not the kind of employee who is religious about only following a Job Description. You are versatile and a utility (hopefully your CV can confirm that you are vast and versatile in experience and skills). The best value any employee can bring to the table is that which encompasses technical and leadership skills so endeavour to point out that you are technically sound and managerially adept. Beyond all, say it that you will always anticipate leading the organisation someday by merit of growth and competence.
- What has been your toughest life’s experience? Be real. Where you ever goofed, say it and enumerate the lessons learnt. Where you won after a goof, mention it and enumerated the lessons learnt also.
- What is the minimum salary you want us to pay you? This question is almost certain any day and so prior to attending an interview; try to get industry rates for your level of capacity, skill and job title. If you do, straightway tell a RANGE of income you expect and DON’T beat about the bush. If you do not know, you should have estimated your INCOME cum EXPENDITURE potential to maintain the job alongside your last pay, your skill level, cognate experience, and your ‘professional fee’ if you were to be hired as a consultant for that same job. Aggregate these figures and estimate a range that you can take. Let the panel know if your stated figure is negotiable or not.
- Are you currently indebted to any previous/current employer? Be transparent and mention every indebtedness by way of Training Fees, Travel Fees, Professional Fees, et al that you are required to refund should you settle for this employment. Be figure specific.
- How soon are you available? Be honest. If your current employer requires a specific number of days based on agreed terms or policy, state it. If it is open to your discretion, be magnanimous to give at least 2 weeks to your current employer to arrange a replacement for you. The panel will surely take note of this character and may be a plus for you.
- Do you have any questions for us? YES! YES!! YES!!! Always ask, at least, a question. Ask about Staff Reward Programs; corporate family get-togethers; corporate directions for three, five or ten years; potentials for further studies or professional advancement with organisational support; welfare and insurance policies for staff, market coverage (where unavailable on website), etc. Ask questions that show that you have done your homework learning about the organisation and you want to find out more.
Please note there will be lead-on questions, which may arise from any question. You should be prepared for these likely questions and answer them in the most appropriate manner.
Bukky Shonibare is the Group CEO of “The 555 Group” owners of 555 Consulting Limited (Human Resource Management, Operations Management, and Strategy); 555 Foods (owners of ‘Beans City’); 555 Impact Centre (Training & Development); and 555 Foundation (Corporate Social Responsibility with focus on promoting Entrepreneurial Development, Personal Development, and Poverty Alleviation).Bukky has a Certificate in Journalism and Creative Writing from the London School of Journalism, UK; Diploma in Secretarial Administration; and dual Certificates in Entrepreneurial Development and Social Sector Management from the Pan African University, Nigeria. Read her full profile here
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