Frequently Asked Questions By Interviewers
How Do I Even Start?
Start by Breathing… Prepare…. Then take some time to breathe again, and prepare some more…
Note that through all interviews, the answer to every question has 2 aspects; content and delivery, and whilst with most questions you are attempting to provide information about yourself as a suitable candidate, the focus should always be about how that attribute of yourself or experience fits the employers’ need at that specific time and in the near future. Invariably, the focus should always remain on the employer and your knowledge of the same.
Why should we hire you?
You want to highlight that they would be insane to not hire you: You need to first, share how you and your experiences meet most of the criteria the company seeks, as well as have as many additional abilities that they might not even know they need…yet. The company needs to know without a doubt that you are a candidate who meets their needs today as well as is valuable enough to fit into their tomorrow.
Have you been down a work/skill path that the company appears to be currently embarking on or planning to explore? Having “lessons learned” as part of a value you can add is a very strong plus for a job candidate.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Focus on the Company: In five years of continuous work, you are expected to make a significant impact on any company’s bottom line. Focus on how this is achievable through the role you’re interviewing for. In several disciplines, skills’ advancement and certification are important to the company and your growth, so the expectation is that you have identified those skills and intend to pursue them. You should thus be able to share what skill gaps you want to fill or areas you want to strengthen in the short term (but be careful that they are not areas of expertise that the company needs now or that will make you appear deficient).
Employers need not necessarily care to hear that you expect to climb the corporate ladder and be a supervisor, it’s assumed that you would not want to be stagnant or risk redundancy.
Why do you want to work here?
Employers need to know that you are comfortable enough to fit in at the company hastily and with ease. That involves company culture as much as deliverables. Your ability to answer this is based on your having done quite a bit of personal one-on-one research so as to understand the upside of working there through the personal experiences of others. Is it a great place to advance your skills, to grow as a professional or to enjoy work/life balance?
Further, it is important that your delivery of the answer be genuine as you cannot appear to be handing down to the interviewer what you think (s)he wants to hear. Yes, a new job means several things including perhaps an increased paycheque, but you need to make them believe that the job is important to you and you think their organisation is where you would rather do it.
What do you know about us?
This is a test of your real interest in the opportunity, and not just a desire to change jobs for possibly better pay. If you know very little, it is an indication that you are not very serious about working there. Candidates who are really excited about the prospect of working at a company do their homework. To stand out further, do some heavy research and find out something that not everyone knows with which you can strike a conversation. The environment and culture of this company, and how you feel it’s a strong match with your strengths and experience. This demonstrates a buy-in to the company’s brand and culture and is a great way to sell yourself as a match.
Why do you want this job?
What are the 4 to 6 things that are most important to you in a job in order of priority? Identify the top three that this job can give you, and discuss them. Whether it be; work diversity, a company with a good reputation, a company with strong training opportunities, company stability, recognition of staff, work schedule, camaraderie, employee growth, part of a strong team, mentorship opportunities? Frame your response based on both your needs and the employer’s needs to show strong sync.
Why Do You Want to Leave Your Current Job?
Questions starting with “why” immediately place most people on the defensive, thus this question often makes even the most experienced interviewee fidget a little. But having said that, it must still be answered as calmly as possible as there are several acceptable reasons for wanting to leave a job which can be explained without lamenting on your dissatisfactions and leaving a negative impression on the employer. Such responses can be to take on more responsibility, career growth, relocation, career change, improve work/life balance (though in Nigeria, this many a times screams lazy so tread carefully). When answering, keep your tone positive, and feel free to start by addressing what you would like about this job and company that is different from the current one should you be given the opportunity on this job
Do You Have Any Questions for Us?
Whatever you do, your answer should not be “No”, though God knows you are better off saying nothing than ruining a perfectly good interview, considering this would usually be the last question an interviewer is likely to ask. However, if that answer is Yes, then to leave a good impression, it is important not to ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. To access more information or give you an edge by shining through, ask “open-ended” questions to which people will usually have to speak more. You can ask questions about the job, the organisation or the recruitment process, and intelligent questions on the aforementioned abound.
A few examples – The keys to success on the job? Growth prospects on the role? Availability of on-the-job training? Why is the job open? Key factors to be successful in the job? The major challenge on the job? … and it goes on.