Preparing for a job interview can be mentally draining. With so many areas to cover and many uncertainties on what to expect, the whole process can be stressful. But if you know what to expect and how to handle it, the process can be refreshing.
The reasons for an Interview
You may be wondering why Recruiters still engage in Interviews despite having the CV/Résumé of the Applicants. Here’s a list of known reasons for Interviews:
1. The Recruiter wants to find out during the interview whether or not you are the right personality to work for them. Your Personality is the set of qualities that makes you who you are. For instance, a shy person would not fit perfectly in the role of a Sales and Marketing Officer.
2. The Recruiter also wants to learn more about your past experiences. This is to know if your past experiences would match with the new role. The Recruiter wants to know how your past experiences have prepared you for the new role you are applying for.
3. The Recruiter also wants to know how beneficial you will be to the Company or Organization if you are given the new role.
When answering the interview questions, make sure you are real and don’t try to be somebody else – After all, you are not. Here’s a list of
Popular interview questions and how to answer them
Here is a list of popular interview questions and how to answer them:
1. What Are Your Strengths?
The Strengths referred to here are non-technical, such as good time management, communication, and interpersonal skills, and others. Make a list of the strengths and abilities you have and that you can use them directly in the world of work. If your strength is quick adaptability, you can answer like this:
“I am a person who can adapt quickly to a new environment. For instance, while working with XYZ Company, I was able to adapt quickly to the new working environment.”
Also, if your strength is Teamwork, you can answer like this:
“I have great teamwork skills. I have always been a major contributor in all the teams I have ever been part of. I was even awarded the best team success contributor while in Company XYZ ”.
Other examples of strengths include Time Management, Enthusiasm, Optimism, Punctuality, Hard Work, and Integrity. Make sure the strengths you mention relates to the role, and also cite an instance that you exercised the strength.
2. What are your weaknesses?
In answering this question, you should describe your weaknesses and also what you are doing about your weaknesses. Unlike strengths, ensure that the weaknesses you mention do not relate to the role.
For instance, if you apply for a job that is not related to numbers and statistics, you can say that you are weak with Maths. Also, add that you are trying to overcome this weakness. For example, you could say that you are about to learn about a computer program used to calculate quickly.
By including in your answer what you are doing to tackle your weaknesses, you are also convincing the Recruiter that you are a person with good problem-solving skills.
3. Why are you interested in working at this company?
Be careful with this question, because this question is very tricky. When you are asked this question you inevitably have to be able to answer it wisely, and also be honest.
If you are interested in the salary from the company, just say that you want to be more productive and want to have a brighter future.
Of course, the answer above is an example. You don’t have to go with that answer, because reasons for job applications can differ.
An applicant may apply for a job at a company because of good work culture. Some people apply because they like the leader and the management, amongst other reasons.
4. How do you see yourself in the next five years?
This question is usually asked by recruiters to know if you have ambitions or not. The question is also asked to know what the expectations about your career are. The Company/Organization would also want to know if the goals and self-development you desire match the needs and facilities of the company.
Having children, owning your own business, getting married may be your dream but they are not the right answers to this question.
When applying for a job, you can think about how the position can help make your career dreams come true.
So, you can answer that question like this:
“I quite hope to become a Graphic Designer in this company because, within the next five years, I want to become an Art Director. I want to be a specialist who can create designs that answer company/organizational problems”
5. Why did you resign from where you work before?
When answering this question, you shouldn’t badmouth the previous company. Make sure your explanation is short and clear.
You don’t need to go into details about your grumpy boss or dirty work environment.
You must answer the question honestly. Look again at the positive things that the company has provided.
Company XYZ provides its employees with a good working environment, but I resigned from company XYZ because my current skills don’t match with my job description while working there.”
6. Are you willing to be posted outside your current city?
It depends on whether you want to work outside the city, or if you object. If you don’t want to give up the opportunity to work for that company, you can give answers like these:
If you agree to move:
“If it is necessary for the Company, I will gladly move on.”
If you agree to move, but with several considerations:
“I quite like working in this city, but if work requires me to move to a different place, I will consider it.”
If you are unwilling to move:
“Working at this company is a good opportunity, and I am quite happy with this city. So if I could work in this company and this city, it would be great.”
7. Tell us about the greatest success you are proud of
When answering this question, pay attention to your speaking style so that you don’t seem arrogant.
If you’ve worked before, answering these questions can be fairly easy.
If you are a fresh graduate, who is looking for your first job, you can use organizational experience or internships as the answer.
Don’t just answer casually, such as “I’ve been awarded the title of a model employee for 3 months in a row”.
Instead, answer with the formula S-T-A-R or Situation Task Action Result. That is, you should tell the experience in a sequence starting from describing the situation you experienced, the task you faced from the situation, the actions you took to complete the task, and finally the achievements you got!
8. Tell us about a time you made a mistake
The Recruiter wants to know if you have a healthy view of Wrong. Answer this question with real experiences that you have experienced yourself, and don’t tell mistakes that show your bad character, such as fights, forgetting to attend meetings or projects that didn’t go well because of you.
Again, you are required to answer in order with the formula (Situation + Error + Solution + Good ending + Moral Lessons).
Example: “When I made a sale on the phone, I once gave a customer the wrong price, I gave a lower price than it should be because the customer was interested in that price and it resulted in a sale.
“I realized that my price was too low when I entered the product code into the company system.
“I doubt the customer will agree if I give the real price because the sales value is quite large, it would be a shame to lose the sale.
“Then I discussed with the supervisor whether the price could still enter and not cause a loss.
“After discussing it, it turned out that the price I gave was still able to enter even though the profit the company received was very small.
“My supervisor helped to explain the error to the customer and I’m still making sales.
“I learned a valuable lesson from the situation about double-checking product prices.”
9. Tell us about yourself
This question is usually the first to be asked by the interviewer in the interview process. It’s important to build a good first impression.
Then, what is the right way to answer that question?
First: Start by doing a brief introduction such as your name, where your last university/school was, and what course you studied.
Second: After the introduction, you can enter with a more detailed explanation emphasizing the importance of the résumé that you have created.
It doesn’t need to be too long and detailed – just name some of the proudest achievements that you have made.
Third: Explain briefly why you want to work at this company. Be specific about what position you are applying for.
Make sure the interviewer knows that your skills match the position.
That way, the interviewer will be sure that you are the right candidate to fill the job position.
Example: “My name is John Matthew. I am a graduate of the University Of Dar es Salaam, with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing.
“I have experience in the field of Marketing. I have worked with some major marketing agencies in Tanzania, where I have contributed immensely to the brand awareness of several businesses in Tanzania.
“I enjoy the job, but I want to get a bigger opportunity and dig deeper into my Marketing abilities in a specific health company like this. This is the reason why I am very interested in working for this company.”
10. How much salary do you expect?
Before you apply for a job, what you should know is how much the salary for the position you are applying for is.
That way, you don’t mention a lower or higher number than the salary for the position in general.
You can mention the salary range, and mention if you are willing to negotiate.
“With the job description and responsibilities that I bear, the salary I expect is 150,000 per month. But I am open to negotiation.”
11. Why should we employ you?
Mention your skills, experience, and achievements. Make the interviewer believe that you are the right person.
“I have mastery in Linux, Apache, MySQL, VMware, and AWS. Besides these, I have experience working at company X as a Cloud Engineer for 2 years. I believe I can contribute immensely to the achievement of the company’s goals.”
12. How do you deal with a problem?
Answer these questions systematically starting from identifying problems, the causes and effects, and ways to solve them and take preventive measures.
“First I will try to be calm, then carry out a detailed investigation of the matter and the extent of its effects.
“After that, I will find the best solution and repair the damage. And I make sure I will make strict SOPs related to this case so that it won’t happen again in the future.”
You should also go ahead and cite a real-life instance where you dealt with a problem this way.
13. Would you like to ask us any question?
The best answer to this question is not “No”. The intention of the Employer/Recruiter is to know if you are interested in knowing more about the Company/Organization. A negative answer from you may have a negative impact on your employment consideration. Here are some questions you can ask:
- (Towards HR) What do you enjoy most about working for this company?
- As a new employee, what should I do during the month (three-month trial period)?
- What news are you planning for your company for next year?
- How big is the team of colleagues for this position?
- Who was in a position in front of me and why did he/she quit?
When you are invited for an interview, you are just a step away from your dream job. Don’t underestimate the preparation, smile and greet other colleagues as you enter the room. Who knows if you would be sharing an office with them from the next month.