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Interview Questions & How to Answer Them

Interviews often seem rather nerve-wrecking, but as you get invited to more, you will definitely find your rhythm and become more confident. And while it is important to sound professional throughout a job interview, it is also advisable to make your interviewers see that you are being authentic. one way is to go to interviews prepared for at least the basic questions and also mentally ready for surprise, or rather difficult, questions that may be thrown at you.

As an interviewee, you are expected to know details about the company you are interviewing for, hence researching about the company, its history, its team, and accolades, among many others would be useful pieces of information to be familiar with. It will also be good to know details about the company that you may connect to your professional background or personal beliefs.

Common Questions

One of the most common, more often than not the first questions interviewees are asked is, “Tell me about yourself”. And, while this question might seem the least difficult, the challenge comes on how you will present yourself in an interesting nature – highlighting your previous roles, sharing your strengths, and putting focus on previous accomplishments – without narrating it exactly how it is reflected in your resume.

A good way to kick off with your introduction is to share something about your current role and how your skillset has helped your current team and organisation. You can then proceed with sharing bits of information about your previous roles and how you have grown professionally through your experiences in every organisation you had been a part of. You can then proceed with sharing bits of information about your previous roles and how you have grown professionally through your experiences in every organisation you had been a part of. Then you may cap it off by sharing how your previous roles combined with the skills you have sharpened over the years will make you a good inclusion to the organisation you are eyeing.

Past Experiences

One obvious question that may come up is why you are leaving your current job. The assumption is, if everything was all blissful and cushy, what is the reason you are considering to be part of another organisation. Unless answered correctly, interviewers might take tactless answers as red flags and as reflections of how you are as a colleague and might result to not getting that offer or worse, even a second round of interviews.

The best way is to keep things positive! Even if you did not like the work culture or some other similar reason, it helps steering clear of the negative remarks and focusing on the positive ones. You can cite that you are looking for new opportunities within your next employment and highlight that this is something you can foresee with this company you are interviewing at. If you were let go, it is best to be truthful especially if you are applying within the same industry. Keep it short and simple and remember that there is no obligation to emphasise on the situation.

The Future

‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ Well, to be honest, most of us don’t even know what we will be doing next week but that is definitely not the point of the question. The interviewer is trying to ascertain if you have realistic goals set for yourself. If you do know and have planned this out to a tee, then by all means list the path out verbally but if many of us who are clueless, it is completely alright to be honest and say that we haven’t mapped out our future just yet. Project that you do have ambition and for starters, draft out a progression line within the role. For example, if you are an assistant at present, look to securing an executive position within the next 2 years and so on.

What Are You Worth?

A really tough question is in regards of your salary expectations. Although it would be remiss of you to come right out and ask for an expected figure, a few ways we can try to narrow down a figure comfortable for both parties is by having the conversation work both ways.

You can start with setting a realistic medium to high range. Of course, do a little research before you throw numbers around. You want to look at what the average salary is for the position you are applying for considering factors like the number of years you have been working and the technical skillset you have that is useful for the role, for example.

You can also ask the interviewer what the company’s range is. This is a sure-fire way to understand if you are asking for too much or too little and tweak appropriately without short-changing yourself.

You can also try to find out a little more about the role or package they are offering before answering the question. This doesn’t put you in an awkward position early on in the interview process should you need to adjust your range after learning the different kinds of benefits they have, or lack thereof.

Concluding the Interview

It is almost guaranteed that this question will be asked. “Do you have any questions?” And while it is common knowledge these days to prepare a couple of questions for the end, there are many candidates that make the unforgivable mistake of saying “No”. While most interviewers will not attempt to squeeze a questions from you, not having one or two questions in regards the company or the role might be misconstrued as not being fully interested in the position – one that you will not want your interviewer to assume about you. Hence, it is highly encouraged for interviewees to have questions prepared, and raise them once the interviewer has completed his/her set of questions.

Some of the many questions an interviewee may ask are:

  • What is the culture in the organisation like?
  • If it is a new role, ask what kind of achievements and changes does the company expects from the person who will take on the role to bring about in a year.
  • If the position was previously filled by another individual, ask why the previous employee left the company and where was the previous person strong in and where are his/her areas for improvement.
  • Is there anything about your skillset or previous experiences that may possibly hinder you getting the role?
  • How does the company practice a healthy work-life balance?

The key to leaving an interview room feeling even more confident than when you just came in is to come prepared – know about the company, learn the specific requirements for the role, know how to ‘sell’ yourself and highlight your strengths, and have your own set of questions prepared.

Remember, they are trying to find the perfect candidate, as much as you are trying to find the perfect workplace for you! Now you can say fire away!

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