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Questions to expect in an interview and their appropriate answers.

Thank God it is Friday but we can’t stop thinking of the young graduates, the recently employed and the old guard in the corporate world who think that they have the perfect answers to questions – I wish you meet us in the panel. We will throw questions that you never expect and so never be sure that you have all the answers to interview questions.
Today we want to share a sample of questions that can be raised in a normal interview and give you tips how to go around them and not the structured responses that you may have obtained elsewhere. Yesterday a lady emailed us asking about tips to an interview and another young man who said he had been invited to an interview and wanted to nail the job by beating all the competitors. This to begin with is a good feeling – confidence. Let us first share how to prepare for an interview before the questions (although we will expand the topic on preparation later.)

Before applying for a job you need to do a very important exercise that will help you get the job or not. Ask yourself the following questions:
·         If given the job, will I like it? Is this job what I want?
·         Do I have the competencies required to perform or to get the job?
·         Is this where my talent lies?
·         What is motivating me to apply for this job? Is it the money or the availability?
Anyway that will be a topic for another day. Let us go back to preparing for an interview. Although I promise we will tackle this topic fully later on, this is just a sneak preview of how to prepare:
Ø  While you get the call from the company, remember to show courtesy to the person calling.
Ø  Remember to carry out a thorough investigation on where the offices and the site of the interview will be. Please ask the caller or you can call later if you are not sure. Don’t wait until the date of the interview is when to search for the offices. Be sure you know the bus number plying that route in order to avoid inconveniences.
Ø  Dress very smart, preferably black or grey suit for both ladies and gents. Don’t wear very striking colors like yellow, pink, red and merge anta. If you have to wear these colors maybe match them with predominant dark colors like an interviewer won’t mind a red tie or a yellow top with a black suit for ladies. All in all avoid bright colors.
Ø  Be around the compound of interview thirty minutes early and at the offices at least twenty minutes if possible. This is meant to avoid the sweaty feeling of arriving late and you even may irritate the panel.
Ø  Once in an interview room, wait to be invited to sit, read the interviewer and bring in a compliment that may serve as an icebreaker but if you can’t read your ‘opponent’ please avoid commenting anything and hope that he breaks the tension.
Don’t worry we will tackle this topic at length next time. Now we will feature a few questions that you expect in the interview and how to get around them:
1.   Tell us about yourself: This is probably the first question in an interview and will worry most of the people asked because if you start saying your life history it will never end. An interview question requires a minute or two to answer. Well in two minutes you are required to summarize all that constitutes you. At this situation if there was no icebreaker I can promise you uncomfortability. This question requires you to demonstrate the part of your life that makes you relevant to this job. Please concentrate on your good past like where you have held leadership positions, what you have done that is relevant to the job both educational and non-educational.
2.   What are your strengths and weaknesses: This will probably be the best time to show how competent you are in the position that you are being interviewed for. Align your strengths to match the requirements of the job. I doubt if this can be a problem if you had the job description beforehand but the weaknesses can be a tricky affair and this may throw you into the wrong side of the interview because for an interview to continue the panel has to develop interest in you. Be careful not to raise weaknesses that may be personal and you may find one panelist with the same problem. Bring out a weakness that can also be seen as strength which may assist the employer e.g. attention to detail. Say that your friends dislike your attention to detail but it helps you in providing quality results.
3.   What do you about us: This is the point in which the employer tests your knowledge of the industry in which he operates and how well do you understand the business or corporate world. Don’t stray to talk about the employee salaries, financial performance and other matters that may throw you away if asked the technicalities of them. Concentrate on the basics about what you know and if you don’t go to the internet and obtain some basic knowledge and we will advise you to concentrate on the industry in which your prospective employer operates in. Don’t talk so much about competitors and avoid topics that can trigger personal feelings.
4.   Tell us anything going on currently in the world around: Most interviewers will expect you to have done some research on the goods and services they deal with and they don’t expect you to talk about politics and they are in the consumer industry. Please avoid topics that attract personal feelings which can easily trigger the feeling of the panelist.
5.   How much salary will you want us to pay you? I know this is the question most of you were waiting for and our advice is that you don’t quote figures and if you must give a range and this range must have been well researched. Take industry approximations or you may have insider information from an employee. Ask for something considerate depending on the town in which you are and your competencies while matching with the knowledge that you already have on the prospective employer. One secret though we can steal for you is that no employer will want an employee to set his salary, they probably have set a range – make sure you go to the high bracket. Although this should be accompanied by a valid explanation. The danger of quoting an exact figure you may quote a low figure which may demonstrate your fear, desperation and naivety or a big figure which shows you as an arrogant, proud and you probably have overestimated yourself. Appear moderate with respect.
6.   Who is your role model? In this question, please quote a prominent business man like Donald Trump or Mark Zuckernberg or any other of the many that you know of. Avoid politicians as role models because they are known to be trouble makers and may portray you as one. Avoid local businessmen because one of the panelists may not share your admiration. Choose someone who does not have controversies surrounding him and even go for a prominent businessman that is little known but you must have enough information about him and please concentrate on the virtues that portray him as a diligent businessman.
7.   What do your family think of your career and what do your parents do for a living?  In this question be as truthful as possible. Do not lie about the financial status of your parents. Do not think that to get sympathy you need to portray them as poor or you portray them as rich in order to get a thumbs up from the panel, just say they are supportive and have been supportive all along and bring out their financial status without fear.  
8.   Ask us a question: This is where you research is tested. Do not ask personal questions to any panelist; enquire matters around the industry that they operate in, the challenges, the shortcomings and opportunities around the industry. Strictly adhere and toe the line of the business that they operate in. Show curiosity in knowing the answer and not asking because you had rehearsed the question
I want to finish this article by advising you and saying the same thing I said yesterday, take an interview like a conversation. Try to make a friend out of the guys interviewing you. If possible master their names immediately the introduction is done s that when a question is asked and when you ask a question, address them in their official names, believe me it eases the tension. One last one, can you assume that you have met them somewhere before.
If you have a question please do not hesitate to ask us to and be sure we will respond. If you also have a career event you can call us to give a talk. We do all our stuff for FREE.
We wish you all the best. 

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