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You are invited for an interview...What next?....Prepare for the worst

Job application can be a daunting task and once you get lucky to receive a call from a prospective employer inviting you for an interview, a lot goes through your mind but I can bet one of them is the questions that you expect. The common ones possibly that you have googled will be, ‘can you tell us about yourself’, ‘what are your strongest points and weaknesses’ and all those questions that you probably have mastered and memorised structured answers. Assume a situation where you have been called for an interview in a hotel.

A friend of mine was called by PricewaterhouseCoopers for a partner’s interview at Fairview Hotel near the Israel embassy. The first thought that went through his mind was that these were conmen trying to swindle his hard earned pennies from the KRA where he was employed then. Long story short, he got the job but after a very finger biting interview. The worst that can happen is when an interview is being carried out while having lunch, at an opportune moment the interviewer throws a question at you when you have had a big bite of that steak, they can monitor your eating habits (are you taking a lot of food or are you pretending to eat a small portion). The topic for lunch should be for another day.

Let us go back to the questions that you do not anticipate in an interview. Many people will not be ready to answer a question on personal life or personal tastes and that is what a keen interviewee should expect. Just imagine the following questions:

1.    Who is your political role model?
2.    If you were to have lunch with a prominent personality, who will it be?
3.    Were you an animal, which one would you be?
4.    How beautiful is your girlfriend or boyfriend (If you are in sales and marketing expect this)?
5.    What do your parents think of your career choice?
6.    Sell me that bag. A good question for sales and marketing jobs.

These questions can be used to

1.    To get you off-guard.
2.    May help you to relax.
3.    To be creative not giving structured answers.
4.    Interviewers to see if you have a sense of humour.
5.    How fast can you think?

Be careful because the kind of answers you give will demonstrate what kind of personality that you have. At this point you should demonstrate your confidence, agility, dynamism and accuracy. Don’t bubble with an answer, stand by your answer because you do not want to stagger and seem incompetent.

Now, I will spend some time to share with you tips which can help in curbing your failure chances when these kind of questions are thrown at you:

1.       Do not see this a stupid or irrelevant questions because you may be tempted to question their relevance to the job at hand. It may also live you very purtabbed and you may be forced to show it through facial expression which will as a result cost you the position. It may also portray you as a very rude person who does not take instructions ar answer any questions.
2.       These crazy questions do not really have a correct answer because they depend on personal life and perspectives in which you may look at the situation yourself. So be confident and give a response the way you deem fit but also ask yourself if you were the one throwing the question then what answer will you have taken.
3.       You are allowed to take time before you answer the question so you can stall while you think of the answer. If you have an ice breaker please throw it here but ensure that it remains relevant.
4.       The intention behind the question should be well interpreted first. For example the question on your favourite politician demonstrates the kind of personality. People hold different political views that divide us and thus you should stay away from local politics. Use old foreign personalities and try relating it directly to your current traits that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
5.       As I said earlier if you have some mature corporate jokes then here is the time to throw them but ensure that they remain relevant and are not interfering with the person interviewing you. If you can tell from a distance the kind of person the interviewer is then you are safe.
7.       Be straight to the point and honest about your answer. Do not fabricate any response in order to please the panel. For example if a panellist asks you of the financial status of your family, don’t think by saying rich you will please them or by saying poor they will sympathise with you. Be honest and straight to the point and always concentrate on the truth.
8.       Try relating these instances with examples of your past roles of leadership where you have performed and cascade this with your competencies. This will help boost your vitae and your score on the interview front.
9.       Your body language is very important, please don’t show any signs of discomfort by wrapping your hands together, tapping your pen and a face of resignation. Be confident, composed and wear a corporate look.

Lastly, I want to offer a small dimension on the interview generally (although it is a topic for another day). Remember that an interview is a normal conversation and treat it as such. Trust me; if you treat an interview as a stranger or a prospective employer’s conversation with you, then you are in. Whether it is lunch, just appear composed, if it is in a boardroom, please be confident and the will be your point into the organisation.

Do you have a comment on this send it to kenyancareer@gmail.com and/or any question be sure to get an immediate response.

Wish you all the best.

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