Your guide to common interview questions and answers
By Selipha Kihagi
Once you get past the selection process and a recruiter or hiring manager invites you for an interview, it is time to impress. Most people make it to the interview stage due to their well-tailored CVs, only to lose the job to other candidates. If you are a victim, you must have considered what it is you did wrong and at some point even blamed the employers for not getting hired.
The reality though is that the candidate who got hired was better prepared for the interview than you were. So, to help you increase your chances of getting hired after an interview, below is a list of more interview questions and answers to expect. You can find our first series of common interview questions and answers in this article here.
What More Interview Questions and Answers Should You Expect?
How you answer interview questions helps recruiters and interviewers decide whether you are the best candidate for the job or not. That is why thorough interview preparation is recommended for every single position. It will not matter if you went for a similar interview in the past week, lack of preparation will ruin your chances. Here are interview questions and answers to help you prepare;
1. Why do you want to work for us?
An alternative to this interview question would be why do you want this job? When faced with this question, the first thing to remember is that the employer or interviewer is interested in your motivation.
Think back to the time you encountered the position, what convinced you to submit an application? Use that in your answer and remember to add why you think the company is a best fit for you. Employers enjoy a little flattery.
An ideal answer would be; “I enjoy interacting with people and helping them find solutions to problems is always a great satisfaction of mine. I am also very passionate about technology and I love how your company is leveraging new technology to improve education. It is for these reasons that I want to join your customer service team.”
2. Why did you leave your last job?
This falls among the most tricky interview questions and answers of all time. If you are a fresh graduate then you need not worry about this particular question. But if you were recently fired, quit unceremoniously or resigned to start your own business but things didn’t work out, then you should worry about how to answer this interview question.
For those who were fired, you must own up to it and let the potential employer know you have taken measures to make sure you don’t go down the same road. If you quit, then tell the employers why and link your reason to what the current role is offering.
Ideal answer if you were fired; “Unfortunately the company experienced losses in revenue and had to downsize. I was among the recently hired employees in my department and did not have the front office experience needed to double up in roles. As a result, my position was one of those eliminated. I learned that my strengths lie in creating and developing marketing campaigns and I believe I would make a great asset in this particular role.”
3. Do you have any questions for us?
When it comes to interview questions and answers to expect, this one will always come up. Two things to remember; never say you do not have a question or ask about salary. Posing questions to recruiters demonstrates your interest in the role and asking about salary will only discredit your suitability.
To ensure you do not ruin your chances, always have several questions ready and avoid asking something that has already been tackled during the interview. Ideal questions to ask would be; “Could you tell me more about what a typical day in this role looks like?” or, “What growth opportunities can I expect in this role?”
Also, Perminus Wainaina the Head of Recruitment at Corporate Staffing Services recommends that you ask one of these two questions; “Is this role an existing or new position?” or “How did this position become vacant?”
4. Most Tricky of Interview Questions and Answers; When can you start?
The interview is never over if the recruiter or employer haven’t asked, when are you available to start? It is one of the interview questions and answers that will always come by and sometimes candidates have interpreted this to mean they were successful. This however is not always the true.
Employers and recruiters ask this question to tell if you are desperate or to gauge your motivation. Since the last thing you want to do is look desperate – never a good sign for employers – here is how to answer. If you are not currently employed and can start right away, avoid saying you can start immediately. Say you can start soon but would need a day or two to put your things in order.
If employed, you could say; “My employment contract allows me to give a 30-day (or two weeks) notice and I would like to ensure a smooth handover to my replacement.” You can learn more about how to answer this question in this short YouTube video guide.
Interview questions and answers can be tricky and even become the reason you get nervous and ramble through your responses. But if you put in time to do intensive interview preparation, you can be sure to impress employers and get hired.
Selipha is the Communications Officer at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading recruitment firm that offers CV Writing services, free job placement and Interview Coaching. Email; email@example.com
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