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When getting ready for your next job interview, rehearsing interview questions to expect should be a priority. This, however, should always come after you understand the hiring company.

Start by conducting research on who the potential employer is, what they do, their products and/or services, and if they have been in the news. This will help in personalizing your job interview answers.

So what interview questions should you expect? Here are 10 questions and their sample answers.

10 Common Interview Questions and Answers

1. Tell me a little about yourself

As you would guess, this is one of the most common ones. We have tackled it over and over in our blog posts and short YouTube videos but it remains one of the most complex questions. Not complex because it’s hard, but because candidates tend to get confused when answering.

To effectively answer this question, think about your professional self. Employers and recruiters don’t need to know if you are a third born or how many kids you have. They want to understand your professional background.

Here is a sample answer.

2. Can you name one of your greatest achievements?

When an interviewer asks this questions, don’t just say, “Yes, I can name some” and then go silent. The question is meant to prompt you to get into details about your achievements. Remember the best way to ace an interview is to tell stories and not answer questions like a robot.

Here are two sample answers.

Example 1. “In my most recent position as a Sales Representative at XYZ Company, I was able to successfully drive sales and as a result, achieve a turnover of KSh 1.5 million. I was also commended for being the top Sales Rep of the year.”

Example 2. “When working as a Sales Assistant at ABC Boutique, I noticed a customer feeling anxious about her body and having a hard time selecting a perfect dress. I could tell she was about to tear up. I walked over to the customer, started up a conversation and assured her that we would find her perfect dress.

After about 20 minutes of laughing and trying out the dresses I recommended, she was able to find what she was looking for. Not only did I manage to boost her confidence, but I also retained her as a return customer, and increased walk-ins from her referrals.”

Do you notice the difference between these two sample answers? One is quantifiable and the other is more of a story. If you don’t have numbers to brag about, focus on a different achievement. Completing an important project in time, introducing a new system or being named the employee of the year also make for good accomplishments.

3. What words would you use to best describe yourself?

Now this, dear job seekers, can be quite the mouse trap. Can you describe yourself in a few words? Or in three adjectives as some interviewers prefer to ask? Here is a sample answer, highlighting 5 valuable competencies of an employee.

Example Answer:“I would describe myself as someone who is good at what she does, goal oriented, customer focused, accountable and a highly motivated self-starter. When working with me, you can be assured there won’t be a need for micromanaging.”

Don’t start by mentioning how humble or obedient you are. Look for words that tell more about who you are as a profession.

4. Why do you want to leave your current employer?

This question is for those who are seeking a new job when they are currently employed. To best answer, avoid badmouthing your current employer. While their leadership skills and humanity abilities may be lacking, the interviewer does not need to know your work troubles.

Also, avoid generic answers like saying you are looking for career growth or a challenging opportunity. Instead, think about the job description of the position you are applying for. What does it have that will work best for your career? How do your skills provide value for the employer?

Here is a sample answer in form of a short YouTube video.

5. Why are your salary expectations?

When interviewers ask this particular question, there is one thing that remains common among job seekers. Almost everyone goes into thinking mode. Is the salary range I planned to mention a good amount? Should I add 10K to my previous or current salary and quote that? How about 50K? Is that a better amount?

Psssst! Stop thinking about what to say. You are wasting precious time and interviewers are beginning to think you don’t really know what you want.

Quote whatever amount or salary range you decided on before walking into the interview. Consult this guide on choosing a salary that is right for you.

Here are two sample answers.

Experienced professional: “According to the research I have done and duties listed in the job, similar positions pay a salary of X to Z. With my skills and experience, I expect a salary ranging between Y and Z”.

Fresh Graduate: “In regards to the research I have done, similar positions pay between X and Y. I would like to receive a starting salary in this range.”

Here is a short YouTube video explaining how to go about the Salary question, as advised by Perminus Wainaina, the Managing Partner and Head of Recruitment at Corporate Staffing Services.

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