HOW TO ANSWER JOB INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

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job interview

Just after graduation from college, I started to apply for jobs in different companies. My curriculum vitae looked so good because I had paid a CV writing company to review my CV. In few months I started receiving invitations from different companies, requesting an interview with me. My first interview was with a ceramics manufacturing company. I prepared for the interview; read about the company, and their goals. With this, I thought I was ready. The day came, and I arrived at the venue thirty minutes to the time. We were only six invited – five perfectly dressed males in their early thirties, and a young lady. I could tell from her composure that she was shy.  The interview began, and I was the third person to be interviewed.

I was called in by the secretary. I walked in with a smile, greeted the interview panelists and immediately sat on the seat I assumed was reserved for the candidates – this was my first mistake. One of the interviewers, a lady, probably in her late 30s went on with the interview. “Please introduce yourself?” So I went on to answer. My name is James Davis. I reside at number 52 ring road Abuja; I am the first child of my parents. I am a graduate of mechanical engineering from Federal University of Technology Nigeria. I am hard-working and skilful in the operations of machines. I love to read and surf the internet. I was then asked a couple of other questions, and finally, was asked to take my leave. “We will get back to you” were her final words. Till this very moment, I am yet to hear from them. Since then, I have attended several other interviews, and I have come to realize that, my first interview with the Ceramics Company was a total flop!

There are techniques to which you should answer interview questions. They help to guide your answers. I have practiced these techniques, and so have others with whom I have shared these techniques with. And the results are quantifiable. Many of them, including myself, have gotten jobs of our dreams, by applying these simple techniques in preparing and answering job interview questions.

It would be paramount to state here however, that, when preparing for an interview, you must take out time to research about the company. Learn everything you need to know about the company, its core values; vision and mission; what they produce; the production process(s); the raw materials used; their competitors; factors that affect their operations and sales; board of directors; location of the company’s branches; and everything else you think is important. There was a particular job interview I attended. It was with a company that produces animal feeds. During the test, we were asked to; draw a flow chart of the company production process, list four diseases that affect animals, and list three major competitors of the company. How on earth was I supposed to know all that! But thank goodness, I had worked in a chicken feed store prior to the test. So I was able to write a few answers to the questions. So you see, it is wise to do an in-depth research of the company.

The following steps will guide you when answering job interview questions.

May we meet you?

This is usually the very first question you will be asked in any job interview. Your response at this stage is very important. It is an opportunity to sale yourself and proves how suitable you are for the job. And if answered wrongly could make the interviewer discredit you as a potential candidate even before going further with other questions.

In answering this question, there is usually a ‘formula’ experts and human resource managers advice you use. It is simply tagged, EES – Education, Experience and Skills. Planning your answer using this formula will let the interviewer know that you are knowledgeable, and your worth would be clearly seen. Here is an example. ‘My name is James Mark, I graduated with a first class bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Technology, Nigeria. I went on to obtain a master’s degree in information technology. I am a certified computer user, fully registered with Nigerian Association of Computer Engineers. In 2014, shortly after my youth service, I joined Xyz Company, one of the leading software companies, as a back-end engineer. My duties were to rectify all glitches on our android applications, build Apps and websites for the company.

As   a result of this, I was able to increase further my coding skills. I learnt CSS, html, and java language. My people skills have also increase due to my involvement in handling customers complain channeled through our App support platform. Playing with codes at leisure is one of my hobbies, and I love to create fantastic apps that make our daily activities stress free and give customers delight.’

The point is to be creative when answering this question, try, as much as possible to relate any past experience to the job you are applying for.

The job demands experience in accounting, do you have any relevant to this?

Firstly, when applying for any role, your CV must be tailored to the particular role you are applying for. Most often than not, most recruiters use ATS- Automated Tracking System. This software scans every submitted CV for keywords related to the job title and specification. Some many CV do not get pass this stage because the required keywords are missing from their CV. Getting called up for an interview demands that you have the right keywords featured in your CV.

So, assuming you are a fresh graduate, with no industrial experience, how do you answer this question? It is technical but simple. So here is sample answer.

‘Luckily, I have a bit of experience handling the cooperative fund of a community association I belonged to. I was the custodian of the financial record. In helping me carry out my task effectively, I created a financial report with the help of an excel spreadsheet, where I recorded all incomes and expenditures in credit and debit columns respectively. This helped me to keep track, and have complete foresight of all financial activities of the association. I recall one of the members said, since the inception of the association, they have never had a clear and concise financial record before now.’

Here, the candidate has not worked for a company before, but he used his personal experience and relates it to the present job prospect. This can be used for virtually every job role you are applying for, you just need to be smart and think deeply.

Why do you want to leave your present job?

You could say, `my present job is a fantastic one, in short I really enjoy working with the company, because it provides me that opportunity to develop my skills. However, there is a need to conquer new ground, change environment and meet new and different set of people. In doing so, we get to think differently, and up our skills. My interest in this company is that, it offers diversity, and provides one an opportunity to fully express himself at the job, and offer growth in all aspect.’

Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?

This question is usually asked to know if the candidate loves moving between jobs at every opportunity. Your call is to prove them wrong. Here is a sample answer.

I am a career kind of a person, who wish to build his skills in a fast pace industry that offer growth opportunity. It is my dream to develop enough knowledge and technical know-how, to enable me handle more managerial roles and subsequently retire as a consultant to firms that would require my skills.

Why do you think you are the best to fit for the role?

Answering this question needs you to pour out your strong desire or passion as you may call it. Are you passionate about the job? The HR already knows you are qualified – so are those other candidates. They also know you have the experience and skill- likewise other candidates. So your selling point here should be your passion. Here’s a sample answer for an engineering role.

Growing up with both parents, then ten years of age, I would pick up gadgets and appliances around the house, disassemble them, and reassemble them back. I could remember my dad calling me an engineer. To me, it was fun watching the fan rotate as I pass electricity through the motor coil. It was indeed amazing. As I grew up, I wanted more. I wanted to learn how electric current causes fan to rotate; how fuel is converted to electricity; how radio waves are transmitted, because they all seemed to be magic at the time. So for me, engineering is my passion. It gives me joy to be able to apply engineering to solve challenges of life.

This sample answer alone has proven beyond thought that you are not only interested in that particular job, but that you have passion for the job. And passion wins over hard work any day, any time.

Perhaps you have other job sample questions you would like us to answer or guide you through answering them, just write them in the comment section below, and you will surely get a response from us. Don’t forget to share this great tips with your friends, they will appreciate you for it, and don’t forget to hit the like button if you enjoyed this article.

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