7 Common Job Interview Questions With Approach

There is a list of job interview questions that most Human Resource Managers ask when conducting a job interview. Though, there are variations to the way these questions are asked but they all send same message. Therefore, To be ready for a  job interview is to take note of the following;

  1. Having an idea of job interview questions to be asked,
  2. Preparing for the answers,
  3. Building your confidence and
  4. Being emotionally ready.

Though there is no iron clad rule on what a job interviewer should ask, but there are common job interview questions to expect when preparing for a job interview.

The reason for this post is to list the 7 most common Job interview questions and the intentions behind each question. This will act as a guide to help you construct the answers that will fit the interviewer’s intention.

Without wasting much of your time, let us dive into these job interview questions and ways to approach them.

Question 1: Tell us about yourself

This is one of the job interview questions that you will always meet whenever you attend a job interview. Most times, this question precedes every other interview questions. So, it is always an opportunity to create a very strong impression that will make the interviewer curious to know more.

Note that “Tell us about yourself” is an open ended question that allows you to define and develop the tone of the interview by saying unique things that will make the interviewer see potential in you.

Therefore, it is wrong to read your resume verbatim or trying to say things in your resume. In that context, some interviewer will even ask, “Tell me something that’s not on your resume”

The idea behind this question is for you to state characteristics and achievements that set you aside from other candidates. You may find out that other candidates have same or better qualifications than you. Consequently, you must state mind blowing characters that may motivate the interviewer to hire you.

So, its not time to tell how you love playing football except you are applying for a football coaching job.

In a concise way, state your qualifications, skills acquired, experiences, challenges and achievements. Again, the charisma with which you say it also matters. Never expect the interviewer to figure out that you are smart. You will have to prove that through your countenances.

However, it is wrong to brag that you are the best.

Question 2: Why do you want to work here?

The interviewer wants to hear two things from this question, 1) your interest in the company and 2) your interest in the position you are applying for.

That being said, there is no way you can show your interest in a company if you don’t know anything about them or what they do. Therefore, the first step to a successful job interview is a background research of the company.

In that regards, you must get yourself acquainted with the vision, mission, goals, objectives, values, products/services, leadership, culture etc.

Again, the company will want to know your personal goals and will want to see how it fits with company goals.

In that case, the job interviewer is waiting to see how you will want to build with them. The common mistake most candidates make, is that they only focus on only what they can get from the company and not what to contribute. In fact, try to present what you can offer to the company in any slightest chance you have.

This provokes the interest of the interviewer and portrays you to be potentially useful to achieve their goals.

On another note, you will also have to tell what motivated you to apply for the position, and also try to make them believe you want to build your career around the job. In essence, no employer wants someone who will leave so soon or who applied because he/she has no other option.

In summary, state what your interest in the company or are, state what interests you in the job position and then link it to your own personal interests and goals.

Question 3: Why should we hire you?

If you can make it to a job interview, it means you are qualified for the job and so are others that came with you. However, the Job interviewer wants to pick the best candidate amongst you.

So, the question, “why should we hire you?”, “what makes you the best candidate for the job?” or “what makes you unique?” are questions that is thrown at you for you to use your own mouth and market yourself.

In that case, the job interviewer is asking you to convince him/her that you can do the work and be a great tool for the company. This you can do by bringing in experiences and skills.

Note that if you applied for a position, that other candidates will have similar or same skills with you. For example, if you applied for a hospital work, mentioning that you have “Patient care” skill is not anything new but expected from you.

Therefore, focus more energy on other skills that you posses that is rare and as well crucial for the job position. The idea is to tell them qualities or experiences that is unique from other candidates.

Nevertheless, it is also important to mention some skills and experiences in your industry, special awards, accolades and problems you have solved in the past. This will help show that you are competent in your family.

Question 4: What are your salary expectations?

This question is one of the most tricky job interview questions you will get during a job interview. Giving a wrong answer may cost you a job you have worked so hard for. Its tricky because you don’t know what the company is willing to offer for the said position.

Consequently, if you go higher the expectation, you will be tagged too expensive. On other hand, if you go below the range, the HR may think you are too cheap and has low self esteem which is also bad.

That being said, how can one tackle the question of “what are your salary expectations?” and what is the interviewer asking from you?

The job interviewer wants to know the worth of your services in monetary terms. Will you be so meek to accept just anything? Some companies may want to take that opportunity and offer to underpay you, especially when you have done well in other aspects of the interview – I guess nobody wants that.

In that case, before going for an interview, you must research from employees of the company what the salary scale is like. In addition, you will have to know what other companies and paying for similar positions. There are some useful resources that specialize in salary comparison such as Payscale.com, Salary.com and Glassdoor.

However, to know that salary differs from place to place. Even different cities in same country pay differently for similar positions. So, research should be location specific.

After your research, when answering the question about your salary expectation, it is advisable that you do not just mention a discreet figure right away. If possible, try to avoid the question or give answer that will be vague.

You may start by letting them know you are after the value you will deliver, growing career wise, pursuing your interest and finally be rewarded for that.

Example, “I will rather not mention a figure as i believe that with my skill and proven input, the company will be fair enough to reward me handsomely”.

With something like this, you are intriguing them with a value you cant wait to add to the company. Secondly, you are letting them know you are confident and not too cheap.

However, most HR will insist you mention a specific figure. This is where your research will come into play.

It is wise to give a range of the salary offered by different companies for similar positions. But, make sure that the lower limit of the range is something you are ready to work with.

Question 5: What do you wish to achieve in few years to come?

This question can also be framed as, “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years”. You will be wondering what a Job interviewer will do with what you want in the future.

I remember my first job interview, i was blabbing on how i want to get my masters and learn programming as a second degree. I thought i was just being sincere to discuss about my passion and my future plans, not knowing i was already failing the interview.

So, what does the HR really want to hear when S/He throws this question to you?

The answer is simple, the HR want to know if you have similar goals with the company, if you will be motivated to grow a career with them and finally, if you are planning to stay longer.

Therefore, your answer should be an assurance that you are interested in the job and will wish to stay longer. Any other plans you have like going back to school or starting your own business should stay buried in you.

This is because no company will want to hire someone who will want to leave as soon as there is a better option.

So, Your response to “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is your opportunity to sell the interview on your commitment to the career path and the position.

Question 6: Describe your role in your current job

This is one of the most straightforward question to get in a job interview. Though, people often construct the answers in the way that does not satisfy the interest of the HR.

So, what actually is the Human Resource Manager looking for when he/she asks for your current job?

First, not everything listed in a resume is true. Most job seekers pay for a professional resume writing that is enticing but have no idea of what it contains. So many employers knows this and will want you to convince them by proving that you actually own the resume.

Second, the interviewer may want to use this medium to let you tell them emphatically how you love your job. Therefore, when answering this question, it is better not to keep on repeating your daily activities. So, focusing on the results, your inputs, challenges and solutions you encounters in your current job will be a better approach to answering the question.

Third,  the interviewer may want to know if their is an experience or activity in your current job that may be needed in the new position you are applying for. Consequently, you will try as much as possible to relate your previous roles to what the company will benefit from hiring you. Be concise in picking the points and never waste too much time on any, If the examiner will need clarification from any, he/she will call you back to it.

Question 7: Why did you leave your last job?

Like we said before, no company will want to hire someone who will just leave after a couple of months without any good reason. Also, no company will want to employ someone who fought with the previous boss or who was dismissed because of integrity issues.

Therefore, the interviewer is asking this question to understand if you left on a good note or you were compelled to leave. Whatsoever is your reason, you will have to construct it in a skillful way that will not raise a red flag to you being employable.

So, what is the best approach to explaining how you left your previous job?

First, you will start by insinuating you have a wonderful relationship with your ex boss which did not lead to fight. In other words, you will make it appear that you really enjoyed working with them but have chose this because it is your dream job towards your career path. The best way to portray you had a good working relationship in your previous work place is by adding one higher staff as a referee.

Second, never talk bad about your previous job. This will raise a red flag and curiosity on your work values and ethics. Instead, highlight the good aspects of the company, your accomplishments and good times. Keep the negative aspects to yourself. Let the reason why you left be something that is totally your fault like change of the management team or simply because you want to try another career path.

Summary

What you must take home is that everybody that is going for interview with is as qualified or more qualified than you. Therefore, do not go for an interview and expect the interviewer to figure out that you are smart and hardworking.

This you can achieve by the way you constructively address their questions. Often than not, the job interview questions revolves around these 7 points.

Its an advantage if you can do a thorough background study on the company and prepare answers to these seven questions before entering the interview room.

Though, some other HR will develop other questions but it will look similar to these seven.

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