The journey into the world of employment can take different forms. For some, it can be easy while for others it might be very difficult. Finding that particular job that resonates with you; that brings out the nest in you; that makes you be on top of your game at all time is not child’s play.
Job interviews are critical parts of this journey. In some cases, you might have to appear at different stages of interview – first interview, second interview and third interview. Even more in some cases. The higher the level of the interview process the more difficult the questions you are asked. And your ability to tactfully answer these questions will put you in a vantage position over other interviewees.
It is important to note that apart from the regular interview questions, some other questions may pop up that are not even related to the job you are applying for. Sometimes interviewers do this to see how you can think on the spot and make decisions when you have a short time to decide. And also know that it is one of the ways to separate the wheat from the chaff.
So what are some of the hard questions you may likely be asked at your next interview?
Let us consider 10 of such questions.
1. How did you or will you deal with a non-performing colleague? This is a human relationship question. The essence is to test your ability to work with people and be a team player. Definitely there will be times that colleagues fail in their duties and your own work is affected, but how do you deal with such situation? Tell the panel that you will find out if all is well with the colleague provided everything necessary to do his/her work is available. Tell them you will ask if there is nothing disturbing this colleague and if anything, how may you help so that his/her work and yours does not suffer.
2. Describe your relationship with your last boss or supervisor: The truth is that you can never have a perfect boss or supervisor. There will always be areas where you disagree with him/her. And these disagreements sometimes can be awry and leave much to be desired. However, you don’t have to tell the panel how you hated your boss or supervisor, because doing so will give an impression of how you will be relating with your new boss or supervisor should you be hired.
3. How do you get along with older or younger colleagues? The world of work is dynamic and you will meet different people with different ideologies and age ranges. Your colleagues could be older or younger. Except if there are laid down policies that stipulate how to relate in terms of addressing each other, for example as it is in some corporate organisations where they address each other by their first names, then how you relate and get along becomes critical. Mention that respect is a virtue that you have (hopefully you do), and that giving everyone their dues is how you deal with people, whether they are younger or older.
4. What is your main weakness? This is a tricky question and many interviewees fail it because they unwittingly give answers that focus on their inability to deliver on the job. Remember that always, during interview focus should always be about your strength and that is what you should always project. So in a situation like this tell them you have tendencies to over work. Or that you can’t stand it when targets are not met. This way you have turned ‘weakness into strength’ by giving such reply.
5. What salary do you expect? Many job applicants fail at this stage of the interview. Many make the mistake of talking money at the first stage of the interview. Doing this may project you as being money conscious. Do all you can at this stage to show what value and how you will add that value to the company. But when it gets to the salary part, be careful not to be the first to mention a figure, because you may mention an amount lower than what the company is planning to pay. You should wait and let them give you a range that they are willing to pay and then pick a figure that is slightly above the median amount. But if you are not sure, you can tell them you will get back to them so you can go and do your research to know industry standard as it relates to the job you are applying for. You can do an online search.
6. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Another very knavish question that requires some level of dexterity in answering. Interviewees who are not skilled will fall into this trap easily. When you answer this question you must show how this job will help you build a career. Don’t say you are going to switch careers and move on to something else that might suggest to the interviewers that you are not committed and focused. Mention where you see yourself in five years and how this job is key to take you there, not the money, but the challenge, experience and opportunity that comes from doing such a job.
7. What kind of a leader are you? A novice might be caught napping here. Someone who does not know that leadership is not about the position but responsibility will goof with this question. Basically, there are two types of leaders (but further breakdown exist), autocratic or democratic. An autocratic leader does not listen to team members. He just issues commands and everyone must obey without questioning. But a democratic leader is one who carries team member along; listens to their views and opinions and then accepts when he makes mistakes and makes amends. He also does not arrogate all the glory to himself but acknowledges the efforts made by other team members. So this question is seeking to find out if you are a team player. So watch your steps before you slip.
8. If you find money or any other valuable within work premises that the owner cannot be traced, what will you do? Before anything, you should know this is a question about your integrity. Can you be trusted is what they want to know (Hopefully you can be). Tell them since the money is not yours and the owner cannot be traced immediately you will hand it over to the company for keeps in case the owner shows up later, or as the case may be, hand it over to the police. And if you have an experience that can back that point give it.
9. Why should I hire you? Many job applicants freeze at this question. Naturally you would have thought that the interviewer should know why you are there facing the panel in the first place, so why the question “Why should I hire you?” You are expected to show the panel that you have the necessary set of skills and experience to deliver on the job. That is why you should have done your homework to know what the job entails and then go there and tell them you are well equipped with the skills and experience you have garnered from past jobs you have done.
10. Why do you want to work here? “Why do you want to work here” is similar to “Why should I hire you”, but they are not the same. At this question of why you want to work here, you are simply to tell the panel of your admiration for the organisation. Point out some noble projects they do, some CSR projects, how they treat their staff with high regard and make working environment conducive and how their activities are helping to make life better for people and so on.
There you have ten of some of the hard interview questions that you may be asked during your next interview. Remember that the interview session is not primarily set up to look for ways to disqualify you, but for you to proof to the interviewer that you are qualified. I wish you all the best at your next interview.