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Common interview questions and answers
  • Feb. 23, 2021, 1:16 p.m.

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Common interview questions and answers

In this article we will be exploring the most common interview questions and answers.

Tell me about yourself

This is usually the first question you will face. Keep in mind, the interview panel already have your CV/Resume and have some knowledge about your professional experience. Use this opportunity to highlight important parts of your CV and demonstrate your confidence and good communication skills. 

Use your CV to guide this response, keep the answer short but focused on areas that you shine in the most. Look your panel in the face when you speak to them. 

What are your strengths and weaknesses

Another legendary interview question, this question has been asked at every interview i have attended since my firs job. Here you want to focus on at leas two strengths and one weakness. Make your strengths major and use examples to illustrate. 

if you are a hard-worker, mention a time you worked hard and how that benefited your company and colleagues

When it comes to you weaknesses, do not try to be smart about it or avoid answering the question. Be honest, interviewers can tell when you are dodging the question and will appreciate a little honesty. Focus on work related weaknesses, now personal or irrelevant weaknesses. Use a real life example and make sure you end the question with a positive note like: "this is how I am working to improve on this area". 

Why are you the best person for the job?

This is a good place to blow your horn once again, in a respectful and humble way of course. A good way to start would be "I am sure all the applicants are very capable individuals, but what I bring to the table is:"

Then proceed to list very clearly the benefits that are unique to you. Points based on education, experience are not as strong as personal traits of character. For example - at this point, everyone competing for the job has the education and right experience. This is the time to focus on personal, individual traits. 

Tell us about your achievements and successes 

Try not to repeat or re-iterate achievements already mentioned. In the interview preparation, make sure you have positive points to highlight for every possible question. This question specifically calls for a top achievement. This is where you want to mention instances where you have won an award, or been selected for a prestigious nomination or prize. Something tangible you can show. 

Why do you want to leave your current job

Sometimes they will ask, why have you left your past jobs - even before this specific job you are currently at. Managers do not like to hire people that job hop, but job hopping is good for career growth and you personally. 

If you have been retrenched, mention it. Personal and family reasons are good for this type of questions, better than saying you left for career growth or you got a better offer. 

Common interview questions and answers

How to do you deal with stress / stressful situations

How you perform under pressure is something your potential employer is going to be interested in. However you answer this question, make sure you give decent examples. Highlight times when you have worked under pressure and how you performed. If you have outcomes like - successful project outcomes, delivery you can highlight to show that you were successful, mention it. The more examples you give the better. It helps the interviewer understand what you are saying and gives credibility to your points.

Are you a team-player

You will get this question on one way or another, but basically the interview panel members want to understand if you are able to work in a team. Give examples of being a team member and team leader - basically demonstrating your ability to play in multiple roles of a team as required. It is just as important to be a team leader as it is to be a team member. Also how you answer this question depends on the job itself and its requirements. If you are going for a management position, it might be important to highlight how you do well as a team-leader, but also a team player within your organisation vertically and horizontally. You are still a team-player dealing with your boss or follow managers and reaching organisational KPIs, but you are a team-leader when it comes to you team you are managing. 

How you deal with conflict

How do you manage situations of disagreement, also make sure to include real examples. You can use more than one example to demonstrate a common way of dealing with conflict. 

What are your salary expectations

This is a tricky question that will get you in to some sort of trouble, irrespective of how you answer it. So I always try not to answer this question, by saying "my expectations are negotiable based on the budget for the job and my current salary"

In reality, they will still ask for your previous payslip and can only pay you what they have available within their budget, so it does not matter what you say here.