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Tips on how to answer the most common job interview questions

By Davis Muli | 3 years ago | 3 min read

With unemployment rates in Kenya almost doubling up, you for sure do not want to mess up a chance that could change your job status. Most of the entry level jobs require you to ace the interview because definitely you do not have much experience.

So, how do you ensure that you stand out from the rest in an interview? While some job interviewers take a fairly unusual approach to interview questions, most job interviews involve an exchange of common interview questions and answers.

Consider this list your interview question study guide;

  • "Tell me a little about yourself."
  • This is one of the most common interview questions. It forms a basis for the recruiter to indulge you more. Keep it professional when answering this question. You don’t need to share personal details. Your answer to this question is your opportunity to share with the interviewer whatever you think is important about you in their hiring decision. Keep it short but precise.

  • “Why should we hire you?”
  • This is another differentiation question. What they want to know is what makes you stand out from the rest. Try to talk about them and how you’ll help them. What will be better for them if they hire you? What will you improve for them? And show you’ve done your research. Make it clear that you know what this position involves, and you’re ready to perform the tasks.

  • “What are some of your weaknesses?”
  • What most recruiters aim to discover with this kind of question is your ability to be honest. Truth be told, we are not perfect. No one is. So, I highly recommend picking something skill-based, not personality-based. But here is the catch, depending on your industry, pick one weakness and explain how is it a weakness but do not fail to show them what you are doing to ensure that you compliment your weakness. Let them feel that you are aware of your weakness but also you got it under control.

  • “What are your salary expectations?”
  • For entry level job seekers, this question is one of the hardest. When you think about it, your answer can knock you out of the contest for the job if you overprice yourself. DON’T say a number. Stand your ground and tell them you don’t have a number in mind yet, or aren’t sure. If they pressure you, just tell them “since you will be dedicating your time in the company, a fair compensation on the same bearing in mind the economic or cost of living and enough motivation to keep you going” would be enough.

  • "Tell me about a time you disagreed with a decision. What did you do?"
  • It simple, we all can’t agree on one thing. Just like the saying goes, let’s agree to disagree, it's what you do when you disagree that matters. Every organization/company wants employees who can be honest. Therefore, show that you were professional. Show that you raised your concerns in a productive way. If you have an example that proves you can effect change, great -- and if you don't, show that you can support a decision even though you think it's wrong (as long as it's not unethical, immoral, etc.).

  • “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
  • If asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals, but consider this: A hiring manager wants to know a) if you've set realistic expectations for your career, b) if you have ambition (a.k.a., this interview isn't the first time you're considering the question), and c) if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines.

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