Preparing for an interview can be tedious. It is normal to feel anxious. But in addition to that, there are top questions that you will be asked during the interview. And you may feel very nervous about how to give the right answers to the questions.
These questions will determine whether or not you will eventually get the job. But it becomes harder when you don’t even know the kind of questions that will be thrown at you during the interview.
In this article, we’ll run through the most asked questions and how you can answer them during interviews. And by the time you’re done reading, you’ll be fully ready to face any interview questions that may seem tough.
The questions here cover all the questions that potential employers usually ask to test a candidate’s behaviour, work ethic, and lots more.
Also, always remember that your confidence is the first interview question that will be thrown at you. So, don’t go to the interview feeling shy or scared. No matter the question you are asked, answer confidently. Your confidence goes a long way. For more on this, check out this 10 body language tips for your next interviews
Let’s look at the most common job interview questions known as the Traditional Interview Questions
These types of questions are for you to sell your skills and value to your potential employer. Most times, the interviewer uses the traditional interview questions to begin the interview with you. At this point, use this opportunity to give them good background information about yourself and what you can contribute to the growth of the company.
The most common questions under this category are listed below:
- Tell me about yourself?
- What do you consider to be your strength?
- Can you tell us about your weaknesses?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Why should we hire you?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- What don’t you like about your current job? Or what do you like the least about your current job?
- How would your boss describe you?
- What did you do when you were not satisfied with your performance on the job?
- How were you able to handle working under close supervision?
- How did you handle a disagreement at work?
- How were you able to solve a problem at work?
- If you had a bad boss, what would you do?
- What is a good work environment for you?
- How would you describe failure?
1. Tell me about yourself?
This is a very common question. But what it means is different from what it appears to mean. It doesn’t mean that the interviewer wants to know your favourite food, colour, movie or why you prefer Beyonce to Rihanna. The interviewer is simply interested in knowing your level of experience, competence, and the value you want to add to the company.
The wrong Answer:
My name is Jacob King. I am a 26-year-old investment banker from Niger state. I started working in Benin before moving to Ibadan in June. My family lives in Lagos. I am the third child among five siblings. My father is late. I attended XYZ primary school…
The right answer:
I am an investment banker with over four years of work experience in helping people achieve their financial goals. I have served in many capacities as an investment banker. This has given me a lot of exposure in the investment banking industry. I am looking for a role that allows me to put in my years of experience to the growth of the company as a whole.
2. Tell me about your strengths
This is another simple but tricky question. In answering this question, you should consider the value you are bringing to the organization concerning your job position. You should also add your strong work ethic. These are the things the interviewer wants to hear when they ask you to talk about your strengths.
As a dedicated civil engineer, I have demonstrated my passion for completing my projects before the deadline. I also strive to work in harmony with my colleagues. Also, I always do my job diligently to the satisfaction of my esteemed clients.
3. What are your weaknesses?
This question can throw you off the balance if you don’t understand it. In answering this question, be truthful. But don’t ruin your chances of being hired for the job. This is why you should share a genuine weakness and how you are improving yourself in that regard. See a sample answer below:
I prefer working from home to working at the office. I feel I am more productive at home. However, I have come to realize that working at the office doesn’t necessarily hinder my productivity. Instead, I have been the one refusing to leave my comfort zone. This is why I am challenging myself to enjoy my stay at the office because I can see that you have also created a peaceful physical environment for your staff.
4. Why are you leaving your current job?
Be careful when answering this question. You should give reasons that will not make the interviewer see you as someone simply searching for a higher amount of money. You should also not say negative things about your employer. Look for the positive aspects of your current job and the positive aspect of the job you are applying for.
While my current job has given me experience, it offers me limited growth in my career. I am looking to explore new areas in my career. I am also looking to conquer more challenges.
5. Why should we hire you?
The hiring manager wants to know why you are the best fit for the job. This is why you should avoid talking about your problems here.
The Wrong Answer:
You should hire me because I am in desperate need of a job to pay for my siblings’ school fees.
You should hire me because I am tired of staying at home after graduating from university. And I need this job to give me experience.
The Right Answer:
I have the adequate years of experience needed to excel in the position. I have also enhanced my skills by taking online courses to broaden my knowledge in the field. Testimonials of my exploits are also available for you to go through.
Or, another way is…
As a fresh graduate, I can perform diligently well because the knowledge I have gained is not rusty. I have also been able to gain insight into the duties expected of the candidate because of my volunteer experience. I am highly interested in being offered the opportunity to bring my skills and training to good use for your organization.
6. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
This question is also tricky. What the employer wants to know with this question is how long you plan to stay in the position. Also, you should avoid talking about how you want to be promoted and get paid higher.
What you should highlight here are the plans you have in growing a career in the company. Talk about how you want to be able to maximize your skills and value in the company over a considerable amount of time. Talk about how you want to have achieved a significant impact on the company because you are aware of their mission statement and objectives.
I have seen the company’s goals and objectives. This is in line with my career aims. For this reason, I intend to use my skills in the development of the organization in a way that helps my career flourish. This is because the company’s overall development also yields personal development.
7. What don’t you like about your current job?
In answering this question, you need to consider:
- Your work relationship with co-workers
- Your current salary
- Your challenges in your current job
You should not say it is because your current job pays little compared to what you will receive if you get hired.
You should also not narrate the unpleasant moments you’ve had with your colleagues or boss.
You should discuss your challenges in your current job. But in a way that does not paint your current employer in a bad light.
The position was a learning point for me. I have learnt a lot of things working as a personal assistant to the MD. But I felt constrained by the little room for career development. I have intentions of taking on responsibilities that will allow me to pursue a steady career in marketing. This is why I am interested in a new job position.
8. How would your last boss describe you?
In answering this question, you should consider some things. But remember that it pays to be honest. The things you should consider are:
- The level of co-operation you had with your boss
- The key roles you performed well on the job
- How your boss assessed your performance from time to time
But you should avoid:
- Saying negative things about your last boss
- Bragging about your achievements
- Talking about the issues you had with your boss
See some sample answers below:
My boss would say I pay attention to detail. I am a very detailed person. I don’t like to cut corners.
My boss would say that I am a creative thinker. I always approach problems from a creative angle. That was something he usually talked about whenever he wanted to discuss me at a meeting.
Soft Skills Job Questions & Answers
Some questions fall under another important category of questions commonly asked in a job interview. For simplicity, they are known as Behavioural Interview Questions.
They are asked to know about your soft skills. Your soft skills simply mean your positive or good character traits that help you relate well and communicate better with people. Your soft skills are very important.
Hard skills are the value of your qualifications and certifications. Soft skills are your personal qualities that influence your ability to deliver well on the job. This is why you should not joke with your soft skills. NOTE that the traditional interview questions are questions that test your hard skills.
See the questions in this category below:
9. What did you do when you were not satisfied with your performance on the job?
This question is to know your level of commitment to your job. It is also to know how you solve difficult situations or unpleasant situations regarding your job.
To simply put it, you should see this question as an opportunity to describe your attitude to your job. Feel free to describe your attitude to your job as positively as possible.
Also, make sure that the example you are sharing is relevant to the job position you are applying for.
Now, think of answering this question this way:
At a point as the Public Relations officer in a previous organization, I realized that I was not delivering the right promotional content to fully position the brand’s image in a more rewarding way. This is why I took my time to study the necessary content. I also took the time to go through the performance of the competition. I worked more strategically and got the adequate tools I needed to deliver a more quality and stronger brand image for the company.
10. How were you able to handle working under close supervision?
This question is usually asked to determine how well you can work in a team. Also, it is to know how you can relate well with a superior and your ability to work independently.
To answer this question, you have to be honest about how the situation was. Also, share what you learned from the situation. Then, share how you finally handled the situation.
I have worked as the Assistant Content Specialist in an organization. I had to report directly to the Content Specialist. I had to report per article. And he would watch and cross-check everything until he was sure that there were no errors. This affected my performance. I was closely being monitored and checked. So, I spoke to him about it. He told me to work on a project by myself. After I delivered the project to him, he was impressed by how I handled it without close supervision.
11. How did you handle a disagreement at work?
This question is asked to know the way you handle conflict. This is because most employers are looking for someone who can handle a disagreement well. Remember that this is about your behaviour. This is why you don’t necessarily have to lie. But don’t be defensive about it.
Share your experience. Share how you handled the situation. Share the lessons you learnt from the experience. Most importantly, don’t say negative things about yourself.
I was asked to write a video content of over a thousand words. I came up with 600 words. It was rejected. But I knew that a video content of over a thousand words was not going to be effective enough. What we needed was something concise and straight-to-the-point.
So, I explained to my superior that we should go ahead with the 600 words. I disagreed with him. But I gave him good reasons. I told him that the video would do better with less than a thousand words. He eventually agreed to that. The video performed better than our expectations.
12. How were you able to solve a problem at work?
This question is to know if you are the type that ignores a problem or you are the type that finds a way to solve a problem. This is not about your problems with co-workers. This is about your level of commitment to your job. It is only a committed person that can identify a problem and think of solutions to that problem.
See a sample answer below:
As the social media manager in a previous organization, I realized that the content on the sponsored posts was not getting the right attention. I needed attractive content to boost the number of followers on the page. So, I spoke with the content specialist about it. After sharing ideas, we eventually decided to use particular content for the sponsored posts. This boosted the number of followers on our official page.
Let’s also take a look at another category of job interview questions. In this category, the questions are asked to know how your attitude to your job affects your performance rate or level of performance. Sometimes, the interviewer wants to know your opinion on a particular issue within the office environment.
Take a look at the questions below:
13. If you had a bad boss, what would you do?
Don’t be in a hurry to answer this question. Take your time. You should not answer under pressure. See the wrong answer to give below:
If I had a bad boss, it is none of my business. As long as I get my salary at the end of the month, then I’m fine.
This answer is wrong because it shows you are not interested in the job apart from the money. You are describing yourself as an indifferent person which is wrong. All organizations want passionate people – people who want to make a difference.
Another wrong answer to give is:
If I had a bad boss, I will resign. I don’t think I can cope with that.
This answer is also wrong because it portrays you as someone who gives up easily. You are only ruining your chances of getting employed.
The right answer:
If I had a bad boss, I would try to understand what my boss needs from me. It may be an improvement on my end that will make the difference. I would also ask my colleagues how they relate to him or her. I believe that we are all human. We all have our days when we are not in the best of moods. I would try to see my boss when he or she is in the best of moods and get the most out of the situation.
14. What is a good work environment for you?
The interviewer asks this question to know if you will fit well into their organization. Prepare well for this question by researching the company size, number of workers, and so on. Also, research on the company’s relationship with employees. Then answer in a way that shows that you are ready to start working in the company.
What I consider a good work environment is a place where I can grow independently and on a team. A good work environment should value teamwork and give room for people to grow individually. This is why I applied for this job because I have seen that your organization provides this same environment for your staff.
15. How would you describe failure?
To answer this question, you have to understand what the company also regards as a failure. This means that your idea of failure should align with the company’s idea of failure. Remember that you have to be honest. Don’t lie. Also, don’t make your idea of failure seem bogus.
Failure to me is when I have been unable to meet up with my duties. I also consider failure to be when my performance has not contributed to the overall growth and development of the organization.
The questions in this article are the top commonly asked job interview questions in 2020. These questions will help you perform well at your job interview. Always remember that your confidence also matters. So be confident and you are good to go.