Interview questions and answers overview video
After searching for job vacancies on relevant job search websites, knowing how to answer Interview questions to fill that job vacancy is the best way to prepare for an interview.
Reaching the job interview stage is one big opportunity for you to prove to your employer that you’re the best fit for the job, but……..
The hard work isn’t over yet. You need solid preparation that will give you the very best chance to landing that job.
A solid preparation comes with avoiding the most common job interview mistake and taking the time to practice the most common interview questions and answers you will most likely be asked (of course you can’t read the interviewers mind).
Knowing these interview questions and answers can eliminate a lot of interview stress, so I have put together the top 63 commonly asked interview questions and answers you can respond with, to help you ace your next job interview.
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Craft incredible JOB-WINNING answers to even the trickiest questions
In this article you’ll learn how to craft your answers to 5 types of interview question:
- Classical interview questions and answers,
- Experience check interview questions and answers,
- Behavioral interview questions and answers,
- Competency interview questions and answers,
- Trap questions/brain teasers (also known as analytical/critical thinking interview questions and answers)
According to experts at BigInterview Behavioral and competency interviewing yield a predictive validity of 55 percent and are gaining greater acceptance by trained interviewers because past performance is the most reliable indicator of future results, especially when it is tied to the specific competencies for the position.
63 Job Interview Questions And Answers In Nigeria
You don’t need to memorize these answers; you just need to consider how you’ll respond. The more you prepare, the more confident you’ll feel during your next job interview.
(Just click on any of the questions you want answered and you’ll be taken to that part in a drop down)
Tell me a little about yourself
This is an open-ended job interview question and it can take other forms like: ‘Who are you?’, ‘Describe yourself’ etc.
This interview question is simply asking you to say things about yourself that are relevant to the vacant position you wish to occupy.
Also, this question is asking you to sell yourself in a minute or two to your prospective employer.So you need to talk about your best traits, experiences and accomplishments that are relevant to the job.
For example, if you’re being interviewed for a marketing job, you could respond with:
“I’m an experienced marketing specialist with extensive knowledge of CRM and CTA techniques. I have crafted out comprehensive marketing plans for small scale businesses and I’ve created educational programs for these business owners. I’ve always improved myself to learn cost effective methods that will boost productivity. My goals are to complete my……… (mention a professional exam in the marketing line if you’ve enrolled in one) and broaden my knowledge and experience”.
If it is a teaching job you could respond with:
“I so much have passion for teaching, I have the inclination to teach and I have been putting this into play throughout my university education by organizing tutorials, etc. I know how to determine the best teaching technique so as to carry my students along, reaching into their minds as I impart knowledge”.
Don’t fall into the trap of giving irrelevant answers like: ‘My name is Alex Etebefia, I graduated from FUTA, I’m from a very humble background, and enh, we are six in my family – five females and one male. My Local Government area is bla bla bla etc.
The question here is, don’t you think employers have seen all that in your CV before them? So be prepared to give answers that are relevant to that position you wish to occupy. (Your skills, best traits and experience)
Why are you the best person for this job?
Here, the employer is asking, “what makes you the best fit for the job”. You have to be confident when you answer this, but don’t speak less of others. Just talk about why you think you’re the best because you don’t know the qualifications of other applicants.
The best way to respond to this job interview question is to emphasize with concrete reasons and examples why your skills, experience and accomplishment makes you the best fit for the job.
An easy way is to match job requirements to your abilities and qualifications.
When preparing to answer this interview question, make a list of the job requirements in one side of an A4 paper and your skills set, qualification and experience on the other side. This will help you to respond confidently.
For example, if you mention on your list that you’re a ‘team player’ or ‘a problem solver’, give an example of a time you put these qualities to use and the positive result.
Why are you the best person for this job or Why should we hire you?
You could respond with:
“The job requirements made it clear that your organization needs a marketing executive who can manage about a dozen employees. In my 8 years of experience as a marketing manager, I have developed strong motivational and team-building skills. I was twice awarded manager-of-the-year for my innovative strategies for motivating employees to meet and surpass quarterly deadlines. If hired, I will bring my problem solving abilities and strategies for achieving profit gains to this position”.
“I have got extensive experience in office administration and I’ve the specific skills you’re looking for. I am tech-savvy and have superior communication ability that will be an asset to your company”.
“In the job listing, you described that you’re looking for a teacher with abundance of patience and compassion. My experience in teaching Mathematics to children ages 6 – 17 has taught me strategies for working with children of all ages and abilities. I will bring not only patience, but experience to this position”.
What do you know about our organization?
Here, what you need to do to respond to this interview question is to do a research about the organization.
Doing a research will help you demonstrate that you’ve taken enough time to learn about the organization and the interviewer, if possible
All you need to do is create a list in bullet points, of what you’ve found out about the company from your research.
How to research the organization
The fastest way is to go online. Review the “about us” page of the organization’s website, you’ll find a handful of information about the organization and their vision.
- Check out the social media profiles like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to see what information or even the company is promoting.
- Search Google News for the company name so you can find the most current information available.
- Research the people who will be interviewing you. Check out their LinkedIn profiles to see what information you can find.
- The more you can discover, the more comfortable you’ll be when responding to the question (what do you know about our organization).
Why do you want this job?
This is a very common job interview question. So you need to prepare ahead. Here’s where your research about the company will pay off.
You need to answer this in an all-round manner. If you make it look too personal (focusing on yourself alone), you’ll paint a different picture.
- Explain how your qualifications and goals complement the company’s mission, values.
- Explain how you’ve always wanted the opportunity to work with a company that has a specific distinction from the others. (Find something unique about the company).
- Emphasize on what you can contribute. Talk about what you’ll bring to the position? Mention the skills, experience or traits that makes you different, strong candidate for the job.
- If you’re applying for a position in a company in which you already work, you should explain how you’ll be able to apply and expand on the knowledge you’ve gained from your current position.
This interview question can take another form like: “What really interests you about this job?” You could respond with these:
“This job is a good fit for what I’ve been doing and enjoying throughout my career. It offers a mix of short-term projects and long-term goals. My organizational skills allow me to multitask and complete both kinds of projects”.
“I have always admired this company’s successful strategies and mission for years. Your emphasis on creating a relationship between your company and the community have brought you success everywhere you have opened an office. They are values I greatly admire”
How To Answer Behavioral Interview Questions:
Behavioral interview questions (also known as STAR Interview question or behavior-based interview questions) are interview questions that aims at learning about your past “behaviors” in specific work situations.
Do you take work with you home?
This interview question is tricky. Employers ask this for different reasons you should know. It may be to discern how committed and dedicated you are to your job, how responsible and organized you are with completing assigned projects on time.
Answering this interview question calls for research on your part. You need to know about the company and the job itself.
When you’re asked this question, you may not know the employers motive, so the best thing to emphasize on is your organizational skills.
You might respond with:
“I realize the importance of getting work done before deadlines. Sometimes that requires extra hours at the office or at home. So, when I need to, bringing work home with me is not a problem”.
“Maintaining regular time to spend with my family is very important to me, so when I begin a project, I create a timeline for myself that allows me to complete the tasks in timely manner without taking the work home. But, I’m willing to do so when timelines change and issues come up”
What do you do in your spare time?
There is no right or wrong answer to this job interview question, however, the answer you give reflects on your character and influences the interviewer’s opinion of you.
The question is an opportunity to give interviewers a sneak peek into your personal life. The answer you give can cost or land you the job.
If you like hanging out with friends, say it. However, avoid details of crazy things you do with friends such as drinking or smoking, this may portray you as too wild.
Do not talk too much about your hobbies. Give detailed information in the shortest time possible. For example, if you enjoy watching television, speak about your favorite shows in brief and leave the interviewer to probe more if necessary.
Talking too much may lead the interviewer to lose concentration especially if they do not understand your hobby.
Your response is an opportunity to shine and let interviewers into your private life. Keep it brief and interesting. Do not answer the question to look good; rather, give an honest and precise response.
What did you do when your boss was wrong?
Interviewers will ask you this question to see how well you can handle difficult situations.
If you say it never happened, you’re saying that your boss is hundred percent perfect and this is unrealistic.
What you need to do is give an example, use that example to explain what the situation was, how you handled it and the positive result.
This is not the time to start pointing out situations when your boss acted wrongly. Instead, you should explain that your boss being wrong does not happen often.
Now, your interviewers will want to know how exactly you told your boss (they want to know how tactfully you dealt with your boss).
In your example, emphasize the polite way you spoke to your boss.
Here’s a sample:
“I have spoken to a boss on an error which I think would negatively affect the company. During office hours, I asked to see him in his office and privately discussed the issue with him. I pointed out the side effect the error could have on the feedback mechanism from customers. He was so glad I brought the issue to him privately. He put me in charge of a team to ensure that the error is solved. This enhanced objective evaluation from customers”.
What do you expect from a supervisor?
This interview question can take another form like: “what qualities do you look for in a boss?”
You need to be able to show you are able to work independently without looking like you have a problem with authority; it can be a delicate balancing act.
Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to complain, criticize or speak ill about your current or previous boss, focus on what empowers you to do your best. If you don’t, it will only reflect poorly on you.
Here are samples you can build on:
“I appreciate a boss that makes personal connection with employees because I’ll like to be able to go to my boss if I have an idea or issue and be able to feel comfortable expressing my thoughts”.
“In my last job, I like the fact that my boss did not show favoritism. Of course it takes time to know. But I will want my boss to be understanding of employee needs, as well as their strengths”.
Why did you leave your last job?
This is one interview question that interviewers will always want to ask (if you quit your job). They want to know how exactly what happened.
Did you leave voluntarily? Were you laid off? Were you in good terms or not with your company?
You need to know how to respond to this question because it will reveal a lot about you. So, try as much as possible to say positive regardless of the circumstances and your future goals.
These 6 samples should help:
“I resigned to focus on finding a job that is closer to home and will use my skills and experience in a different capacity”.
“I’m looking for a new challenge and to grow my career and I couldn’t job hunt part time while working”.
“I was laid-off from my last position when my job was eliminated due to downsizing”.
“I am interested in a new challenge and an opportunity to use my skills and experience in a different capacity than I have in the past”.
“I am interested in a job with more responsibility, and I am very ready for a new challenge”.
“This position seemed like an excellent match for my skills and experience and I am not able to fully utilize them in my present job.
“The company was folding up and I thought it made sense to seek another position before my job was eliminated”.
What major challenges have you handled?
Employers ask this interview question to have a taste of your analytical, critical thinking and problem solving abilities.
You can give an example of a significant challenge you handled which turned out to be a success.
Here, you have to say what you did handle and how you did it. This is an opportunity to convince your employees that you have a reasonable approach to solving problems.
Try as much as possible to emphasize the outcome of your approach (it could be increased productivity, positive relationship with creditors/suppliers etc).
You can build on this sample answer:
“A long-term client of our audit firm was about to take their business to a competitor. I met with the client and was able to change how we handled the company’s records on day to day basis. From this situation, I learned the importance of being mindful of client relations, and operations, not just after issues arise, but for the duration of the relationship. As a result, other staffs have adopted my check-in and management processes and have also seen improved results”
How do you evaluate success?
Employers ask this interview question to have a clear sense of your personality, work ethics and goals.
Your response to this interview question must be relevant to achieving the organization’s goals as a whole or fulfilling the requirements of the position you wish to occupy.
These are 3 samples you can build on:
“For me, success is about doing my job well. I want to be recognized as someone who always does his best and give it all I can to make my goals.”
“I evaluate success based on not only my work, but the work of my team. In order for me to be considered successful, the team needs to achieve both our individual and team goals.”
“I evaluate success based on outcomes. It’s not always the path you take to achieve success that matters. Rather, it’s quantifiable results”.
What motivates you to do your best on the job?
Motivation is that inner drive that gets you going even when things are not going your way.
This is interview question is a personal quality check and only you can answer this question. It will be sensible enough to focus on key motivation factors like accomplishments, challenge, recognition etc.
Try as much as possible not to mention money as a key motivating factor; you’ll be painting another picture.
Here are 4 sample answers:
“Failure is not an option for me; when I think about failure and how strongly it could affect my performance, productivity etc. I remain motivated to give my best on the job”.
“I am always motivated by sales challenge. The successful landing of new clients builds up the motivation inside me. Achieving this shows that customers are satisfied by my company’s product”.
“I am motivated by meeting set targets within deadlines, as it gives me a sense of accomplishment and it’s something that I can look back and say “I achieved that”.
“I am motivated by visible results – for example when I wrote a well researched 3000 word article for my company, I got a sense of accomplishment from knowing that thousands of customers would read it”.
Have you ever had to discipline a problem employee?
If the position you’re trying to occupy requires supervisory roles, this is a job interview question to expect.
So if you did, explain how you used your listening and problem solving skills to help the employee. If those techniques turned the employee around, be sure to say so. If not, explain how you followed the company’s policy in such situation and the result.
Tell me about when you had to work with someone who was difficult to get along with
With this interview question, recruiters want to know if you will handle people in a way that is appropriate and professional or if it will send you into a tailspin and affect your quality of work,
According to Jaime from Prepary, she suggests that your response should have 3 elements:
- Give a real example
- Show that you handled it professionally and;
- Talk about a strategy that helps you work well with that person.
The following examples puts the 3 elements into play
“When I was working on an important initiative with a large team, one team member refused to see anyone else’s point of view. I knew that we weren’t going to be productive if we couldn’t get this team member to collaborate. I pulled them aside after our first meeting and told them how much I valued their opinions. I also emphasized that since we were a large group we had to pick our battles and be somewhat flexible. I think once I pointed that out, they understood the negative impact that their behavior was having on the team”.
“When I saw how well they responded to our conversation, I realized that instead of arguing with this person in the moment, it was more productive to pull them aside one-on-one. It’s still not really easy to work with this person, but I’ve found a way to make it manageable”
If I were to ask your former employers to describe you, what would they say?
This is a sword in your hand; use it to your advantage. With this interview question, you have the chance to use the words of others to talk about your own positive traits.
The most important thing to remember when answering this question is to be honest – you don’t want to be caught out when the interviewers does actually contact your boss themselves for a reference and your boss describes you in a completely opposite way.
Lily Zhang at Themuse suggests 3 strategies. I find naming 3 positive traits to me most effective.
In this example, you’ll find the strategy.
“I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but I’m pretty confident my colleagues would describe me as thoughtful—I’m the one in the office who remembers everyone’s birthdays—and hard-working, since I never leave my office until it’s been dark out for a couple of hours. My boss in particular would say I’m very knowledgeable about audience development—it’s why I kept taking on more and more responsibilities”.
What will you do if you didn’t get this position?
Most times, this job interview question goes to an applicant already working in the organization but want to advance his/her career.
You have to be careful when answering this. The employer wants to know whether you are concerned about just the advancement opportunity or the company.
“I am committed to this company and its advancement so, should I not be selected, I will work with and support whoever might get selected. However, I do feel that my experience in the department and with the team would make me the best candidate”.
“I really feel like this would be a good fit for me, so I’m hoping I won’t have to think too much about that!”
“I would naturally be disappointed. I’m very keen to get this job. It meets all my requirements and I firmly believe that I also meet all your requirements. Yours is an organization I can certainly see myself working well for. If my application for this job was not successful, I would clearly continue to pursue other opportunities. But this particular role does remain my preferred choice and I hope I have demonstrated that I would be an ideal candidate for the job”.
How would you react if I told you that your interview so far, was terrible?
Would you get angry? You’ll be falling into a big trap if you do so. Rethink for a moment and pay attention to the “if”
The interviewer didn’t say your interview is terrible. He wants to know how you react to failure, and who you really are deep down. So, respond calmly and with composure. Your emotions when responding matters.
You might respond along these diplomatic lines:
“Well, I’d be quite surprised and rather sad. I have put a lot of work into preparing for this interview and getting this job is very important to me. May I ask you, what parts of my presentation did you consider were not up to an acceptable standard? If you could pinpoint these areas to me, maybe I could go over them again and clear up any misunderstandings that might exist. I’m sure that’s where the problem lies”
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How well can you perform under pressure?
This is a Yes or No answer. But giving just a Yes or No answer does nothing to convince your interviewer.
You should describe situations where you have worked under pressure at your job and had to meet deadlines that you had no control over.
Here are 3 samples to build on:
“I most definitely can. In my current position, I can be faced with stressful situations that require me to work under pressure on a daily basis and have since learned to manage stress. Now it’s just part of the job that I do well”.
“Yes, I actually enjoy working under pressure, though I believe that proper planning and good time management will greatly reduce any alarming deadlines”.
“Yes, I work well under pressure. But I believe that by simply reacting to a situation, you are creating the pressure. Instead of reacting to a problem, I will review the facts at a heightened pace and respond to the situation with a solution all while keeping a clear head”.
Are you willing to work overtime? Weekends or at nights?
This is entirely up to you.
What is the worst thing you’ve ever heard about our company?
This is known as a ‘shock’ interview question. It is designed to throw you off balance – to make you uncomfortable and then to see how you will react.
Although, at first glance it may seem a difficult interview question but it is quite simple to answer if you don’t fall in to the trap of trying to answer it objectively.
The interviewer is an old pro. He knows the questions that can unnerve interviewees. He is carefully watching for your reaction. He wants you to impress him
You must have done your homework, too, and instead of getting hot and bothered you smile and simply say:
“The worse thing I have heard about your company is how hard it is to get a job there and how tough, detailed and rigorous their job interviews are!”
Wouldn’t you agree that’s a simple but effective answer? Now watch your employer respond to that!
Also Check out: Top 16 ways to impress interviewers
What type of person would you refuse to work with?
You must know that employers value flexible and willing workers who are able to get along with anyone.
Giving a list of traits you feel you’re unable to cooperate with raises red flags for employers as they desire long-term associates who easily adapt to the demands and duties of jobs.
Start with being positive and then mention a few traits that the company herself will see as extreme e.g violence or illegal activities.
Here are some sample answers:
“Well, I’m a person who can work with all kinds of people. However, I feel a bit uncomfortable with selfish and violent behavior”.
“I can work with anyone. Each person has been employed for a specific reason, to do a specific job, and because of their qualifications, skills and unique talents. If I’ll be employed to work in this organization, I’m agreeing to do as instructed as far as it is legal”.
I’m still not sure, if you’re suitable for this job, what do you think?
Although the tone of the interview question may sound critical and uncertain, the employer is really asking you to finally convince him once and for all that you are the right person for the job.
The question is asked in this format to see if you are easily intimidated and defeated by blatant negative criticism. The interviewer wants to see how determined you are – to really discover how much you will fight to get this job.
So, tackle the question. Don’t let the way it is phrased knock your confidence or poise.
You may begin with a question of your own: “May I ask why you believe that sir/mar?”
This simple question will force the interviewer to reveal why he may think you are unsuitable.
Usually he will refer to a lack of some skill or other or a lack of experience. In fact he will, probably, be quite deliberate as his question is really a request for you to finally convince him that you are right for the job.
Now give it your last best shot. Put together your top 3 personal skills and experience that are most relevant to the job and convince your interviewer that you’re completely certain you’re the best fit for the job. Review question 7 above.
What irritates you about co-workers?
Asides your qualification and experience, do you fit in with the current workers of the company? That’s what the employer wants to know.
This potentially tricky interview question sheds light on the ways in you interact and get along with others. Coming up with a positive answer represents the best way to respond to the common interview question.
You might say:
“It takes a lot to really bother me because I’m pretty adaptable and tend to get along with just about everyone.”
The response remains positive while drawing attention to personal qualities like an adaptable nature and an ability to work well with others, thus addressing the underlying concerns that inspire employers to ask the question in the first place.
Another important thing:
Do not try to act saintly by saying that you accept people the way they are and understand that differences are normal.
“I understand that working in a company is about team work, so we can’t afford to have problems with co-workers. But if someone is not serious about their work or does a low quality work affecting the whole project, I definitely do not like it”
What is your sickness record like?
This is one of the interview questions that take other forms like:
How many days did you take off sick last year and why?
What would your current employer say if I asked them about your sickness record?
How’s your health?
The meaning behind this question:
Time is money or, more particularly, your time is your employer’s money. No employer likes to lose money through staff being off sick. By directly questioning you on this topic the employer can gauge whether you are likely to be reliable in your attendance at work – or whether you might pose a liability.
“Generally, I have a very good sickness record. I’m rarely off work as a result of illness. I was unfortunate last year to catch flu and also to suffer a bout of food poisoning. These both kept me off work for a few days – but only a few days. I’m fit and healthy and I recover quickly. A year can easily go by without my taking a single day off sick”.
How to Answer Experience/Competency Interview Questions
An experience interview question is designed to determine whether you have the right experience for the job for which you are interviewing. In an experience interview, the interviewee answers questions about his or her actions in a past situation.
What ideas do you bring to the job that our internal candidates don’t have?
This interview question is simply addressing the true value you’re bringing to the job and the motivation behind it.
Here, your interviewers want you to separate yourself from other candidates who may be more qualified.
You could respond with:
“I’ve worked with the oldest player in the industry; I can help you avoid some of the mistakes we made in their established markets”.
If you were in my position, what questions would you be asking?
The interviewer is genuinely looking for a question (or questions) he hasn’t thought of and perhaps should have. On the other hand, in unexpectedly reversing your roles he’s looking to see how well you can think on your feet.
You’re going to need to give the interviewer a possible question – if not a couple of possible questions. There’s no way you can answer along the lines of, “I think you’ve already asked everything that I would have asked.”
If you’re prepared for this type of question, it’s a bonus – because it gives you the opportunity to deliver a positive and pre-prepared answer to a question of your choice.
It’s all too easy to interpret this question as, “What would be the toughest question I could ask you?”
“You’ve already asked many of the questions that I myself would be asking. I’ve obviously been to a few interviews in my time and, if I had to think of a question I would ask – that you haven’t already asked – I think I would say, “What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?”
What is your management style?
This is a tough interview question; you know why? There is no clear cut answer and you probably know very little about the company culture. How do you know that you would describe a management style that will fit in perfectly into the company’s requirement?
Here’s how can you respond in a way that shows you can be an effective leader who’s right for the team.
Today’s employers aren’t looking for a particular management style; they’re looking for flexibility. Why? Business itself is changing rapidly and a flexible manager (seemingly) effortlessly shifts gears and does what’s needed for the situation and people involved.
Any answer that highlights your flexibility and adaptability should work just fine. Here are some ideas:
“I’ve always admired and tried to emulate managers who seem to know just what to do in any situation. They delegate when delegation is appropriate, they build a consensus when a consensus is needed, and they work side-by-side when that’s what’s needed. They just seem to know how to be what their employees need them to be at any given time.”
“I don’t have any one management style. I think that when you get too comfortable relating to your employees one way, then you miss out on opportunities to develop them and make the most of their abilities.”
“I just try to adapt to the situation. Looking at my own career, there have been times when I knew what I was doing and wanted my manager to back off, and there were times when I was learning a new skill and could have used some hand-holding. I think the most successful managers are the ones who can adapt their style to the employee. And to the situation, because not even every employee needs the same management style all the time.”
Does a company need B players? Or is it better off only having A players on staff and why?
The best answer is to have both A players and B players on staff. But you need to explain why. Here are 2 sample answers:
“I have actually thought about this a lot as an individual and I believe a company should have both A players and B players. A players are usually on the front line. For example when you’re pitching a new business, you’ll need people who have the start power, who are creative and have fantastic reputation. But behind the A players you need a team of B players who can hammer out the details of the project and stick with them on day-to-day basis”.
“Having too many A players on the team leads to ego clashes and a disorganized, anarchic way of doing business. On the other hand, having too many B players leads to work that lacks the spark of creativity. So the perfect blend in my opinion is to have both players on team; 2 A players and 5 B players to see the assignment through”.
How aware are you of internal politics that may affect your performance?
This interview question is one that will enable employers understand your ability to work in such work atmosphere.
Here’s a sample answer and why it works:
“I am sensitive to internal politics and I respect my superiors. But I also do my best to never become embroiled in office politics. At my level, I consider this to be a wise course of action. I like people, and can work with anyone. So I concentrate on doing my job, listening to directions, surpassing expectations and leaving the internal political battles to the politicians”.
Here, you have confidently told the employer that you know enough about office politics to stay out of them, which happens to be an extremely politic move
Also, you have made it clear to the employer that you have nothing distracting you from doing your job.
FUNNY INTERVIEW VIDEO: Sometimes, employers just want to mess with applicants with questions; you need to watch this funny 2 Minutes video from British Sketch Show (so funny)
Why haven’t you achieved more in your career?
This is a very clever job interview question and can quickly separate out the weaker candidates from the stronger ones.
This is a tough question because the main aim of the question is to put you under pressure – under attack – so as to see how you handle it.
As with a number of other tough questions, the way you answer is more of interest to the interviewer than an actual explanation as to why you haven’t achieved more.
In most cases, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of admitting that you feel you should have achieved more. Even Bill Gates will feel he should have achieved more in his career.
It’s more important in this case to express your optimism for the future.
“I’m actually very pleased with my career to date. As I’ve progressed from company to company, I’ve gained a great deal of practical experience and developed my abilities considerably”.
“I have been responsible for a number of significant achievements; in my current role I successfully (did this and did that) – while maintaining lead times. I always strive to achieve my best and that is definitely a factor in my now looking for a new job. I feel that this vacancy would be a perfect next step for me because I know I can rise to the challenge and make a major contribution”.
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How to Answer Interview Questions: Traps
To uncover areas that may reflect inconsistencies, hiring managers sometimes ask tricky interview questions that reveal a lot about job seekers.
What is your greatest weakness?
The word ‘weakness’ sends a negative message, so try to avoid using it.
To answer this tricky interview question, one good thing to do is to mention the skills you have improved on which are related to position. Doing this, will show your interviewers you’re capable of making improvements when necessary.
For example, you could respond with:
“I’ve had trouble delegating duties to others because I felt I could do things better myself. This has sometimes backfired because I’d end up with more than I could handle and quality of my work would suffer. But I’ve taken courses in time management and learned effective delegation techniques, and I feel I’ve overcome this weakness”.
“I like to make sure that my work is perfect, so I tend to perhaps spend a little too much time checking it. However, I’ve come to a good balance by setting up a system to ensure everything is done correctly the first time”.
“I used to like to work on one project to its completion before starting on another, but I’ve learned to work on many projects at the same time, and I think it allows me to be more creative and effective in each one”.
“Being organized wasn’t my strongest point, but I implemented a time management system that really helped my organization skills”.
Summary List of Related Articles on Interview Questions and Answers
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Tell me about your salary expectation
This is a dangerous zone. This interview question can throw you out. Knowing how to answer interview questions about salary will give you an edge.
First you need to research the salary scale for the position you’re applying for. This will help you negotiate more confidently.
At the interview, never bring up salary issues. Wait for the employer to bring it up. When asked this question, you have to act smart.
If you have the exact figure, do not mention that figure at the job interview panel. Give them the bracket or range of your discovery.
If you discovered the organization pays N120,000 for the position you wish to occupy, tell the recruiters you’re looking at a salary between N100,000 and N170,000.
You could also respond with:
“The current salary information published by our State Association indicates a range of N120,000 to N170,000 per month. Although I’m not certain how your salary compare to this industry, my feeling is that my value would be in the upper half of this national range”.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
This is another job interview question that employers ask. One of the best answers to give will be:
“I see myself at the other side of the table, attaining greater height in this organization”
“From my research, I noticed this organization have no branches in places like X and Y states, I hope to be one of the top executives in those states’ in the next 5 years”.
Your response shouldn’t show self-centered personality. Some people have replied with things about how they wish to travel out of the country, having a perfect vacation, building houses and other dreams that don’t add value to the organization they intend to work in.
Are you over-qualified for this job?
Don’t be surprised you may be asked this interview question. The best thing to say is that you are fully qualified for the job, even when your qualification represents you as over-qualified.
This is an opportunity to re-emphasize why you’re the best fit for the job.
You might say:
“I’m fully qualified for this job. Truly, I’ve worked at a higher level but I’m looking for something challenging. Salary is not my top priority, I want to break records”.
“I’m fully qualified for this job. My education and experience fits in readily with the job requirement and I’m certain my experience will be a great asset to the company”
What is your dream job? Tell me about it
Most people are inclined to respond with one of two options. They either say the job that they are applying for, or they mention a job that is unrealistic or totally unrelated to the job description to which they are applying.
The important thing to do when asked this job interview question is to put the emphasis on the type of work environment you are looking for rather than any specific job.
Avoid saying that the job you are applying for is your dream job. The interviewer will know you are not being truthful.
Avoid saying something that might give the impression that you will one day leave your job for another.
Here are 2 sample answers:
“I have always been a people person. I like to make people happy and find valid solutions to concerns and problems. My dream job would be in a workplace where I’ll have the opportunity to use my problem solving skills (or other relevant skills) to the organizations advantage”
“My dream job would be a job where I so much love the work, have a sense of belonging, one in which I can contribute and can’t just wait to get to work”.
Tell me about a problem you had with your boss
This is another trap interview question.
Interviewers want to know if you’ll speak ill of your boss. You have to be careful when answering questions about your previous boss.
True, your boss might have been awful but you don’t need to say so. What if the employer knows your former boss personally? It is always smart to be considerate and diplomatic when answering this interview question.
Instead, discuss the strengths of your previous boss.
Here are 3 sample answers:
“No, I’m a hard worker and my managers always seem to appreciate the job I’m doing. I’ve always got along well with every manager I’ve had”.
“I must say that when I first started out in my previous job, my manager and I had different expectation for the workflow for each day. But once I talked to him about it, we realized our goals were very compatible and we were able to work successfully”.
“Like everyone, I do have difficult times in my personal life. I could remember one manager I once had who brought his problems into work. This affected the atmosphere in the office but it didn’t affect my work”.
Note: Tailor your response to fit your personal circumstances.
When do you expect a raise?
This is an interview question about salary as well. The best thing to do is turn the table around. Ask the employers for their promotion policy. Refer to question 32
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Do you have any outstanding debts?
Ah! This is actually one of the trick interview questions, one that your interviewer should NOT be asking you.
Why Would You Be Asked This Job Interview Question?
When an employer is considering candidates for a new job, they want to make sure that they are hiring the most responsible, professional and hard-working person.
Handling money and debt properly is a very good indication of how responsible people are, so employers will often avoid hiring people with bad debt.
Make sure to consider it carefully. If you have no debt, you have no reason not to answer. If you have debt, however, that’s when things get a bit tricky.
There are three things to take away from this:
- Debt happens. It shouldn’t stop you from being hired.
- You have nothing to hide. If you are in debt, it’s nothing to be ashamed of as long as you are working to pay it off.
- Show that you’re working to repair the problem. That’s the sign of a mature, responsible professional.
Millions of people suffer under the burden of debt, and there is nothing to be ashamed of if you are one of those. Don’t be flippant about it, but don’t let it freak you out either. Take responsibility for your debt, but show that you’re handling it like a responsible adult.
There are few ways you can answer the question:
“When I was still an undergraduate, I was unprepared to handle financial responsibility and thus ended up in debt. I have been working to repair my debt, and will be out from under debt in XX number of months/years”
“I got in debt X-number of months ago, but have worked to keep up with paying my debts over time. It will take X months to clear my debts but I don’t think my past should affect the decision to hire me.”
“When (my parents got sick, I was in a serious car accident, or other traumatic experience) happened, I was forced to take a loan to cover the cost. It was a difficult time where I was unable to work, but definitely an isolated incident.”
Can I have your Facebook login details?
You said what?
Unfortunately, due to tough competition for jobs, employers feel that is it their right to request personal information, or access to a candidate’s social profiles as a pre-screening technique.
However, in most cases it is inappropriate for employers to ask this of you, and in certain US states, questions relating to asking candidates for their Facebook passwords are becoming illegal.
When the interviewer asks you for your password, remember to remain professional and calm. Being angry and acting defensive will only make you seem suspicious to the company.
Here is an example of a potential response:
“I’m sorry but I will not be able to honor your request since it violates my user agreement with Facebook”
If you could retire tomorrow, what would you do?
By asking this interview question, recruiters are trying to know your behavior and what kind of person you really are.
If you say something like ‘I wouldn’t retire, I’d work here’, the answer is just plain silly. Any experienced interviewer can spot dishonesty a mile away. Instead, you might say that you would do some volunteer work in a relevant industry.
The Perfect way to go about this is to prepare a well-thought out and honest answer. The answer should be sensible rather than fantastical and deluded. It should be related to the job you’re apply for.
Knowing what you plan to do when you are retired, give them an idea about who you are or what you set out to accomplish. For example if you’re applying for a creative job then say you’ll write a book on topics related to your job.
What would you do if your company was doing something illegal?
The whole purpose of this interview question is to evaluate your character and ethics.
Many people will simply turn a blind eye to a problem, or they will take a payoff to keep their mouths shut. A lot of people are so worried about losing their jobs that they’ll usually remain silent.
That is NOT what you want to say if you are asked this question in an interview!
How to answer:
The best answer you can give is along the lines of “I would report it to the proper authorities within the organization”. End your answer with “I wouldn’t want to work in an organization that fails to deal with problems like this”.
Remember that you’re likely talking to an HR manager, the people who are responsible for handling these types of situations. If HR finds out that you’re willing to cover up illegal activity, you’re not the right person for the job!
This proves that you are a loyal person who cares about the company image, so you will try to handle the problem in-house first. When you report the problem to the company, they will usually take the steps to correct the problem on their own.
Most importantly, stress the fact that you’ll follow proper chain of command to address the matter. If you report the problem to your boss and he/she does nothing, you will take it up a level, or report the problem to HR.
You really can’t fail with this answer, as the company you are applying to work for will very likely be an ethical company that also cares whether their employees are following the law or not.
What would be the toughest question I could ask you?
You have to be smart about answering this question. The main reason you’d feel a question to be tough is because it hits you unexpectedly.
If you’re not prepared for this interview question then this question itself is probably one of the toughest you’re likely to ever get hit with. However, if you’re prepared then it’s a completely different kettle of fish.
Here’s a sample answer.
“I would say this question itself is probably one of the toughest you could ask me! Let me see… I suppose that, for me, a really tough question would be one which exposes a weakness, something along the lines of, “What’s the worst mistake you’ve made at work?”
Here, you’ve played the interviewers to ask you what you’ve already prepared for.
It makes sense to have three or four possibilities lined up just in case the interviewer follows up by asking you to pick another one!
What is your greatest strength?
Don’t take this job interview question as an easy one. Employers want to know if your strength aligns with the current needs of the organization.
It is important to show the employer that you have the qualities and traits the employer is seeking in the applicant that will be hired.
This is not the time to be humble about your strengths, and also not the time to exaggerate.
Focus on your top three or four skills or qualities. (It could be administrative skills, team building skills, leadership skills, ability to prioritize etc.).
Most importantly, determine which of your strengths is most relevant to the position you’re applying for.
You could respond with:
“I pride myself on my customer service skill and my ability to resolve difficult situations. With years of practice as a customer’s service associate, I have learned to effectively listen, understand and resolve customer issues. Couple with that, my strong communication skills helps me work well with customers, team members and superiors”.
“I’m good at prioritization and time management. But my greatest strength is my ability to effectively handle multiple projects and deadlines”.
For how long do you plan on working here?
Do not be caught off guard. You’ll create a wrong impression if you state a particular period, maybe you want to go back to school or something.
The best way to answer this interview question is to not give a definite answer about a certain period.
Employing and training new employees is expensive. By bringing you in, the organization is investing significant time and money on you. They want to know if their time and money will pay off.
You could respond with answers that demonstrates your enthusiasm for the position and the company.
“I don’t have any plans to move on. I’d like a job where I can have continuity and be part of a team”
“I’ll like to stay as long as there are growth opportunities”.
“I’ll prefer to stay long term, if possible. I like the flexible work hours you offer which would work well with my other commitments (children, spouse, parents etc.)”.
Even if you want to work for 6 month based on personal reasons, keep that to yourself, never disclose.
You might also respond with:
“I’ll like to work and stay in this organization for as long as my career goals stays mutually compatible with this organization and of course if my service is still of great relevance”.
What is more important to you; the money or the work?
Don’t fool around here. We all know that money is important. There’s not better answer than to say:
“Money is always important, but the work is more important”
Rate yourself over ten
Give it to the recruiters straight by saying something like:
“If I’m to rate myself over ten, I’m just ten over ten”.
Let’s assume you’ve got a degree in business administration and with this interview question, you’re trying to be fair and you replied with ‘I’m nine over 10’, you’ve created a doubt in the minds of recruiters.
Recruiters may put another question to you by saying “what is it you still don’t know about this job?”
Recruiter’s job is to give their clients (organizations who need employees) the best candidates, so it’s better to confidently tell them you’re ten over ten.
How would you rate me as an interviewer?
Wait! This interview question can throw you off balance! You know why? The interviewer wants to know how well you respond to superiors without leaving out facts.
Ask yourself, are you the first person he ever asked this question? NO. Everyone would reply with something sweet isn’t it? You don’t want to do otherwise.
Never criticize the hiring manager’s interview skills, even if you view it as a constructive criticism. You should be respectful.
Because knowing how to answer this question is very important, you have 4 logical and creative answers to practice. Each depends on the situation you find yourself in the interview room.
“Siting on this side of the table, I’m definitely not the right person to rate you. But I’ll say that you’re doing a wonderful job sir/mar because HR is the firewall of the company who accepts the valid packet and rejects the invalid one. And you can judge a candidate in a short span of time where other won’t have such talent”.
“My limited knowledge about you that I got in this limited period is not enough to answer that question sir. But still, I’m confident you’re a perfect 10/10. When I came into this room, I was very nervous, but your approach to asking me questions to really discern what I’m made of asides my qualification and experience, made me feel free and very comfortable to talk to you”.
“Sir/mam. First of all, I am greatly honored for this question. Still, I am not at all in the best position to rate you. But since you have questioned me, I will give you my answer in the rate of 10/10 because for me, you possess a great deal of experience, qualification and qualities. That’s why this organization has chosen you to come and interview every applicant and select the best person for the job in a short span of time”.
“Up till now, I am not in any position to rate you. But as you are a part of HR team which is the backbone team of any organization and have the ability to filter the right candidate within a few time, you must have something tremendous and you are recruiting candidates for an organization whose turnover is …………., so from my point of view you are perfect for company and I’ll give you 10/10”.
How to Answer Analytical Interview Questions
Analytical and problem solving skills are important to most company, and so it’s no surprise that job interviewers are beginning to ask about brain teaser questions to test your analytical and problem solving skill during the interview process
See this pen? Sell it to me
This is another tough job interview question!
You might think this job interview question is only likely to be asked if you work in sales – but you’d be wrong. It can be asked of almost anyone, regardless of whether sales skills are important to their job.
It’s a question which forces a candidate to think on their feet while under pressure – and this can tell an interviewer a lot about a candidate, not least how clearly they are able to think and to communicate.
It’s a classic question – but it nonetheless regularly features in interviews.
If you’re in sales, good for you; you simply need to demonstrate your standard sales pattern and techniques to the interviewer, inventing pricing, discount offers, payment terms, etc. as you go.
The precise details are not important; it’s the methods you employ which count – identifying the customer’s needs and matching those to the specific benefits of the product, etc.
If you don’t work in sales (which is the majority of us), don’t let yourself be panicked though; the interviewer knows fully well that you are not used to selling and they won’t be expecting you to have a whole arsenal of sales techniques at your disposal.
- Talking the interviewer into expressing a need or urgency
- Describing the object, including both its features and, more importantly, its benefits
- Discussing pricing (which you will invent off the top of your head)
- Asking them directly for the sale
WATCH This 40 seconds video: from Wolf of Wall Street – “Sell me this pen”
“I’m sure you’ll agree with me that a pen is vital to your day-to-day work and it’s therefore important to make sure you’ve got just the right one? This pen is solidly constructed so as to be durable for everyday use – even if it rolls off your desk onto the floor. It has a plentiful ink reserve so there’s less chance of the pen running dry at a critical moment. It fits comfortably into the hand and even has a clip so you can safely attach it to your jacket pocket when you’re on the move. I can offer you this pen at the very reasonable price of N20.00 However, if you were to take three – I’m sure your colleagues would also be interested – then I could offer you a 20% discount. How many would you like?”
NOTE: Try as much as possible to convince the employer you didn’t rehearse this answer. Don’t get caught. That’s just a frame work to get a clue; you have to do some practice in your own words, better sill, find some creative answers featuring benefits and not features.
If you were an animal at the zoo, which animal would you be and why?
Superficially, it’s a fairly silly interview question really. However, the answer you give can be very revealing.
The employer is obviously testing your ability to think on your feet – but they are also looking for some further insight into how you perceive yourself and whether your answer will fit into the role you’re about to occupy.
If you were a dog, what breed of dog would you be?
If you were a biscuit, what type of biscuit would you be?
If you were a make of car, what make would you be?
If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?
This is definitely one of the most difficult questions to answer. You’ve got to quickly think of all the different possible animals (or dog breeds or cars, etc.) and then pick one which has certain – positive – characteristics which you feel match your own. You’ve then got to explain your choice to the interviewer. This isn’t easy – but don’t panic; stall for time if necessary.
Remember that there is no ‘correct’ answer to this job interview question as long as you’re able to logically express yourself with sound reasoning – it’s all about how you reach your answer and how you express yourself.
“I can’t say anyone has ever asked me that before! If I could just have a second to think about it… Right, I think the chimpanzee springs to my mind. They’re a lot like humans really. They work together as a team, co-operate with each other for the benefit of the whole group, are sensitive to each other socially – and they always seem to have a good sense of fun and humour”
“If I were an animal I’d probably be a dolphin because they are very intelligent and yet don’t appear to take themselves too seriously. They enjoy being part of a group and look out for each other and also enjoy having fun”.
Other tips for brief answers
- I have a friend who says you should always try to be like an eagle, which is great if you’re a CEO, but that’s a bad animal to be if you need to be a team player.
- A horse is really strong…able to function alone well or as part of a team.
- Ants are hard workers, and the ultimate team player.
- Monkeys are quick learners.
- An elephant is strong, intelligent, loyal to the group, and unstoppable.
- A dolphin is also intelligent, and actually considered one of the smartest animals.
- Dogs are seen as Man’s Best Friend, so might be good for someone in a support role. With a dog, you get loyalty and friendliness. Also protectiveness, but that’s probably only required for bodyguards.
- (Sorry, cat lovers. A cat’s independence might appeal to you, but they have a bad reputation for not giving a darn about you as long as you’re feeding it. That says, “I’m just here to collect my paycheck.”)
If there was a monkey hanging from a tree, how would you get it down?
There is no ‘right’ answer to this sort of interview question. It is purely a test of your ability to analyze a problem and identify possible solutions. Once you realize this you will hopefully be a lot less rattled by the question.
Don’t let yourself be rattled by the question – and don’t lose your sense of humor either. However, telling the interviewer you’d probably get your rifle out is unlikely to go down well!
“Interesting question! I suppose there are a number of possible solutions to this problem. It’s a case of identifying these possible solutions and selecting the one which has the best chance of success. The most obvious idea which springs to my mind is to try to entice it down by offering it, for example, a banana. Alternatively, I could try to scare it down. Shouting at it would probably make it even less likely to come down, but flicking the light switch on and off might work. Spraying water at it might also convince him to budge but there’s perhaps too much risk of collateral damage. Failing that, I think I’d find the monkey’s owner or keeper and I’d delegate the task to them!”
Why don’t polar bears eat penguins?
Alternative and related questions:
Why do butterflies generally come out during the day and moths generally come out at night?
You might think this interview question is along the same lines as question 42, “If there was a monkey hanging from a tree, how would you get it down?” However, technically, this is actually a general knowledge question.
Polar bears don’t eat penguins because polar bears live in the Arctic and penguins live in the Antarctic – a very long way away! However, in asking this sort of question, the interviewer doesn’t really expect many people to get the right answer – and they don’t necessarily care too much if they do.
They’re more interested in how you think your answer through – so, yes, unless you know the ‘correct’ answer, this question is indeed similar to the previous question.
“I’m afraid I’ll have to admit that biology or zoology isn’t one of my strong points! I do enjoy watching documentaries but I haven’t seen one yet which would give me the answer to this question”.
“I can think of a number of possible hypotheses – maybe penguins are too small for a polar bear to bother with and they stick to larger prey, maybe polar bears aren’t fast enough to catch a penguin, perhaps there’s something toxic about penguins – some form of defense mechanism, maybe polar bears live and hunt inland but penguins spend most of their time in the water or at the water’s edge. I obviously don’t know for sure – but these would be my possible ideas. Am I close?”
Interview Questions to Ask Employers
Most job interviews conclude with asking the candidate ‘Do you have any questions for me/us?‘.
Almost all interviewers will give you a chance to ask questions and you should use this as an opportunity to further demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm.
In a survey, 29 percent of recruiters when questioned stated that the candidate not asking questions – or asking poor questions – at the end of the interview was sufficient reason for them to ‘fail’ them.
Here are Job Interview questions you should ask your employer
Asking interviewers questions helps you re-highlight your qualifications, demonstrate your confidence, reinforce your commitment, understand the employer’s challenges, make yourself accountable and advance your candidacy. So, ask few but intelligent questions and remember to thank the interviewer(s) for their time before you leave.
What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
This question can often lead to valuable information that’s not in the job description. It can help you learn about the company culture and expectations so you can show that you are a good fit.
Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
This is your chance to learn as much as possible about the role so you can decide whether this is a job you really want. By learning more about the day-to-day tasks, you will also gain more insight into what specific skills and strengths are needed and you can address any topics that haven’t already been covered.
Can you give me some examples of the most desirable aspects of the company’s culture?
Here, you want to know what exactly does the company value the most, and how your work will further those values.
Is there anything I’ve mentioned that makes you think I’m not the best candidate for this job?
If they do mention something that’s bothering them about you, such as lack of specific experience, this gives you the last –ditch effort to change their opinion about you.
If you truly lack the experience, you might admit by saying:
“I know I have limited experience in this field, but what I lack in specific experience I make up for in enthusiasm and desire to excel. I learn fast and will work harder than anyone else to be most productive on the team”.
What have you enjoyed most about working here?
This job interview question allows the interviewer to connect with you on a more personal level, sharing his or her feelings. The answer will also give you unique insight into how satisfied people are with their jobs there. If the interviewer is pained to come up with an answer, it’s a big red flag.
How do I compare with other candidates you’ve interviewed for this role?
This is a slightly risky choice. You don’t want to put the interviewer in an awkward position. However, if things are going well and you’ve built a strong rapport, this question can help you see if there are any concerns or issues that you could address to show why you’re the best fit for the job
What are the next steps in the interview process?
This job interview question shows you’re eager to move forward in the process. It will also help you gain important information about the timeline for hiring so that you can follow up appropriately.
When will you be making a decision on the successful candidate?
This is one question you should ask. Failure to do so may give the impression that you’re not that interested, and you need to know when to follow up.
When you ask candidates this question (give an example) what are you expecting?
Here, your interviewer will definitely point you in the right direction, as it may invaluable information for you in another interview.
How did this product feature (pick one product) get designed and launched?
Before asking this question and the question on number 56, you should have done your homework and already tried out the product prior to the job interview.
It will be disappointing and surprising not to try out the product of the company you’ll be working with and yet expect that you’ll be able to get the job.
Why did you decide to launch this particular version instead of this one?
This is another question you should consider asking your interviewers at the job interview. It shows you’re updated with happenings in the organization.
What is a typical work day like in this department?
This question will help your interviewer give you more details about the work responsibilities and requirements that are not given out in the first place.
I hope you find this 63 most asked job interview questions and answers very helpful. Want to have all these with you on your device? Download as PDF in the optin below.
NOTE: These review job interview questions and answers may not be asked at your next job interview. Employers may decide to ask your subject questions and general knowledge questions.
Make sure you’re updated in your subject area and try as much as possible to keep your manners and physical structure in the best possible ways.
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