ANSWERING NERVE-RACKING INTERVIEW QUESTIONS – TAYO FABUSIWA
I remember one of my interviews with Bank of America Merrill Lynch for the company’s 2015 Global Analyst London Internship, where I had to answer a couple of question; straightforward they were, except for a few which caught me off guard. I recollect being asked questions like; “How many light bulbs are currently in Lagos State?” “How many pairs of socks are being used per day in Nigeria?” Within me, I thought – “Was I to proffer definite answers?”, “How on earth can anyone give flawless figures to such questions?”
The fact, conversely, was that even the interviewer didn’t have exact answers for those questions. They only needed to see how analytic and confident I was. In attempting to answer interview question, you must ensure you take charge of your own space, even when you are incapable of providing answers to certain questions.
The following are 5 interview questions and ways to answer them.
CAN WE MEET YOU?
This is usually the first question at any interview and it could also be that question that, if slightly misinterpreted, mars a candidate’s chances of securing a position. Other variants of this question are “Kindly introduce yourself”, “May we know you”, “Tell us a little about yourself”. I have seen situations where candidates are asked “Can we meet you” and the response they give is “Yes” or “Sure thing”. This is totally wrong as the aim of the question is not to literally meet with you but for you to tell your interviewer more about yourself. In answering this question, you are to state your name, current educational level, skills, experience, achievements and any other relevant information that is directly or indirectly related to the position for which you are applying. This is the point where you begin to sell yourself to your right from the onset; but always remember to keep it short – 30 – 40 seconds max.
WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
So in the course an interview, you keep on answering questions that seek how good you are, only for you to be faced with one which daunts you; “Tell us your weaknesses”. This question is obviously a tricky one and a wrong approach in answering it could cost one the job. The aim of this questions is to test your level of self-awareness, honesty and willingness to self-improve. In answering this question, you must first come to the understanding that you aren’t great at everything; any potential employer already knows that. Then, honestly identify your weakness. It is however noteworthy that the flaws you identify with should not those that could jeopardise your ability to the job. For instance, you are applying for the position of a sales manager in a company and your weakness is poor computation skills, you probably shouldn’t bring this up during your interview and personally work on it, or better still, you shouldn’t have applied for that position in the first place.
Your weakness must be one that can be improved upon in the nearest future. You must as well point out steps you have taken in correcting your weaknesses. For instance, steps to be taking in improving one’s public speaking skills could be taking a classes or courses in public speaking, utilising tools like tutorial videos, getting a mentor/life coach etc.
WHAT IS YOUR SALARY EXPECTATION?
It is always very important that you research about your prospective position, including the remunerations that accrue to persons in such position. However, as straight forward as it might seem, this question is delicate. Ordinarily, you shouldn’t be the first person to give a figure, though where your interviewer insists on you giving a figure, you can ask what the salary bracket is. This is to ensure you don’t sell yourself short and miss out financially or push too high and lose the job offer.
Apart from the figure you must have gotten in the course of your research, you must also consider factors like your day-to-day expenses, skills, achievement and experience. Basically, you must know your worth. However, you must remain reasonable with whatever figure you stipulate.
WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?
This question gives you every room to boss your interview. In attempting this question, you have to match your greatest achievements to the role you are applying for. You should be determined to ensure you’re your interviewer is convinced of how you’re a great fit for the job. Asides for listing your exceptional qualities, go ahead to highlight examples of when you’ve demonstrated these qualities.
It is also preferable that the achievements or qualities you list corresponds with your prospective role or company’s goals. You can get this by, prior to your interview, looking up the company’s website. With this, you understand better the company’s history, value and culture.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN X YEARS?
Apart from what you’ve done in the past and what you currently do, your interviewer might want to take a peek at your plans for the future. The purport of this question is to inform potential employers of candidates’ career focus as well as their willingness to commit to the company in the long-run.
Having a career focus is important because it not only show you are a professional but you know where you want to go in your career and how you will get there. Furthermore, career focus demonstrates a professional who is willing to develop and grow. As regards commitment, though potential employers don’t expect you to work with them forever, they will be in search of a degree of commitment you can afford their company.
In answering this question, it is important to state goals related to the role you are applying for, how you could help the company reach its objectives and where you see such goals taking you.
In all, it is advisable to go for any interview prepared for any of these questions. Practice them overtime till you are flexible with your answers. In addition, always remember to maintain eye contact.
Founder, Legal Pages.
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