Saturday, April 13, 2024

Simon Ingari: Common job interview questions for graduates and how to answer them

Job interviews can be stressful, especially if it’s your first interview and you are trying hard to get the job opportunity.

However, a bit of practice and preparation can make you stand out in a crowd of candidates.

This means that you need to understand the kinds of questions you’ll likely be asked during a job interview so as to compose answers that best highlight your qualifications.

Simon Ingari, a Kenyan recruiter, shares some tips on how to answer some of the common interview questions.

Tell us about yourself

The interviewer is not interested in hearing stories; they simply expect to know your academic and professional achievements, your name and the institution you currently work for.

Take a minute to introduce yourself and state your recent academic qualification and your relevant experience (if any).

”My name is [Your Name], and I am a recent graduate of [University Name] with a Bachelor of Science in [Degree]. I am a highly motivated and adaptable individual with a passion for learning and growth.

I thrive in fast-paced environments and constantly look for ways to improve and take on new challenges.

In my previous role as a [Position Name] at [Company Name], I was responsible for [List of Responsibilities]. I have a proven track record of success in [List of Accomplishments].

I am excited to learn more about the [Position Name] position at [Company Name] and believe that my skills and experience would be a valuable asset to your team.”

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Why do you think you are the best candidate?

The recruiter expects you to tell them about your professional achievements and the unique skills you possess that will add value to the organization.

If you are a Customer Care graduate, then you should tell them that you are a good listener and patient; these are the qualities the employer is looking for.

“I believe I am the best candidate for this customer care role because of my skills and experience, as well as my passion for helping others.

I have a strong academic background in customer care, and I have also gained valuable experience through my internships and volunteer work.

I am a good listener and I am patient, which are essential qualities for a customer care representative. I am also a team player and I am always willing to go the extra mile to help my colleagues and customers.

In addition to my customer care skills, I am also a highly motivated and adaptable individual. I am always willing to learn new things and I am always looking for ways to improve. I am also a quick learner and I am able to grasp new concepts quickly.

I am confident that I have the skills and experience necessary to be successful in this role, and I am eager to learn more about your company and how I can contribute to your team.

I am also passionate about helping others, and I believe that my customer care skills would be a valuable asset to your company.”

What are your weaknesses?

The question is not simple as it looks; most candidates go blank when they face this kind of question.

Take your time in explaining why you can’t leave the office before you complete a task. You can also inform them how you are quick to trust a person, which in most cases makes you a victim.

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For example, if you are interviewing for a customer care role, you might say that your weakness is that you are a perfectionist and that you sometimes have trouble letting go of tasks until you are absolutely sure that they are perfect.

You could then explain that you are working on this by setting deadlines for yourself and by delegating tasks to others when necessary.

Here are some other examples of weaknesses that you could mention in an interview:

Procrastination: “I sometimes procrastinate on tasks that I don’t enjoy, but I am working on this by setting deadlines for myself and by breaking down large tasks into smaller ones.”

Delegation: “I have difficulty delegating tasks to others, but I am working on this by learning to trust my colleagues and by giving them clear instructions.”

Communication: “I sometimes have difficulty communicating my ideas clearly, but I am working on this by practicing my communication skills with friends and family members.”

Organization: “I can be disorganized sometimes, but I am working on this by using to-do lists and by setting up systems to help me keep track of my work.”

Public speaking: “I get nervous when I have to speak in public, but I am working on this by taking public speaking classes and by practicing giving presentations to friends and family members.”

No matter what weakness you choose to mention, be sure to explain how you are working to improve it. This shows the interviewer that you are self-aware and that you are committed to personal growth.

What do you know about this company?

Before you enter the interview room, ensure that you go through the company website to read latest news, company profile, goals, management team, objectives, vision and mission; they will help you answer this question.

(where the company is unknown, do your research and be familiar with the business/industry you desire to build your career).

The question expects you to briefly describe what you read on their website and not what you imagine of the company.

Here is an example of how to answer the question “What do you know about our company?” for a customer care role at Google:

“I know that Google is a multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products.

It is one of the world’s most valuable companies, and it is known for its innovative products and services, such as the Google Search engine, the Android operating system, and the Google Cloud Platform.

I am also familiar with Google’s mission statement, which is to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’

I believe that this mission statement is very important, and I am excited to learn more about how Google is working to achieve it.

I am particularly interested in working for Google because I am passionate about customer service. I believe that Google is a company that values its customers, and I am committed to providing them with the best possible experience.”

Where is your career headed today? Does it have a future?

What is your salary expectation?

The question is tricky because as a fresh graduate you don’t have a clue what to be paid; simply ask them what they pay others of your level, if they fail to give a satisfactory answer then give them a reasonable range.

Ensure you do your research before you go to the interview room because you must be asked this question.

“I have researched salaries for similar positions in the area, and I have found that the average salary range is between Ksh. 30,000 and Ksh 40,000 per month.

I am flexible on my salary expectations, but I would like to be compensated fairly for my skills and experience.”

Do you have any question to ask the panel?

This is usually the last question that the interview panel asks interviewees; if you fail to ask them questions, you will lose some marks, always have a question to ask no matter what.

Ask them whether they have plans to expand their business, whether they support employees to further their studies and how they motivate employees.

You can pull a surprise by asking when you would start, it shows confidence. Here are some questions you can ask the interviewer at the end of your interview:

– What are the biggest challenges facing your team right now?

– What opportunities are there for professional development and growth in this role?

– What is the company culture like?

– What are your expectations for the first 90 days in this role?

– What are the next steps in the hiring process?

You can also ask more specific questions about the company’s plans, products, or services. For example, you could ask:

– Do you have any plans to expand your business into new markets?

– Are there any new products or services in the pipeline?

– How do you measure success in this role?

Here is an example of how to ask the question “When would I start?” in a confident way:

“I am very excited about the opportunity to work at your company, and I am eager to learn more about the role. When would I start if I were offered the position?”

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