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Job Interview Questions: What To Expect

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Today, I’ll do a quick one. This blog post provides an overview of the flow and nature of job interview questions in a classic job interview. It is a general guide of what-you-must be prepared to answer, rather than what-you-have to know. Many thanks to frequent readers of my column here, #AskKharunda, for your useful feedback that inspired this blog post.

What I offer here is not a substitute for professional career coaching advice or HR expertise. These are notes from personal experience: either as the interviewer or as a job seeker, who has failed a fair share of job interview questions.

Question One: First of all keep time. Time keeping is the first job interview question. It’s a question that’s not vocalized when asked, but rather observed. It is part of the larger question about your punt for the job: Are you dressed appropriately? What vibes does your body language speak? How well do you communicate?

Question Two: Every interview of begins with greetings. Be proactive with the greetings. Spread the love, but as in every social situation, be astute in recognizing situations that require you to be the dove rather than the hawk – You can greet the panel or can wait to be greeted.

Question Three: I like to call this the listening test. It is designed to test your ability to take instructions (train-ability) and to allow the interviewee gather their wits before the questions roll (ability to work under pressure). Often, after the salutations, the interviewers might offer an introduction of the organization and position.

It often includes the organization’s history, vision, mission and culture. Possibly an overview of the advertised vacancy background, expectations and duty station . If this is the path chosen, do what’s expected of you to ace this and the coming job interview questions- listen!

Interjections or other forms of negative vibe like twitching, coughing or turning the session into a show of your clumsiness is a fail. Then one of the panelists will then shoot the first “straight’ question.

Question Four: This is often a straight question gleaned off information that you provided in your resume. It can be anything as awkward as , “Tell us about yourself”. This looks like a very simple question. But it is the question that can make or break you. Mentioning that your father was once a seminarian or that your mother is the chair lady of the local chapter of women in entrepreneurship probably isn’t the best use of this opportunity.

This question guides subsequent questions, often to clarify, unless the interview is very structured. If too many clarification questions are asked, it might mean that your credentials don’t add up. That you are a fake. Or have some other serious flaw for the interview panel not to have heard about your career exploits. Often it’s just a cue that it’s about time to get a professional resume done. 

Question Five: This is the billion dollar question: What are your salary expectations?  Lets clear the first misconception about this most laden of job interview questions. It does not mean that you have gotten the job. Far from it. Often, the panel is weighing your offer as a surrogate of your greed or modesty. The figure you mouth could at best be useful in  providing a base to counteroffer to the best candidate.

Cynicism aside, what if you are best candidate for the job? If you did your background search well, then you’ll comfortably answer this. It is wise to give a salary range. If you do not have an answer, express to the interview panel your comfort in fitting within their salary scales.

5 Quick Tips To Ace Job Interview Questions

  1. Posture is power. Sit upright, head high, shoulders up. Feet flat but not crossed. Look at the panelists straight in the face as you talk. Do not fidget with anything.
  2. Talk confidently. Practice before a mirror, in front of a spouse. Take up roles at your local church/community that demand effective communication.
  3. Tactfully avoid areas of competencies that you are not very good at. Remember to highlight special encounters in your previous duties that closely tie in with the current position.
  4. Gracefully link your answers to the job interview questions to your CV. Do not take too  long answering questions. Practice being succinct. Let the panel know when you are through with your answer.
  5. A good number of questions will then come from the job advert. These will mostly query your competencies. If you read the advert well and incorporated it in your CV by using it as a guide in crossing t’s and doting the i’s then this part will be a walk over.

Finally, when the interview panel asks if you got a question for them, you can decline the offer if the interview process gave you sufficient reason to. Normally though, this is an opportunity to find out how long it will take to hear from them if you are he successful candidate.

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