THE TOP 10 MOST VALUABLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR JOB APPLICANTS IN NIGERIA AND HOW TO ANSWER THEM WELL
Job interview is one of the recruitment processes basically employed by an employer to select the best applicant for the job or position. It usually is a one-on-one interview consisting of a conversation between a job applicant and representative(s) of an employer which is conducted to assess whether the applicant should be hired. Interviews are one of the most popularly used methods for employee selection. It is the perhaps the most important screening process in comparison with other means such as job attitude test. It should be known by an employee that interviews vary with respect to how the questions are structured. From a totally unstructured and freewheeling conversation to a structured interview in which an applicant is asked predetermined questions in an ordered manner. Based on research studies, structured interviews are usually more accurate in determining the possibility of an applicant making a good employee. So in this article today, I’ll be sharing on the top 10 most valuable interview questions applicants must know in Nigeria and how to answer them well. Enjoy!
A job interview typically proceeds the hiring decision. The interview is usually proceeded by the evaluation of submitted CVs or résumés from interested candidates. Next, after the screening a small number of candidates for interview is selected. Job interview is one of the most useful tools for evaluating potential employees and it also allows the candidates to access the cooperate culture and demands of the job. Hence, at some point in time everyone must face the daunting task of sitting for a job interview. Whether it is for just a job to keep you busy or the dream job you has always wanted, there are many things you have to be accustomed to before you get that job you have always wanted. Interview(s) will certainly take place and you will need to provide valuable answers to i the questions that will be asked.
Before I talk about the questions commonly asked in interviews and how to answer them, I will like to talk on the interview process as this will increase your chances of getting that dream job. Interview processes are usually in three phases.
The pre-interview phase which occurs before the interviewer and the job applicant actually meets.
The interview phase where the formal interview is conducted and lastly the post-interview phase where the Interviewer form judgment of candidate qualifications and makes final decisions. Although separate, these three phases have a perfect line of correlation between them.
Pre-interview phase: The pre-interview phase encompasses the basic information that are available to the interviewers beforehand such as CV or résumés, LinkedIn information and so on. In this phase interviewers are likely to have an ideas about the skills and abilities that would make the person qualify for the position based on the perception formed from the prior information the interviewer have had access to before the face-to-face interaction with the job applicant. Nowadays, with recent technological advancement, you must play safe by been aware that some interviewers have access to a whole wide range of information about you — the applicant. This information may be from LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blog, etc. While this information may be job related, some of it may not be. Despite the relevance of the information, any information interviewer obtains about an applicant before the interview is likely to influence their pre-interview impression on the applicant. Why is this important? It is important because what interviewers think about you before they meet with you, can have an effect on how they treat you during the interview.
Furthermore, researchers have found that what interviewers think about the applicant before the interview is related to how they evaluate the applicant after the interview.
Interview phase: The interview phase entails the actual conduct of the interview, the interaction between the interviewer and the job applicant. Initial interviewer’s impression about the applicant can influence the amount of time an interviewer spends in the interview with the applicant, the interviewer’s behaviour and questioning of the applicant and the interviewer’s post interview evaluation. As interview are typically conducted face-to-face or over the phone in Nigeria, it is then a social interaction between at least two individuals. Therefore, the behaviour of the applicant during the interview and response to questions play a very pivotal role in the applicant assessment.
Post interview phase: After the interview is conducted, the interviewer must form an evaluation of the interviewee’s qualification for the position. The interviewers takes into consideration all the information right from the pre-interview phase and integrate it to form a post interview evaluation of the applicant.
Now that you have known the various phases of interview. I will now share on the top 10 interview questions in Nigeria and how to answer them well.
The number one question goes thus; “tell me about yourself”. This seems like an easy interview question. It’s open ended! You applicant may think “I can talk about whatever, right?” The truth is that that prejudice is WRONG! What the hiring manager or interviewer really want from you is a quick one-to-two minutes snapshot of who you are and the attributes that qualify you as the best candidate for the position you are applying for. Therefore, tell me about yourself does not mean tell me everything about yourself. It implies, tell me what makes you the best! Use an example or two to back it up. Always point back to an example when you have the opportunity.
- Why should I hire you? The easy answer is that you are the best for the job! Don’t be afraid to say so. You then support your statement with what specifically differentiate you. For instance, you can respond this way. “You can hire me because I’m the most suitable person for this job. I realize that there are other candidates who also have the ability to do this job. Yet I bring an additional quality that makes me the best person for the job, my passion for excellence! I am passionately committed to producing truly world class results. For example……………..” This you should say with all confidence and be exact on your point.
- What is your long-range objective: your answer here should be to focus on your achievable objectives. For example: within the next 3-5 years, I would like to become the very best engineer your company has; an expert that others can rely upon and in doing so, I feel I will be fully prepared to take on any greater responsibility which might be presented in the long run. You then proceed further to tell the interviewer(s) this is what I am presently doing to prepare myself…Then go on to show by examples what you are doing to reach your goals and objective.
- How has your education prepared you for this job? This is a broad question and you need to focus on the behavioural examples in your education background which specifically align to the required competencies for the job. For example “my education has focused on not only learning the fundamental know-how of this job but also on the practical application of the information learned within those classes. For instance, I played a lead role in a class project where we required to design a mechanical waste bin that was to be used within the school campus. Let me tell you more about the results……..” Focus on behavioural examples supporting the key competencies for the job.
- Are you a team player? More than 90% of job applicants say yes to this question during an interview. But, it is not just a yes or no question, you need to provide behavioural examples to back up your answers. This is how a sample answer goes “yes, I am very much a team player. In fact, I have had opportunities in my project, within and outside school to develop my skills as a team player. For example, on a recent project…….” Your major focus should be to emphasize on teamwork behavioural examples and slim line on your openness to diversity. Emphasis also on the strength of a team above that of an individual. Note that this is sometimes used by an employer as a lead-in question to know your ability in handling conflict in a team, so be fully prepared for question like this.
- What is your greatest weakness? You should select a weakness that you have been actively working to overcome. For example I have had trouble in the past with prioritization. However, I am now taking steps to correct this. I have started using a pocket planner. Then explain your planner and how you are using it. Note that, at this point it is not advisable to present your strength as weakness as most career novels would advise. This is because doing so is, you are deceiving your interviewer(s) and at the same time missing the point of the question.
- Why have you been unemployed for such a long time? No organization or employer would like to hire an applicant who have had a long touch at work. This is because it will take a while before such applicant would pick up psychologically. The answer to give to such question should be “I enrolled myself for some advanced professional development courses with some freelance work” this will portrait to your interviewer(s) that your mind has been accurately actively engaged in handling or tackling intellectual challenges
- Tell me about your ability to work under pressure? This should go this way “I keep myself calm and focus on multitasking while being patient. Furthermore, your answer to this question should encompass example of situations where you have operated well under stress and also point out that you get a buzz out of working in a stressful environment as it keeps your mind focused and assist you in your performance.
- How long would you expect to work for us if hired? Why most interviewers ask this question is simply to know if your long term plan aligns with that of the organization. It won’t be worth it if they keep changing staff every couple months. Your respond to this question should be “as long as I feel challenged professionally”
- What is your current salary and how much can we pay you if hired? This is actually a checking question and you would want to give a noncommittal answer. Well, you must try and remember that all companies want to save as much money on salaries as they can and when you are offered the job, the chances indicate a package either similar or slightly more than what you are currently on. Therefore, an appropriate answer to this question should be that you are more interested in the whole package that includes salary and other benefits. By saying this you are been noncommittal and it will make negotiating an acceptable package far easier.
Hence, there are going to be certain questions that will arise at your interview that you can pretty much expect to get asked at any other interview you attend. The great thing about this is the fact that you can rehearse your answer to these questions and have enough time practicing the answers. This will make it flow off you with confidence. These questions are likely to be fired at any applicant who faces any interview. Sometimes, they might sound personal to you. Notwithstanding, they are pretty standard interview questions!
Therefore, you have to be confident about the answers you will give and you would definitely adopt answers according to your situation. Don’t go to an interview with the mind-set of answering questions alone also do your homework concerning the organization and prepare questions for them too and ask the interviewer(s) when the opportunity comes.
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Serial Entrepreneur - International Business Planning Consultant - Speaker - Trainer - Author - Blogger - Network Marketing professional.
- 2018 SME Business Trainer and Coaching Advisor at GIZ for SME Loop.
- 2018 YALI RLC Online Cohort 9
- 2017 Fellow, Inspire Africa Train-the-Trainer Entrepreneurship programme sponsored by US Consulate Lagos and the Dickey Center, U.S.A.
- 2016 Fellow, Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme
- 2015 Top 50 Innovative Entrepreneurs, BET5 by Diamond Bank and EDC, PAU.
He is an alumnus of Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Lagos Business School (LBS), Pan-Atlantic University (PAU). Through his training, mentoring, speaking and coaching programmes, he has empowered many young people over the years to start and grow their own business, build wealth, create multiple streams of income and achieve financial independence.
- He is a Certified Trainer in Design Thinking by the U.S Consulate, Lagos and the inspire Africa Entrepreneurship Institute.