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Monday, August 13, 2007

Predicting Interview Questions


Words by Francis Kahihu

When is the last time you attended an interview? You would bear me witness that the day you receive communication that you should attend an interview brings forth both pleasant and anxious emotions. The excitement however seems to be overshadowed by the fears related to the uncertainty of the nature of the interview.

In preparing for an interview, many begin wondering what will become of them during the actual process. Some feel overconfident while others fear they may not be up to the task. The truth however is, by the time a prospective employer calls you for an interview, there’s already have an impression that you have what it takes for the position. Woe unto those who manipulate their CVs to appear as though they meet the qualifications even when they well know they are far from qualifying. I have occasionally interacted with resumes that have very little representation of the senders. Desist from pasting your name on a generic resume. Be original. Be you.

How would you feel the week before the interview if you got a peek into the interviewers’ marking scheme? It would ease the tension within and give you the courage to face the panel. Today, I will take you through some common issues that many panelists will want to hear from you. Remember that in most cases, the Human Resource offices will invite five persons for every one position they intend to fill. This then ought to inform you that the competition is stiff and only the best carries the day. By ‘best’, we don’t always mean the most educated; neither does it always mean the most experienced. It just means the most appropriate person for the job in terms of attitude, personal drive, experience and training.

During the interview process, the panelists have with them notebooks on which to record their ratings of each candidate. They are graded by percentages hence each of the panelists eventually averages the performance after which the panel discusses each candidate.

There are questions that you ought to be prepared for always by the time you attend the interview session. Some of these questions are: Tell us about yourself. Why are you interested in joining our organization? If you are currently employed, why are you planning to leave your employer? Why do you think you qualify for this position? How much salary do you expect from us? Were you to be picked for this position, when is the earliest you will be available? These are a mouthful but would always find their way into the interview room, through whichever order.

For you to approach the session relaxed, it would be helpful to seek for responses on most of these questions. To ensure that your responses are relevant, as an interviewee, you will need to do a lot of background info-search so that you have as much information about the employer and the position as possible. You should seek to know about the successes and the challenges that the employer has recorded over the recent past. This makes the panel perceive you as an interested partner.

When asked to tell the panel about yourself, take that as the opportune moment to display your relevance for the position they are interviewing for. Do not beat about the bush by telling them about your place of birth, your favorite sport and your family. This could be said later but at the start, let them hear you as one with capacity to fit in their kind of environment. Hint at some of your most marketable skills, but only that which is relevant to the position or the organization.

And what’s your salary expectation? A number of times when I have been in panels, I have come across very interesting responses to this question. One man said, ‘I don’t know. Give me what you feel comfortable with’, while a lady responded by saying ‘Give me twenty thousand!’. For this question, there may not be a clear-cut response. What is needful is for you to conduct an informal market survey to establish how much salary is paid to persons of your training and experience by that kind employer. For this, you may want to interact with employees of the company to source for some information prior to the interview. Only remember not to seek for appointments with the bosses as this will lead to automatic disqualification since it’s regarded as canvassing.

Lastly, on issues of availability, for those who are unemployed, go ahead and let the panel know you are available immediately. However, for those who are employed and are seeking to change jobs, remember that your current employer needs some notice if you are to quit, hence let the panel know the amount of notice you need to give. This projects you as a responsible employee. If you portray yourself as one who is available immediately, the prospective employer will definitely suspect that if they offer you the opportunity, you will as well abandon them without notice.

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