Best Answers To
151 Most Frequently
Asked Job Interview
A Guide To Preparing
For Job Interview
Eugene C. Onyibo
Best Answers To
151 Most Frequently
Asked Job Interview
A Guide To Preparing
For Job Interview
© Eugene C. Onyibo (2012)
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means – mechanical, electronic, photocopy, recording, scanning or otherwise, without the express written consent of the publisher.
For all Comments and Enquiries,
Contact the Publisher
Skyheight Success Consult
P. O. Box 104 Oshodi Post Office, Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria
www.skyheightsuccess.org, [email protected]
To my highly esteemed sister,
Augustina C. Ekwuazi,
for being a mother to all her siblings,
and to her husband,
Chris C. Ekwuazi,
for tolerating the ‘inconvenience’.
Table of Contents
Job Interview Questions on Past Job(s)
Job Interview Questions on the Organisation
Job Interview Questions on Your Career
Job Interview Questions on Past Employers
Job Interview Questions on Working with People
Job Interview Questions on Salary, Promotion and Benefits
Job Interview Questions on Success and Failure
Job Interview Questions on Stress Management
Job Interview Questions on Goal-Setting
Questions for Employer(s)/Interviewer(s)
Job Interview Questions for Fresh Graduates
I express sincere gratitude to all who contributed in various ways and in various capacities towards making this publication a success. May the almighty God reward you very generously.
I express an unalloyed gratitude to my wife, Ijeoma, for her love, support and encouragement. She is unarguably one of the bests and greatest of all God’s gifts and blessings to my life. I thank my children, Chimamaka and Chioma. God has afforded me the opportunity to have a firsthand experience of the joys and challenges of fatherhood through the blessings of your births. I appreciate my wife and children for the neglects they endured from me while I was writing this book.
I owe a debt of lifetime gratitude to the members of my natal family. I thank my beloved father (Late Chief Eugene N. Onyibo) and my mother (Mrs. Patricia O. Onyibo) for prioritising the education and moral formation of their children and also for always building a home in the house. I am grateful to them for the sacrifices they jointly made in life in order to give bright futures to their children. I also thank my sisters (Augustina Ekwuazi, Georgina Ifechukwu and Carol Anyagwa), my brother (Valentine Onyibo), sister-in-law (Lovet Onyibo) and brothers-in-law (Chris Ekwuazi, Joseph Ifechukwu and Emma Anyagwa).
I am perpetually indebted to Olumide Emmanuel for motivating me to success through his inspirational teachings. I thank him for speaking books out of me. Indeed, his teachings helped me discover the purpose of my existence. I thank Dr. Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase whose programmes at Success Attitudes Development Centre (SADC), Lagos helped me discover myself. I also thank Sam Adeyemi for being an enviable mentor whose teachings have positively influenced my life in indescribable ways.
I am very grateful to Chief Frank A. Odita who is, by every standard, a father and mentor to me. I am highly indebted to him for his paternal love, care and supports. I am also very grateful to Prof. Michael Ogunjimi and Engr. Humphrey Mgbemena for their paternal love, care and supports. I say a big thank you to a great friend and companion, Paul Elumah, for his relentless support to my publications and all my projects. Indeed, his friendship has taught me that a good friend is one of the most valuable treasures and assets anyone can have. I thank Chief (Engr.) Martin Onovo MNSE, SPE for his support to my projects.
I also thank Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Ethelbert Arua OSJ for being a close friend, confidant, counselor and spiritual director. I am also grateful to Paul Ibe, a friend indeed, for his ever willingness to offer a helping hand. I extend my thanks to Izuchukwu Arinze, Sir Emeka Nnodebe and Steve Edeh for being very good mentors and companions in Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. I also thank my childhood friends, Nelson Chiezie, Felix Obiekwe and Humphry Mmuoneke. I also thank my friends, relations, mentors and fans for always believing in me and also for always encouraging me to believe in myself.
The level of unemployment, especially among graduates, is increasing at an alarming rate in many countries. In some countries, unemployment has become a national embarrassment. There are some factors that are responsible for this ugly situation. The primary factor is that there are limited employment opportunities for unlimited unemployed people. This is why the government (at all levels) are encouraged to prioritise the creation of job opportunities for their citizens, especially the unemployed ones.
Another factor that is often implicated in the high level of unemployment is that many unemployed people, especially graduates, are unemployable. The reason is that most of them cannot defend the certificates they have. They passed through school but school did not pass through them. They went to tertiary institutions to acquire certificates, but not knowledge. However, a common factor that accounts for the high level of unemployment is that getting a job requires specialised knowledge and skills.
It is a pity that most graduate job seekers are deficient of these specialised knowledge and skills because they are not (adequately) taught in school. This is why the level of unemployment is also high among exceptionally intelligent graduates who graduated with good grades. It is most unfortunate that most job seekers are ignorant of this factor that is responsible for their abortive efforts at getting a job, even after attending many job interviews.
Specialised knowledge and skills are neither intuitive nor speculative in nature. Consequently, they cannot be acquired by intuition or reasoning/speculation. Since there is no provision for them in the school curriculum, most students graduate from tertiary institutions with insufficient knowledge on how to get jobs. Since these knowledge and skills must be possessed by a job seeker before he can convince a prospective employer that he is the best candidate for the position he applied for, but most job seekers are deficient of them, it becomes difficult for most people to get jobs after graduating from tertiary institutions.
This book, Best Answers to 151 most frequently asked Job Interview Questions: A Guide to Preparing for Job Interview, is designed to assist job seekers acquire the specialised knowledge and skills they need to get jobs. It is the second book in the Complete Manual for Job Seekers, a book series that is designed to offer a reliable guide to job seekers on how to get their dream jobs. This book is most helpful for job seekers who are invited for job interviews. It enlightens this category of people on the expectations of prospective employers from them during job interviews. In addition, it offers them very reliable guides on how to impress job interviewers and be considered the best candidates for the positions they applied for (after job interviews).
However, it may be partly helpful to job seekers who are yet to be invited for job interviews. The reason for this claim is that it makes no sense preparing for a job interview if you will not be invited for one. Revising the best answers to most frequently asked job interview questions is the last phase in recruitment education. The earlier phases have to do with how to identify job opportunities and how to compose winning job application packages. These phases are very important because a job seeker may never have the opportunity to face a job interview panel if he does not learn them and properly apply them in his job search activities.
It is worthy of note that many job seekers are unaware of many job vacancy advertisements until it is too late to respond to them. In addition, most job seekers’ hopes of getting jobs are often aborted by their poorly prepared job application packages. Most applications for jobs are not considered for several reasons. Worse still, it is worthy of note that most applications for jobs are rejected by factors which are unknown to most job seekers. This is why their efforts at getting jobs continuously prove abortive.
The first book in the Complete Manual for Job Seekers addresses these problems. It is titled What Employers want from Job Seekers: How to get your Dream Job. The book addresses issues in job search – how not to get a job, why an organisation will hire you, what employers do not want you to know, when not to look for a job, job seekers’ myths, how to identify job opportunities, how to compose a winning job application package (a winning CV and a cover letter), why job applications are disqualified, tips for applying for a job, added advantages for job seekers, tips for preparing for job interview, strategic job interview, aptitude test, dressing tips for job interview, etc. The book was concluded with fifty five (55) introductory job interview questions.
Except you already have an invitation for a job interview, you are advised to study the first book in the series (What Employers want from Job Seekers: How to get your Dream Job) before reading this book. If you disregard this counsel, you may never have the opportunity to sit before a job interviewer to justify why you are the best candidate for your application for a job, despite knowing what to say in order to successfully defend your application.
The third (and last) book in the Complete Manual for Job Seekers is Now you have got a Job, What Next?: How to get Job Promotion, Increase Your Income and Retire Rich. It has been observed that some employees’ appointments are abruptly and prematurely terminated because they are ignorant of the secrets of building successful careers as employees. It has also been observed that most workers settle for lives of mediocrity after getting jobs. This is why they are unable to derive optimum benefits from their jobs. This is also why most employees have nothing meaningful to show for their jobs (sometimes, all through their working years) even when they are high income earners.
The book, Now you have got a Job, What Next?: How to get Job Promotion, Increase Your Income and Retire Rich, contains proven practical strategies used by the highest paid employees across the globe. It is designed to assist employees to derive fulfillment and optimum benefits from their jobs by understanding the rationale of working and the secrets of getting job promotion and increasing their incomes. It also enlightens employees on how to retire rich so that they will not be liabilities to anyone, especially their children, when their working years are over.
The Complete Manual for Job Seekers is an authoritative guide for job seekers in getting their dream jobs. The first two books in the manual (i.e. What Employers want from Job Seekers: How to get your Dream Job and Best Answers to 151 most frequently asked Job Interview Questions: A Guide to Preparing for Job Interview) contain the best answers to over 200 most frequently asked job interview questions. The ability of a job seeker to digest the contents of the books unarguably enhances his chances of getting a job, even faster than he thinks. This is why they are recommended to all (categories of) job seekers.
The last book in the manual, Now you have got a Job, What Next?: How to get Job Promotion, Increase Your Income and Retire Rich, is particularly recommended to employees who are passionate about making a difference in their careers. The book is specially designed to help employees to get the best results from their jobs. It is worthy of note that what job seekers require to get the best results from their jobs is part of what they need to know to impress interviews during job interviews. This is why you are strongly encouraged to study the Complete Manual for Job Seekers before facing a job interview panel. Doing so will unarguably give you an invaluable edge and advantage over your fellow job seekers in the job search process and job screening.
A special Audio Report from Eugene C. Onyibo for Readers of Best Answers to 151 most frequently asked Job Interview Questions Only.
It is very likely that you are a young and/or fresh graduate as a reader of this eBook. This means that you have just graduated from school. The experiences of most graduates in contemporary times lend credence to the fact that education does not guarantee financial success any more. Many graduates are unemployed, while a good number of the employed ones merely struggle to meet their basic financial needs. Worse still, a good number of unemployed graduates cannot be self-employed. The ugly experiences of most graduates in the real life are rooted in the fact that there is a missing link between education and financial success, which is not bridged by the school system. What is this missing link? How can graduates achieve happy and prosperous lives? As a way of saying thank you for (purchasing and) reading this book, the author – Eugene C. Onyibo – has prepared a special eBook “A Handbook for Fresh Graduates”. The eBook is aimed at making available to you the information that will assist you achieve a happier, brighter, more blissful and more prosperous life (as a fresh graduate).
To get the eBook,
There are three basic stages in getting a job. The first stage has to do with identifying a job vacancy. It is impossible to get a job you are ignorant of its existence. When a job seeker identifies a job vacancy he desires to occupy, and also considers himself qualified to occupy; he creates a relationship with the prospective employer by expressing interest in the (vacant) position. He achieves this by making a formal application for the vacant position. This is usually done in writing. This is the second stage in getting a job.
The last stage in the process (of getting a job) is attending a job interview. Successful candidates after job interviews are issued with letters of appointment. This is the intended end of the job search process by every job seeker. Most unfortunately, only a very negligible percentage of job seekers achieve this. It is worthy of note that different job seekers lose out at different stages in the process (of getting a job).
For instance, while many job seekers are unable to apply for job vacancies because they are ignorant of their existence, most people who apply for jobs are not shortlisted for interviews. Worse still, most job seekers who attend job interviews are not offered appointments. Serious efforts and preparations are often required to excel at each of the stages of getting a job.
Identifying job opportunities is a very difficult task for many job seekers. As a matter of fact, most job seekers are ignorant of job recruitments until they are over. Identifying job vacancies usually does not occur by accident. It is often the reward of serious job search activities. In addition, most job applicants are ignorant of how to compose winning job application packages that are irresistible to their prospective employers. This is why most people who apply for jobs are not shortlisted for interviews.
The need for job interview arises when an application has been considered and the applicant is invited by the prospective employer. Invitation for job interview is unarguably the reward of a wining job application package. The stages in getting a job get tougher and harder as they progress. This is why the last stage in the process, attending a job interview, is unarguably the most difficult. However, any job seeker who is able to cross this bridge becomes an employee because job interview is often the last bridge between job seeking and employment.
The claim that job interview is the most difficult in the stages in getting a job implies that the fact that a job applicant is invited for an interview does not imply that getting the job is guaranteed. At best, it may suggest that the applicant has a chance of getting the job. Many applicants, however, could be invited to be interviewed for a single vacant position because employers often believe that, all things being equal, the higher the number of people they interview, the higher the chances of getting better employees.
Job interviews provide opportunities for prospective employers to select the applicants they consider the best (among other applicants) to occupy vacant positions in their organisations. Job interviews also afford employers the opportunity to ascertain what job seekers have to offer their organisations if they are offered appointments. Job interviews also afford job seekers the opportunity to find out if the prospective employers are good enough for them. These show that job interviews are mutually beneficial to prospective employers and job seekers.
In other words, job interviews afford prospective employers and job applicants opportunities to interact (physically) in order to identify if their interests are mutually compatible. This is achieved through a series of questions and answers. However, most of the questions flow from prospective employers to job applicants. Towards the end of job interviews, job seekers/applicants are usually afforded the opportunity of asking prospective employers questions in order to find out if the organisation meets their expectations for working if they are offered appointments.
During job interviews, prospective employers strive to midwife the competencies of job seekers by reading in between the lines in the answers they offer to their questions. They also strive to discover the job seekers that meet their expectations. The chances of getting a job is high for every job seeker who is able to convince the interviewer (beyond every reasonable doubt) that he is the best person for the position he applied for. The job seekers who are unable to achieve this are usually rejected.
It is worthy of note that most job seekers fail woefully during job interviews. This accounts for why most people who attend job interviews are denied appointments. Worse still, there are some instances all job interviewees are rejected, despite the fact that the organisation is in dire need of employees, and the job seekers are also in dire need of the jobs. This is the experience of some organisations, especially multinational corporations.
Indeed, it could be frustrating for a job seeker to be informed of recruitment for a position he considers himself qualified to occupy when the exercise is over. It could also be frustrating for a job seeker to apply for a position he considers himself qualified to occupy without being invited for interview. However, nothing could be more frustrating and embarrassing in the job search process than being invited for a job interview but having no answer for the questions from the interviewer(s), or giving the wrong answers to the right questions.
As a matter of fact, nothing could be more painful than seeing a job opportunity you are in dire need of slipping through your fingers (through a fault of yours) while you stare at it helplessly. Not being invited for a job interview is the first level of rejection of job seekers (by organisations), but being rejected after a job interview is the last, worst and highest level of rejection in the job search process. Some job seekers have had this ugly experience several times. The crux of their predicaments is that they are aware of their problems but grossly ignorant of the solution.
If a job seeker is rejected by an organisation because of a factor that is intolerable; he will remain unemployed for as long as he remains ignorant of why he is unemployable. Only recruitment education can cure this ‘illness’. Recruitment education is the only light that dispels the darkness of job seekers’ ignorance in the job search process. Unfortunately, there are limited opportunities of recruitment education.
One of the implications of this claim is that there is limited literature on recruitment education. How many books have been published in recruitment education? How many authors are famous for their publications in recruitment education? Another implication of the above claim is that there are limited opportunities for training in recruitment education. How many organisations specialise in recruitment education? One of the consequences of this ugly situation is that most job seekers will perpetually remain unemployed and unemployable because they will never be able to acquire the specialised knowledge and skills that would assist them get jobs.
It is worthy of note that nothing should be taken for granted during a job interview. There is nothing like a small mistake in a serious endeavour like job interview. A job seeker could be disqualified because of a wrong answer to a question, despite the fact that he may have impressed the interviewer with the answers he offered to all the other questions. Hence, a wrong answer to a job interview question is good enough to disqualify a job seeker from the job screening process at interview stage, despite the fact that he may offer the right answers to all the other questions.
Besides, the performance of a job seeker during an interview determines whether he will get the job or not. Hence, the opportunity of a job seeker to convince the interviewer(s) that he is the best person for the position he applied for is over when the job interview is over. However, a job seeker requires serious prior preparation in order to be able to convince the interviewer that he is the best person for the position he applied for. A job seeker is not expected to start preparing for a job interview when he receives an invitation (for an interview) because the time may be inadequate.
Sometimes, it may be too late to commence preparation for a job interview when the invitation comes. Besides, the earlier a job seeker starts preparing for a job interview, the higher the chances of being better prepared for the interview. This is why job seekers should be prepared for interviews even before applying for a job.
In addition, if a job seeker knows the necessary preparations that are required to excel in a job interview, he will admit that they cannot be made overnight. If a job seeker knows what it takes to excel in a job interview, he will admit with ease that the preparation cannot be made in a haste, if he is really serious about getting the job.
What are the secrets of job interview success? How can a job seeker convince a prospective employer that he is the best person for the position he applied for? What are the differences between job seekers who are offered appointments after interviews and those that are rejected? How can a job seeker prepare for a job interview? This book, Best Answers to 151 most frequently asked Job Interview Questions: A Guide to Preparing for Job Interview, answers these questions and many more.
This book offers job seekers very reliable guides to impressing job interviewers and/or prospective employers (during job interviews) by telling them what they want to hear. Its contents will be a reliable guide to job seekers in getting their dream jobs by being able to outsmart their prospective employers during job interviews. It guides job seekers, in a very simplified way, on what to say and what not to say during job interviews. The contents of this book will unarguably make a job seeker a unique candidate who will hardly be rejected after a job interview.
This book (Best Answers to 151 most frequently asked Job Interview Questions: A Guide to Preparing for Job Interview) is a MUST READ for every job seeker. It will be very helpful to anyone who is sincerely in need of a job. It is highly recommended to fresh graduates. It will also be very helpful to undergraduates, unemployed people, employees who want to get better jobs, religious leaders, teachers, parents, etc. In addition, this book will offer a very reliable guide to entrepreneurs and personnel/human resources managers in recruiting employees for their organisations.
Eugene C. Onyibo Lagos, Nigeria. June, 2012.
Job Interview Questions on Past Job(s)
1. Can you tell us about your work history?
Questions on work history are usually among the introductory questions during a job interview. The interviewer wants to know where you have been in order to understand where you are going. The interviewer expects applicants to be able to talk about their work history in detail. You should be able to tell the interviewer about your past employers, job titles, dates of past appointments, resignation(s), layoff(s), etc. You should study the job application package you submitted very carefully before attending a job interview in order to ensure that the contents correspond with your oral claims. This is one of the tips for job interview .
2. Your curriculum vitae shows that you have relevant experience. Do you have any evidence for that?
The interviewer asks this question when he wants to see your letter(s) of past appointment(s). It is worthy of note that most job seekers who have worked with an/some organisation(s) before applying for another job are usually embarrassed by this question because they do not attend job interviews with their letter(s) of past appointment(s). It may be an added advantage if a job interviewee can present (a) letter(s) of recommendation from past employer(s), in addition to the letter(s) of past appointment(s). It is also worthy of note that only the original copies of such documents are acceptable during a job interview. Besides, it is worthy of note that any alteration on such document renders it invalid.
3. What can you say about your last job?
Do not speak about your last job in a negative way. If you do so, you be denied of appointment because the interviewer may be convinced that you will also speak about the job you applied for in his organisation in a negative way if you (want to) join another organisation.
It was a very interesting experience. I enjoyed the work environment because the management and staff of the organisation saw themselves as a team. Though the remuneration was low, the wealth of experience I amassed from it is more valuable than silver and gold because it prepared me for greater positions.
4. To what extent were you able to meet your expectations from your last job(s)?
In addition to questions on your job history, interviewers also want to know your expectations from your past job(s), and the extent they were met. There is no wrong or right answer to this question since different people could have different expectations from the same job. You should respond to this question by explaining your expectations when you accepted your past appointment(s). If your first job was in a small organisation and you needed it to acquire experience that will qualify you for bigger jobs, you should mention it. If your objective was defeated, you should also say it. However, ensure that your responses are related to your application. Do not focus on your colleagues, employers, etc.
5. If you can turn back the hand of time, what would you do differently about your work life?
In every endeavour in life, there is always a factor that would have catalysed success if it were known earlier. This is what the interviewer wants to find out about your experiences as a worker.
Knowing what I know now, I would have joined my professional institute earlier than I did.
If I had known earlier, I would have exploited the opportunities for professional advancement my professional body has.
6. What were your responsibilities in your last job?
You should be able to describe the duties that were attached to the position you occupied in the last organisation you worked with. This is the information the interviewer requires from you.
7. What was the greatest challenge you had in your last job and how did you manage it?
In answering this question, ensure that you talk about a particular difficult situation and how you conducted a research before finding a reliable solution to the organisational challenge. Employers are most interested in innovations that reduced cost, increased sales/income, attracted more clients, etc. It will be an added advantage if the greatest challenge you mention is related to the position you applied for.
My first job was with a small organisation. I observed that about 30% percent of the overhead costs of the company was being spent in printing fliers for advertisement of the products and services of the company. I challenged myself to evolve how to minimize the cost of advertisement without compromising attracting more customers. So, I solicited the permission and support of the management to learn how to print fliers so that the organisation would produce the fliers itself. The request was approved and funded by the management of the company. That skill reduced our cost of printing by 75% and the management was very glad about that. I then recommended that 50% of the 75% of the money saved from advertisement should also be re-invested in advertisement in order to boost the business. That increased the number of our new customers despite the fact that it reduced our cost of advertisement.
During my last job, I observed that many of the company’s clients were lost to the competitors. During my research, I observed that there were some incentives the competitors offered them, which were lacking in the organisation. I also observed that the organisation had no way of keeping in touch with old clients. When the recommendations I made to address these challenges were effected, the organisation gained more clients, in addition to keeping most of the old ones, unlike before then.
8. What did you enjoy best in your last job?
The best answers to this question should have long term significance. Hence, you should not say that the thing you enjoyed best in your last job was the remuneration. In addition, the thing you enjoyed best in your last job should be reasonable. You should not say that what you enjoyed best in your last job was having a jovial colleague.
My last job was very challenging and demanding. That afforded me the opportunity to develop myself to a level that qualifies me for employment in a bigger organisation.
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Job interview is usually the last and most difficult stage in the process of getting a job. Most job seekers are rejected after successive job interviews because they cannot justify why they are the best candidates for the positions they applied for. Consequently, they stare helplessly at amazing job opportunities slip through their fingers, despite the fact that they are in dire need of the jobs. Worse still, some organisations are unable to employ most (and sometimes, none) of their job applicants after their screenings because they (job seekers) are unable to convince them (prospective employers) that they are qualified for their applications. Many job seekers, even those who graduated with good grades, will remain unemployed (even for the rest of their lives) because they are ignorant of the expectations of prospective employers from job seekers during job interviews. The eBook, Best Answers to 151 Most Frequently Asked Job Interview Questions: A Guide To Preparing For Job Interview, offers a reliable guide to job seekers on how to excel in job interviews. As the name implies, it contains 151 most frequently asked job interview questions and best answers to them. It is recommended to all categories of job seekers.