Job seekers everywhere like to be prepared before they step into any interview room. Whether you are new to the job seeking pool or you are an experienced hire, the aim is always to get the interviewer to like you and believe you are the best fit for the job. This is where people begin to wish they could tell the future or at least read minds. Well, there might be a way to help.

A study of interviewers from different businesses shows some sort of pattern in what the person(s) at the other end of the table hope to learn about you before they let you join their firm or client’s firm. Although most of the questions are now being asked on the application form, we have put together 8 of them which are still frequently asked, along with simple tips on what your interviewer expects to hear.

Can we know more about you?
Actually, this doesn’t come as a question. You will most likely be asked to say something that they can’t already see on the resume with the cue “tell me about yourself”. As much as you might want to give a biography, employers expect something simple and precise. There isn’t much time to go over some family history and what you have been doing for the past decade or half of it. Practicing a personal pitch helps a great deal with this question. A good pitch will focus on your professional self and achievements you’ve made. Achievements related to the role you are seeking are the best to put forward.

Why do you want to this role?
This question gives you an opportunity to show enthusiasm about the job you have applied for. Employers want to hire someone that loves what they do. Having passion for a role and the dynamics of the job are strong points you are ready for the job. Also, if the question didn’t come separately, it is also a nice opportunity to mention why you want the job at their firm particularly – maybe they are building something revolutionary or you just like the company culture.

What is your greatest strength/weakness?
In responding to this, it is important to share job relevant skills that you actually have, as most times you will be asked how you have demonstrated them in previous roles or general life situations. In speaking about weaknesses, your potential employer expects you to show honesty by expressing something (again, relevant to the job) that you are not great at. They also expect to hear how you are working to get better at it.

What is your biggest professional achievement?
This is another opportunity to pitch yourself. Most interviewers take the response to this question as a reason to hire you. Interviewers expect specificity. They want to hear about real and measurable accomplishments, especially ones that you could replicate if you were hired by their firm. It is best to choose milestones that are not just specific to your previous role but something most businesses can relate to such as sales milestones in record time, setting up a new supply chain strategy or project management excellence.

  Describe a time you showed leadership.

People talk about this as the ‘when’ question. Most interviewers are specific with what form of leadership skills they are looking out for and proceed with questions to discover if you possess those skills. The question usually comes in the line of; “can you tell me about a time when you…?” Most times, employers want to know about conflict resolution skills, team management, time management and more. This question can showcase your leadership style. In responding, give enough details but not too much to bore the interviewer and then proceed to state in clear terms what you did, the outcome and what it meant for your team or the business generally.

Why are you leaving your current employment?
Employers want to be sure they are hiring the right person. This question helps them understand a bit about what your professional life is about. Are you in the process of changing career paths? Were you sacked? Are you looking for a new challenge? Do you feel they are offering a bigger pay? Be honest and positive. Do not go ahead to say how you think your previous employer was terrible or lie about being laid off. Saying you were laid off might be the right thing to do because you don’t want this new employer finding out on their own. In expressing reason for leaving, your career growth is always a strong point.

What is your salary expectation?
This is not a blank cheque. It is not. People have missed opportunities despite impressing with every response just because a potential employer felt they couldn’t pay them. To be prepared for this question, know what people in similar or exact roles earn, give your potential employer a range and be open to reasonable negotiation. It’s okay to measure your worth against your experience and skills but try not to come off as being too focused on the pay.

Do you have a question for me?
An interview is a discussion not an interrogation. Interviewers understand this which is why they focus on making interviews interactive and even give you the opportunity to ask them questions. This question is an opportunity to understand more about the company or ask questions that help you know how things are around the company. Asking your interviewer what he enjoys most about his role might throw more light about life at the company, even helping you know the business from the inside.

These questions are very likely questions at your next interview. Preparing for them gives you an edge. The job market is becoming more competitive on a daily basis. Your ability to convince an interviewer that you have the skills they need is very important. Understanding what is expected and giving great responses brings you closer to your dream job and firsthand shows you have good communication skills. Stay confident with your responses and keep a smart smile. Best wishes at the next interview.

P.S: Always be prepared for a brainteaser too. If you think I missed anything, please let me know in the comment section below.
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