Frequently Asked Interview Questions and Their Answers: Part 1

By Relebohile Sera

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Gearing up for a job interview requires intense preparation both mentally and physically. While there may be questions that are easy to answer, some necessitate thorough attention as they are designed to see how good you are at thinking on your feet thus you cannot truly prepare for them.

Here are a few of them and the best responses you can give out:

  1. What is your greatest weakness?

This is a negative question and it is common among hiring managers as it is effective for uncovering problems or weaknesses. The key to answering negative questions is to give them a positive spin.

For this particular question your best bet is to admit to a weakness that isn’t catastrophic, inconsistent, or currently disruptive to your chosen professional field, and to emphasize how you’ve overcome or minimized the problem.

Whatever you do, don’t answer this question with an evasion like “I can’t think of any,” or even worse, “I don’t really have any major weaknesses.” This is likely to eliminate you completely from the interview.


  1. Why change jobs now?

Tell the truth, but keep it positive. Don’t slander your past employers; putting down your past employers, colleagues and supervisors gives off the impression that you can’t let go of the past.

Instead outline things in a way that shows that you are enthusiastic to take on new opportunities and that the role you are interviewing for is better for you than your current or last position.


  1. What do you know about us?

Anyone can recite the company’s mission with their eyes closed, because that is information easily available on the company’s website. What recruiters need is for you to show that you care about that mission.

You can recite the company’s goals but go on to make it a bit personal by adding a few phrases like “I actually believe in this approach because…”


  1. Why should we hire you rather than someone else?

Focus on what makes you special and the strengths you bring to the table. These should be consistent with the four things most hiring managers are looking for in candidates during the job interview: competence, professionalism, enthusiasm, and likeability.

Remember that they are looking for a connection between you and them. Be prepared to summarize in a few seconds why you are the best candidate for the job. Also, let the hiring manager know you want the job and you will enjoy working with them. A lack of interest in the job may indicate a lack of enthusiasm for the job and them.


  1. Do you have any questions?

Never ever say you have no questions! Candidates who are genuinely interested in job opportunities always ask questions. Don’t be one of those who give the impression that you applied for the post only because you were desperate to get a job and you aren’t even concerned with the post.

Asking questions shows that you are confident, attentive and interested in the position. Ask questions that show that you did some research about the company. Use this time to shine and make it a point to ask questions that will have a fascinating answer or prompt a good discussion.