Questions to Expect During an Interview 


By Prof R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria 

Are your going for a job interview? Then expect to be ssked some questions and prepare enough for them. The number of questions or the layers in a hiring process is sometimes a function of the size of organisation hiring. Each organisation should identify need for extra hands and make provisions for the hiring and maintaining the staff so hired. Nevertheless, there is always an element of gambling when hiring new staff. 
Every growing organisation comes to that point where they begin hiring new staff because of expansion and growing or because of the need to replace old retiring hands. If  an organisation is small, a bad hire can severely handicap the intended replacements or growing. Regardless of size of the  organization,  no one ever  wants to make a bad hire.  But it is almost impossible to completely avoid making a bad hire. Therefore, and no matter how many layers of hiring process,  no matter how many assessments  done, there’s always a gamble when hiring new staff.
Similarly applicants intending to join organisations should be aware of basic requirements and train self to meet demand. Recently the public has been rumoured saying that new graduates are unemployable. We don’t know what employers mean by that sweeping statement but we envisage that employers are looking for top level professionals they can hire with minimum cost. Here our claim is that at least 99% of Nigerian graduates are employable judging from the robust training we offer them in their  respective courses at our universities. 
Both employers and applicants are to note and examine the candidates fairly, including asking questions that touch on each of these areas.

1. Questions on History and Experience.  

These questions here address 

a. Education, 

b. Work  history

c. Responsibilities, 

d. Why they are leaving their current place of employment, 

e. What  they found most fulfilling and demotivating in their work history,

f  General information about the candidate. 
2. Questions on Academic and Professional  Growth 

a. Institutions attended and certificates earned,

b. Project already completed and those in progress  (if any),

c. If they have ever been charged to court, or elsewhere and why,

d. History of leadership and commitment to duty.
3. Questions on Character and Emotionally Prepared

Character is a non-negotiable attributes  when hiring staff. Even if the interview will be brief the character questions addressing integrity, strengths and weaknesses, health challenges etc cannot be overlooked. These questions may include how the candidate has been handling past moral or ethical dilemmas, and whether or not the candidate has ever been involved in adultery, theft, child abuse, even questions on religion and level of tolerance, etc.
4. Questions on Ethical  Values and Philosophy 

To avoid hiring the wrong staff the committee should do  

(a) a personality assessment and an emotional intelligence assessment. 

(b)  give opportunity to see the candidates and to interact with the interview panel  team face to face. 

(c) Ask them questions about their core values as well as if there’s a particular section of the organazation  that they resonate with most,

(d) Ask if they are coming with new ideas to this organisation and their intended  potential contribution,

(e) whether the referees have something to follow on them.

5. Questions on Passion for the Job

Because  a candidate has the right skill set to do the job doesn’t mean they will find fulfillment in the role. There must be passion for what they will be doing. Passion questions include:

a. What is important to you in this organisation? 

(b) Test on ability to lead a team or work with colleagues?

(c) What do you consider to be your life mission or life goals?

(e) Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?

(f) How would a role on our team help you further fulfill your life mission and goals?

(g) Is this candidate trainable?
6. Questions on Competence 

These are questions drilling down on the candidate’s ability to do the job, their experience and how nature has uniquely wired them. Competence questions include:

 Where do you fall on the Manager scale?

What kind of leader are you?

What are your natural abilities and skills and how are you using them?

 Would you consider yourself more “task-oriented” or “people-oriented”? 

Which one puts emotional energy in your sails?

What computer programs are you proficient in?

What in your previous work environments contributed to your success, things beside your own personal competencies?

On a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the best) how would you rank your time management skills? Attention to detail? Self-Starter? Follow-Through on Tasks and Projects?

 Other questions specifically related to the role and experience in areas related to the role the candidate is being considered. 
7. General Questions

Conclude your questions by asking 

how soon they would be available to start should an offer be extended?

How  their family feels about the opportunity? 

What  their specific salary requirements are, if different from advertised? 
8. Finally, you need to give the candidate the opportunity to ask you questions as well. In fact, a good interview is not just about you interviewing them, but them having the opportunity to interview you too.

Question: What questions have you found helpful in the interview process?
9. Applicants are to note each of the following unwritten rules

(a) Dress neatly and appropriately. Don’t  over dress or be inappropriate. Not every panel likes strong perfume or odour.

(b) Carry your  original credentials along.

(c) Switch off your handsets throughout the interview may last or don’t come in with them.

(d) Avoid taking excuses to go out for anything during the interview, eg ease self, pick something in the bag outside, etc.

(e) Should the interview start very late, or run to the night, try and comport self. Patience is part of the interview. 

Best wishes