22.06.2013 Career & Money

Handling Difficult Interview Questions

By Sina Adelaja-Olowoake, The Employment Coach
Handling Difficult Interview Questions
LISTEN JUN 22, 2013

When we go for interviews what usually puts us on the edge is the moment we have to face the panel and verbally answer questions. For a lot of the people this is the real interview.

Given the heat this generates, I have decided to look at a few of these questions with a view of giving a guide on how to answer them. My answers are by no means the 'best' but a professional attempt at helping candidates.

Before I go on I would like to give a few tips on attending interviews;

Practice likely interview scenarios
Learn to listen keenly, understanding the questions before you answer.

If you don't understand a question, do not be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat.

Think of examples to buttress your answers beforehand.

Do not attend an interview without doing some research on the company interviewing.

Q1. 'Tell us about yourself'
This is usually the opening questions but not in all cases. Perhaps it's best to start by saying it's not about your bio data or your political ambition. It's a marketing opportunity to highlight what skills you already possess and how this can be utilized in your new role. I have sat at interviews and heard candidates going on about their family lineage and place of origin. Please do not follow suit. If you are going to talk about your history, limit it to education and career. Keep it short. Do not be talkative. Maximum two minutes.

Q2. 'Your degree does not match the job'
A tricky one meant to put you on the defensive. Sadly this has been the downfall of some candidates. I have seen candidates go from shocked silence to pleading with tears. Instead of being dumbfounded, all that is required is that you demonstrate the ability to function in the new role despite having studied something else. Focus on the skills you picked up in school which will stand you in good stead in carrying out the roles associated with the new position. Skills such as interpersonal skills, good communication skills, ability to prioritize workload, work on own initiative as well as being part of a team.

Q3. 'Why do you want to work for us?'
The simple interpretation of this question is how much do you know about what we do and how do you see yourself fitting in. If you haven't done your homework on researching this company, it will become evident here. Don't give ridiculous answers like 'I want to work for you because I like your company name'.

If the company is a retailer for example, you might say you love it's approach to customer service and you believe you possess the skills and ability to contribute to it. It's about how you would function in the job. So a good knowledge of the organization is essential in answering this question. Make them feel you are the one they have been waiting for. Tell them how you see yourself fitting in and probably improving on the current output.

Stay tuned for more questions

Originating at

ModernGhana Links

Join our Newsletter