31 Interview Questions and Expert Tips on How to Answer Them

An interview is usually an opportunity for candidates to showcase their skills, experience, and suitability for a particular position. For All Levels.

Interview questions answers

An interview is usually an opportunity for candidates to showcase their skills, experience, and suitability for a particular position. Whether or not a candidate passes an interview is determined by several factors, including their preparedness, how they present themselves, confidence levels and the relevance of their answers.

When it comes to answers given by candidates during interviews, this is where most candidates go wrong. They give answers depending on what they think the interviewer wants to hear, forgetting that their unique selling propositions are what interviewers are actually looking for. Providing canned answers during interviews puts off the interviewers as they have heard the same answers repeatedly in different sessions. So how do you, as a candidate, wow the interview panel with your answers? By learning to understand what the question requires of you and customizing it to give the most informed and relevant answer.

Table of Contents

Common Interview Questions

     1. Tell us about yourself.

What to note:

This is an opportunity to blow your professional trumpet. Remember to have a practised elevation pitch ready. Your thoughts should flow smoothly, and the events you touch on should be in order. Remember that your elevation pitch should be by your CV. Discrepancies may raise red flags, and the interviewers may think you are lying.

Sample Answer:

I am a revenue accountant with professional qualifications ranging from a BCom and CPA6, 1 year in internal audits, and over 2 years in revenue accounting. At my current company, I am the second in command in the finance department. I handle over 50 client accounts, am timely on deadlines, am very keen on fine details, and am good with customer and supplier relations. I am now at a point where I feel my growth in that direction has plateaued, and I would value a more challenging environment in which to expand my career horizons.

     2. Talk about your current position.

What to note:

The interviewer wants to help you relax with this question since it is quite easy to answer. With this question, the interviewer is trying to expound on your CV regarding your job experience. They want to find out if the activities you are currently performing are relevant to the job you are applying for, making you the best fit for the job, and whether what you mentioned on your CV is true. You need to answer this question concisely and give the roles you are currently performing as well as some of the achievements relevant to the job you are applying for in relation to what your CV says about you.

Sample response of someone applying for a Recruitment Executive position: Currently, I am holding the position of a human resource assistant at Company ‘X’. For the past two years, I have been in charge of the recruitment section of the HR department, where I am tasked to carry out screening, head-hunting and interviews for various clients on a day-to-day basis. During this period, I introduced more standardized interview and screening tools that have made the recruitment process in the company much more organized and better.

     3. How did you hear about this position?

What to Note:

The interviewer basically wants to get a feel of their brand awareness levels in the market and whether their advertising efforts are working. Be honest when answering this question, and be careful, especially if you were referred by an internal staff member. Be sure to get their consent before giving out their name in the interview session.

Sample Response:

I saw the job ad on a website called BrighterMonday. After reviewing the ad details and profile to confirm my eligibility, I sent in my application and was called in for an interview. What do you know about this company?

     4. Why do you want this job?

What to Note:

The interviewer wants to learn the motive behind your job search. The question should be approached from the company’s point of view. Talk about why you would be a valuable addition to their team and why you believe you are the best candidate for the position.

Sample Response: I have experienced your products and customer relationship management firsthand, and it has always been wonderful. I was excited when I saw that you advertised for a position whose profile closely fits mine. I am very much interested in joining your team.

     5. Why should we hire you?

 What to Note:

It is important to know that even though you are the one being interviewed, your answer to this question should always relate to your value addition to the company. This is the point where you bring out your unique selling propositions and convince the interviewers that you are the best fit for the position in question.

Sample Response: My passion for customer service is deeply ingrained within me. This passion has opened doors of growth in all spheres. Satisfied customers, team dynamics, providing solutions, and hearing a customer appreciate my services are the one things I live for in my daily work life. I have read reviews from customers regarding your products and the interactions they experience.

     6. What are your greatest professional strengths?

 What to note:

The interviewer simply wants to determine if you are self-aware as a candidate. They wish to determine if you know the areas you are good in and whether you understand the correlation between these strengths and the role in question. This means that your answer should be centred on the role and the company you wish to work for.

Sample Response: I would say my biggest strength lies in my analytical skills. I can objectively and critically examine a situation and develop different solutions. Apart from that, I possess excellent customer service skills that I have perfected over the years in different industries. I have experience building and running strong teams and am deeply results-oriented. I believe these are qualities you are looking to engage in this position.

     7. What is your greatest weakness?

 What to note:

Interviewers pose this question to candidates to find out if they are self-aware and are currently working on their weaknesses to improve. Interviewers are human and understand that everyone has a weakness, so a candidate should avoid the pitfall of saying they have no weakness they know of.

 Sample Response:

I manage a team of 15 in my department, and I have realized that most of the time, I prefer to do something myself for fear that if I delegate, the results won’t be as desired. This not only hinders my juniors from acquiring the exposure and experience they need, it also eats up most of my time such that planning, forecast, and strategy are always at the bottom of my to-do-list. For the past 2 months, I have allowed my team members to run projects and only check on them to offer guidance and monitor progress. It has been such a wake-up call since I now have time to strategize my department’s next move and, at the same time, encourage growth within my team.

     8. What is your greatest career achievement?

What to note:

The interviewer wants to know if you can work with deliverables. Your answer to this question will determine your individual values, goal-attaining ability, and ability to prioritize. Your career achievement should be job-related and measurable where possible.

Sample response: I have numerous moments in my career that I count as achievements. The most outstanding moment in my career was when I initiated the implementation of internal audit systems in my current company. This culminated in the mitigation of costs, recovery of lost monies and better accountability within all departments in the company since control measures were tightened and loopholes dealt with. I look forward to bringing such innovation and problem-solving skills with me to your company.   

     9. What challenging situation have you ever encountered at work, and how did you deal with it?

What to note:

With this question, the interviewer is trying to test how you deal with problems and challenging situations at work. Being able to pick a success story where you can concisely describe the problem that you were faced with and how you dealt with it, as well as some lessons you learned from it, shows the interviewer how much of a resource you can be. Ensure you pick a problem that could most likely occur in the company you are applying to and avoid bashing anyone while you explain that situation.

Sample response: 

I once worked for a company that used to manufacture juice, but the sales were very low. I believed that if we could figure out why the target market was not buying the product, it could help us make it better. We  then embarked on a survey where I discovered that the juice packaging affected people’s perception of it. With this knowledge, I convinced the production manager to change the packaging, which led to increased sales. 

     10. Where do you see yourself in the next 3/5/7/10 years?

What to note:

The interviewer wants to find out whether you have a plan for your career or you are just gliding along. Having a plan shows that you are ambitious and keen on your career progress as a candidate. You should ensure that you have a way of showing how the position you are interviewing for fits into your career plan.

Sample response:

My career goal is to grow into the best version of myself professionally. I seek opportunities to expose me to activities that will further develop my skills and increase my technical know-how in the industry. I have researched your company, and I believe such opportunities can be found here.

     11. What do you know about our company?

What to note:

When interviewers ask this question, they are not looking for you to tell them exactly what is on their website but more a general understanding of the company. It is known that you may not know as much about the company, but you should be able to know what products or business they deal in, any public milestones they may have achieved reported through the media, whether they are international or not, to mention but a few aspects. As you talk about what you know about the company, do remember to show your interest in working for the company.

Sample response: 

I know this company as one of the leading telecom companies in Uganda today. The company offers a wide range of services, such as mobile money, internet services, and phones, that are very affordable for the Ugandan person. I also admire that this company was considered one of the best employers during the previous year and would wish to be part of it. 

     12. Why do you want this job?

What to note:

Every interviewer wants to hire someone passionate and zealous about their job. This question is meant to test how desperate one is about the job and how passionate they are. In answering this question, you should focus on talking about what makes you love the job you are to do and why you wish to work for the company you are applying to. Ensure all the information you give presents you as someone who is not only the best fit for the job but will love and enjoy doing the job.

Sample response:

Ever since I was a child, I have wanted to take care of disadvantaged children. I believe they, too, have a destiny in life, and someone out there has a responsibility to help them. I consider myself one of these people, and I like the fact that this is exactly what this company roots for. This job will not just give me an opportunity to earn a living but also to help out someone in need.

     13. What is your ideal dream job?

What to note:

With such a question, an interviewer is trying to find out whether the job you are applying for is in line with your career goals or will help you progress in your career. Ensure you give an answer that is somewhat related to the job you are applying for.

Sample response for one applying to be an accountant:

I hope I can become CEO of my own accounting firm someday.

     14. What other companies are you interviewing with?

What to note:

Interviewers often ask this question to find out what rival companies could be competing for expertise and how serious you may be in finding a job related to your field. The most advisable way to approach this question is to let the interviewer know that you are applying to other companies as well that are similar to the field you are applying to. Mentioning that all these possible opportunities will enable you to showcase your various skills will be able to present you as someone who is looking for an opportunity that will utilize and value your skills, showing your worth.

Sample response:

I am applying to various Human Resource firms that focus on recruitment. I believe these firms, including your company, will be able to help me grow and showcase the skills and expertise I have acquired over the years. 

     15. Why are you leaving your job?

What to note:

Interviewers always seek to find out why you want to leave your previous employer and work for them. Very many times, interviewees may be tempted to talk about the negative aspects of their previous job. No matter what bad experiences you may have gone through, avoid talking negatively about your job or your previous employer. Phrase your answer in a way that is positive and presents you as someone who is willing to learn new things and develop in their career.

Sample response:

I would like to challenge myself to learn new skills from new environments and situations, and I believe this company will help me or enable me to do that. 

If you happened to be laid off, you can simply give a simple answer such as, “Unfortunately, I was requested to do it.

     16. Why were you fired?

What to note:

In asking this question, interviewers want to find out what negative aspects one has that could have made their previous employers fire them. The best way to approach this question is to be honest, whether you were laid off because of a downsizing company policy or because of something wrong you did. If it was something that you could have done, emphasizing the lessons you learned from the experience and how much you have improved presents you in a much better light a someone that made a mistake but has learned from it and is willing to change.

Sample response:

I was fired because I failed to meet my sales targets. This situation pushed me to attend Sales training, which enabled me to sharpen my sales skills. I believe my skills have grown, and I will be able to perform much better than I did. 

     17. Is there anything specific you want in this new position?

What to note:

With such a question, the interviewer is simply trying to find out if what you are looking for is in line with what the job you are applying for has to offer. They are trying to see whether you are the best fit for the job and have a passion for it. To answer this question, one should ensure their answers are somewhat similar to what the job actually has to offer.

Sample response for someone applying for a recruitment executive’s position: With this position, I am looking to put into practice the various lessons and knowledge I have gained over the years as a recruitment personnel. I also believe this position will expose me to much more information and experience I need to grow further in my expertise regarding recruitment. 

     18. What is your ideal work environment?

What to note: 

The interviewer is trying to determine whether you will be comfortable and, therefore, able to perform in the company’s work environment. Giving an answer related to the company’s work environment makes you an even more legible candidate for the advertised job.

Sample response for a modern  work environment: 

My ideal work environment is one that is less stringent, an open space that allows for easy communication and interaction between colleagues. I believe such a work environment will foster the creativity I need to become much more productive at my work. 

     19. What management style do you prefer?

What to note:

This question is usually asked to job seekers applying for managerial positions. It is meant to test whether one’s managerial style is applicable to the company and whether one makes a good manager or not. Many companies today prefer less dictatorial leaders and leaders who allow teamwork and group participation. However, knowing whether the company’s culture is more traditional than modern will help you give a much more relevant answer.

Sample response: 

I prefer a more participative managerial style. I would prefer that team members take part in company decisions. By allowing for employee participation, the company is able to implement decisions that employees relate more to and, therefore, will not resist.

     20. Explain a situation in which you practice leadership:

What to note:

With such a question, interviewers are trying to find whether you can make a good team leader or have the potential to take on a leadership position. In answering this question, always remember to give a response that shows your potential as a leader and what exactly you were able to achieve as a leader.

Sample response:

At my previous workplace, I was chosen to become the project leader of one of the company’s quarter-year projects. I believe I exercised my responsibility well, as the project was not only completed on time but also became the company’s most successful project that year. 

     21. Explain how you disagreed with a decision at work and how you handled it.

What to note:

Every worker disagrees with their supervisor once in a while. With this question, the interviewer is not trying to test whether you are a “yes” man to whatever your boss says but whether you are confident enough to let them know when they are going astray in a professional and respectful way. Your response should show that you were able to correct your boss politely and managed to save a situation.

Sample response: 

Once, my boss sued a long-term client who had taken a long time to pay their debt. I believed that the client had a good explanation for why they had not paid in time and since the company had such a good long-term relationship with him. I also believed that using this client would cost the company so much and ruin a good client relationship. In an email, I requested to meet my boss to discuss the matter. I politely expressed my concerns but still emphasized that he was the boss and the decision was up to him. He was convinced, and the issue was settled out of court. Few resources were spent, and the relationship was also saved.  

     22. Why do you have an employment gap?

What to note:

With this question, interviewers would like to know what exactly you were doing if you have not worked for a long period of time. They want to know whether you were at least putting your skills in practice or actually bettering them during that time. Giving an answer that shows you were still productive or gained some skills during that time is advantageous for you.

Sample response: 

I did not work for a period of two years as I was pursuing a Masters’ degree program meant to enrich my skills and grow my knowledge as far as my expertise is concerned. I believe all that I learned will be of great value if I am hired. 

     23. Can you explain why you changed career paths?

What to note:

With this questions, the interviewers are simply trying to find out why according to your Cv you seem to be pursuing more that one career or are changing your career. Being able to give an answer basing on your previous experience as well as the various transferable skills you have attained from the different careers presents you in a positive light.

Sample response: I switched careers from the law profession to the marketing profession because I have a strong passion for marketing and I believe I can perform even better in this field. The various skills I have acquired from the law profession such as oratory and research skills will contribute to my success in this field. I also believe the knowledge I have as far as copyright law will enable me to practice this new career according to the best standards. 

     24. How do you handle stressful situations?

What to note:

Stressful situations are unavoidable in every work situation. However, how one handles them or lets them affect them is what defines who they are. With this question, the interviewer is trying to find out whether you are the kind that is persistent even through hard situations or one that easily gives up or lets such situations take a huge toll on them that they cannot be productive. Whatever response you give, ensure that is honest but still presents you in a positive light.

Sample response:  I usually take off a few minutes to calm down and think objectively about the situation. After calming down ,I then seek to solve the situation in a more level-headed way. 

     25. How would your first month in this role look like?

What to note: 

With such a question, the interviewer is trying to find out if you are actually ready to take on the job, how organized you are and whether you are able to be as productive even when you may not know much about the company. Give an answer that shows you are organized and cannot wait to take on the position.

Sample Response: Well, during my first month, I would focus on familiarizing myself with information about the organization as a whole, its culture as well as the roles of my position with the help of my  fellow work colleagues and my supervisor. With this information, I can then be able to analyze what exactly I have to achieve or improve on. 

     26. What are your salary requirements?

What to note:

Here, an interviewer is trying to find out whether the company can afford to hire you as an employee. Be sure not to ask for too much that will scare away the employer or too little that you sell yourself short. Carry out extensive research about how much those that hold this position both within and outside the company earn as well as those that have the skills or level or experience you have. It is safer to give a salary range based on what you could have concluded from your research and to specify whether that should be a net or gross income. This question often determines how much an employer will pay you at the end of the day.

Sample Response: I would like to earn between 1.5million and 2.million Uganda shillings net income. 

     27. What do you do for fun?

What to note:

Interviewers ask this question to find out more about your personality and whether you will fit into the organizational culture. In answering this question, always go for an honest but semi-professional answer that does not present you in a negative light or as someone that does not have any morals.

Sample Response: In my free time, I like to visit the golf course to play some golf and catch up with a few friends

     28. What animal would you say describes you best?

What to note: 

With such a spontaneous question, an interviewer is simply trying to test how quick you are at thinking as well as what kind of personality you possess. Be sure to give a quick relevant answer that portrays the strong qualities you possess.

Sample Response: I think a lion would describe me best.  I admire its courageous, brave aspects and I always seek to portray these in whatever venture I choose to embark on no matter how difficult they may be. 

     29. Are you planning on starting a family?

What to note:

Questions such as these usually related to family status, religion, age or tribe are asked to still get more information about you as a person as well as to create sort of rapport or conversation with the interviewer. Being able to answer them freely  and honestly still presenting yourself in a positive light shows that you are someone that can hold a conversation and therefore has good social skills. Should an inappropriate question about your personal life be asked, politely steer the conversation back to the main issue at hand which is the job.

Sample Response: Yes I do at some point in the future. At the moment I would like to focus on my career and grow in it placing me in a better position to provide for my family. I believe this job opportunity will help me do that. 

     30. What do you think we can improve on?

What to note:

With this question, interviewers are simply trying to find out whether you have any background in a similar company that could help you improve the company. They are also trying to find out how critical and creative you are in coming with ideas that the company can tap in. Being able to express your ideas on how things can be done better in a polite manner without overly criticizing the company like you know it all presents you in a positive light.

Sample Response: I think the Customer service channels of the organization can be improved by incorporating social media channels as well. This will enable the company to reach more customers as well as to meet their demands in a timely manner. 

     31. Any questions?

What to note:

Many interviews are usually concluded by this question. Should you ask any questions ensure that they are relevant and actually give you some important information about the job or company you are applying to. Keep them professional and at the same time do not ask too many questions. Just a few.

Sample Response: What is this company’s culture like?

Now that you are aware of the various questions you are most likely to encounter in an interview, we would advise that you try as much as you can to use this information and make it relevant to your situation. Remember to be unique  and professional in your answers. We wish you the best of luck.

Eric Mutawe
Notification Bell