Why do you want to work here? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Some questions that you are presented with when applying for a job are the predictability itself. But sometimes the recruiter dares to shake a question from his sleeve of which you are briefly full of teeth.
Here is the correct answer to some common dilemmas.
Why have you taken so long about your studies?
You don’t have to feel caught if the interviewer can deduce from your resume that you have studied longer than average. Perhaps you attached more importance to your student association than to your results, or perhaps you did not know which profession you were appealing to and you hopped from study to study. Whatever the case, give your long student days a positive twist.
After all, you learned a lot on the way. Just think of social skills, leadership, and self-knowledge. If necessary, prove that with an anecdote. Emphasize that you have now found your calling and that taking responsibility is not a problem.
Tip: Curious about the most common application questions? You can find them here.
What mistakes did you make at your previous employers?
No, the recruiter does not try to figure out whether you have ever been fired on the spot. So you don’t have to defend yourself and state that you always do perfect work. With such a question he wants to know if you have a good insight into your performance, how you deal with setbacks and how you learn from your mistakes. Before you start an interview, think of a concrete example of a project that has gone wrong and the most important lessons you have learned from it.
What is your favorite sport?
If you are applying to a company that has nothing to do with sports, this question may seem a bit strange. In fact, the HR employee wants to discover more about your personality in this way. Do you like individual performances or are you a team player? Do you prefer a sport for pleasure, or are you a competition animal? Take this into account when you answer, and certainly give some arguments to explain your choice. Know that recruiters are not allowed to ask medical questions. If you are not allowed to exercise due to medical problems, you are therefore not obliged to tell.
How many cows are there in Nigeria?
“Uh, no idea,” is probably the first answer that comes to mind. But your future boss doesn’t expect you to know that either. He would like to hear in which creative way you reason towards an answer. So don’t close it. Let your imagination run wild and try to find a solution that is as logical as possible.
For example, start from the statement that 11 million Nigerian residents want to eat a steak every week. Minus the number of vegetarians, small children and people who did not like steak. But how many steaks do you get from a cow? And how much milk do those people drink?… Especially if you manage to add a pinch of humor, you score good points with such a question. (For the know-it-all: according to the FPS Economy there are around 700,000 dairy cows in our country (figures 2017)).
Do you also have job applications at other companies?
Have you just announced for an hour that the company you are talking to is your dream employer? Then you are better informed about other applications. Otherwise, your credibility will get a big blow. In all other cases, you should not be afraid to admit that you also have conversations elsewhere.
This shows that you are motivated to find the professional challenge that suits you best. And it proves that you are a sought-after candidate on the labor market. Only mention applications for similar positions, otherwise it will seem as if you don’t know which direction you want to go.