In a previous post, I listed some not-so-common interview questions; from the comments and questions, a number of readers needed help with their answers. So here’s what interviewers are (most likely) thinking when they ask these questions;
Tell me about a deadline you missed.
I’m not expecting to hear your boss failed to remind you about the task or any excuse you have for not getting the job done. Just to be clear, the job wasn’t done; If you go on the defensive, I’ll switch off. Cut the stories and tell me what you did to make up for it.
What is your dream job and why?
Let’s make this easy; I don’t need you to brown-nose me. And no, I don’t have all day; so tell me how this job fits with your career big picture; I need to be sure I’m not just filling space. Much as I want to get the best hands on board (which I’m believing you are), I want to be sure you think this job impacts your life positively. If you can paint me a picture of where you’d be in 5 years, it’ll get me closer to the information I need.
If Fela Durotoye walked in and handed you NGN5,000,000 in cheque, what would you do with it?
Now let’s see if there’s a Bill Gates lurking somewhere in you… What entrepreneurial ideas can you share with me? I hope you checked the job requirements properly. If “entrepreneurial skills” was on the list, that I asked this sort of question means I take it seriously.
If we called your boss and asked him what area he wants you to improve on, what would it be?
I don’t intend to call your boss unless you include him in your reference list. Just give me a self-assessment report of your performance on the job, would you? If you flounder, I’ll assume you have something to hide and be compelled to find out from your former employers.
Why should we hire you?
Note this! I’m not asking you to compare yourself with other candidates, you don’t even know them or what they have to offer, so chill. I just need to know why I should work with you; tell me something interesting; if you can, make a joke about it but pray I catch it; I might just be sober, so play safe. Tell me something you like about me if I am your potential direct boss, or go on with something you like about us; you can start with our products – how we save lives (if we really do) and how you look forward to working with a team that makes a difference. Whatever. Just make us feel good about ourselves.
What was the last book you read?
I want to know what goes on in your head from time to time. What kinds of things inspire you and the books you read will give me a clue. We’ll be better friends if I’ve read the book, and enjoyed it.
What questions haven’t I asked you?
I need to be sure you find me interesting. The more interactive you are, the more I like you and consider giving you the job. When in doubt, remember I like to hire people I feel comfortable working with.
Do you have any questions?
So what do you want to know about this job, company or the workers here? Please no silly questions; Google can provide you several answers to them. Also, I’ll gladly show you the door if you ask me when this company was founded.
What was your biggest failure?
I want to know how risk averse you are. I want to be sure I shook a safe hand when I walked into this room. I probably won’t hire you if you tell me you couldn’t get your boss fired because you had always thought yourself a better fit for his role.
Who are our competitors?
Yes please! Tell me something I don’t know about these people. Don’t reel me a list, tell me something they are doing right that I am not.
Now, provide your answers in the comments section below.