14 Most Common Job Interview Questions Employers Ask

Plus 5 Effective Tips on How to Answer These Questions

by Degreat Michael
1 comment

You’re getting ready for a job interview and you feel anxious about the possible interview questions. Well, we understand your anxiety. That’s why we have prepared this comprehensive guide for you. 

First of all, keep in mind that you may be competing with more than 100 other qualified candidates for the same job post. According to Punch Newspaper, the Nigerian unemployment rate has been speculated to hit about 41% this year. We know how this scary statistic can fuel your interview anxiety. 

However, the good news is that, in this guide, you’ll discover how to scale through common job interview questions. Moreover, you’ll learn certain effective strategies to help you answer these questions confidently. 

That way, you can turn interviews into opportunities to showcase your skills and abilities. Now, let’s explore these job interview questions together.

14 Most Common Job Interview Questions Employers Ask

During job interviews in Nigeria, employers ask applicants essential questions. These job interview questions help them discover if the candidates have the right skills, qualities, and experience to work in their company. 

Below are fourteen common interview questions employers usually ask.

  1. Tell me/us about yourself

At the start of most interviews, employers often use “Tell us about yourself” as the icebreaker question. This is an important question that takes most job candidates off balance. Your answer to this question will shape the whole interview. 

Thus, to perform well, only talk about your work experience and what you’re good at that matches the job. Don’t talk about personal things that aren’t related to the job. You should keep your answers focused on your professional side!

Here’s a typical good response: 

“My name is Gregg Okoro. I have some experience in customer service, as I worked part-time at a local store, handling cash transactions and assisting customers. During that time, I learned the importance of accuracy and being friendly to customers.

I also have good accounting skills and mathematical background, which I believe are essential for handling money as a teller. In school, I always enjoyed math and aced my tests.

Besides, I’m a quick learner and can adapt to new situations easily. I understand the significance of adhering to rules and maintaining security in a bank, and I take that responsibility seriously.

I’m interested in this job because I enjoy working with people and helping them with their financial needs. I’m confident that my skills and positive attitude would make me a valuable addition to your bank’s team.”

  1. What do you know about this company?

Interviewers often ask, “What do you know about this company?” during job interviews. They ask this to find out if you’ve done enough research as a job applicant. Your answers reflect your interest in the company. 

To this end, you must know the company’s values, products, and goals. For example, if you’re interviewing with a tech company, a good answer would be mentioning their recent product launches, how they care about the environment, and how they encourage diversity and inclusion at work. 

When you do that, you’re telling your potential employer that you understand their company and truly like the job you want to get.

  1. What motivates you?

Don’t be caught unawares. Here is one of those tricky interview questions you might be asked towards the end of your interview. The question aims to understand what drives you professionally. 

Hence, to answer it, discuss your passion for the industry and your desire to make an impact. Don’t forget to mention your eagerness to take on challenges.

  1. How did you hear about this position?

You may be wondering why employers ask “How did you find this job?” Well, in many cases, hiring managers ask this question to know where the best job ads are. 

Also, they check the referrals of their workers. In any case, all these pieces of information help them pick the right candidates and learn about their company’s reputation.

  1. Describe your preferred work style

Ensure your answer fits the way the company likes to work. If they like teamwork, say how good you are at working with others. If they want people to do things on their own, talk about how you’re responsible and like to take initiative.

Read also: Top Job Interview Dos and Don’ts You Should Know

  1. Tell me/us about a time you made a mistake

Employers want to know if you learn from mistakes and take responsibility. It allows them to check if you can solve problems, communicate well, and fit into their culture. 

That said, know that the answer you give shows if you’re honest, can handle stress, adapt, and resolve conflicts. Your answers help them understand your character and how you might do in the future.

  1. Why do you want to work here? 

This question is a remodified form of the “Why should we hire you?” It’s one of those job interview questions your potential employer asks to know if you like the company and believe in the things they do. 

Deep research on the company’s past, what it’s like to work there, and the laudable things they’ve done lately is required to answer this question perfectly. It’s an opportunity to show your interviewer you’re excited about the company and the job. 

You can also talk about the things that make you enthusiastic about the company. 

Here’s a typical good response: 

“I’m excited about working here! Your company is doing well and I love its commitment to rendering the best service to its clients. I would love to be a part of this mission as your secretary because I’m organized and great at handling important issues. 

I’ve worked as a secretary before, and I know I can help your organization run smoothly. I love this role because it allows me to make things efficient and help my team. 

I’m ready for any challenges and want to be a part of your success. Plus, I know I can grow and do even more with your company!”

  1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Here is one of the most sensitive interview questions you can be asked during a job interview. Your interviewer wants to know two things about you. First, they want to know if you understand yourself well. That is, knowing your good and not-so-good points. 

Secondly, they want to see how you can help their company. Hence, when you talk about your strengths, talk about the things you’re good at that match what they need for the job. For example, if the job requires good communication skills, talk about how you are a great communicator.

When discussing your weaknesses, be truthful, but also show that you want to get better. One way to do this is by mentioning a weakness and then telling them how you’re actively working to improve it. This way, they can see that you’re not just ignoring your weaknesses but you’re taking steps to be better.

Here’s a typical good response: 

“As an Accountant, one of my key strengths is my strong analytical skills. I’m good at crunching numbers, identifying patterns, and finding potential discrepancies in financial data. These skills are crucial in ensuring accurate financial records and providing valuable insights into the organization’s financial health.

As for a weakness, I used to struggle with multitasking and prioritizing tasks effectively, especially during busy periods like tax season. However, I’m actively working on improving this aspect of myself. I’ve started using productivity tools and time management techniques to help me stay organized and focused. 

Also, I’ve attended workshops on multitasking strategies, which have given me practical tips to handle multiple tasks more efficiently. I think it’s essential to keep improving myself as a professional. I’m committed to becoming a better Accountant.”

  1. Can you describe a challenging situation you once faced at work and how you handled it? 

This is one of the most tricky interview questions employers love to ask. It is a remodified version of the question, “How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?”

Employers often ask about employee burnout situations in job interviews to see how you can fix problems and handle stress at work. 

Here’s a typical good response:

“At my former job, I encountered a tight project deadline coupled with unexpected team absences. Despite the pressure, I devised a plan to reassign tasks and redistribute workload based on individual strengths. 

I communicated openly with the team, seeking their input and support. I also requested temporary assistance from another department, which was graciously granted. Through effective coordination and prioritization, we successfully met the deadline as a team.”

  1. Why are you leaving your current job?

During an interview, this particular question often comes as a surprise to many job applicants in Nigeria. Yet, employers ask it to know why you want a new job and if you’ll fit in well. 

You need to provide honest answers, sharing good reasons like career growth and new challenges. Don’t say bad things about your old job. Instead, show your value to the new employer.

Here’s a typical good response:

“I am seeking new opportunities to grow both professionally and personally. Undoubtedly, I appreciate the valuable experiences gained from my current job. But I believe that stepping into a fresh environment will allow me to utilize my skills more effectively and contribute to a dynamic team. 

I’m eager to take on fresh challenges and make a meaningful impact in a visionary organization like yours.”

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  1. Are you applying for other jobs?

One of the most common interview questions employers ask is, “Are you applying for other jobs?” This is to see if you like their job. They want to know if you are serious about working for them. They also want to know if other companies want you, so they can decide faster. 

Your response will help them know if you fit in their company too. If you were asked this question during a job interview, you should respond honestly and positively. You can say something like this:

Here’s a typical good response:

“Yes, I’m exploring various opportunities to find the best fit for my skills and career goals. However, I’m genuinely interested in your company and this role I’m interviewing for.”

  1. Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Why do hiring managers or teams ask this question in a job interview? Well, the answer is simple. They want to know how much you plan to stick with the job and how much you want to achieve. 

So, when they ask, make sure you give a good answer that shows you’re serious about the job. You want your goals to match what the company can offer for your future.

Here’s a typical good response:

“In five years, I envision myself as an active, dedicated, and enthusiastic member of this prestigious consulting firm. My goal is to make a positive impact on the clients we serve, providing them with innovative solutions and valuable insights to solve their business challenges. 

I aim to be an active participant in team projects, engaging in professional development opportunities to enhance my consulting skills continually.

Also, I aspire to be an integral part of the firm’s success, contributing to its growth while gaining fulfilment in my role as a consultant. With determination, dedication, and support from the firm, I believe I can make a significant difference in delivering excellent results to our clients and helping the firm achieve its mission.”

  1. What are your salary requirements?

Here’s where it gets dicey for many job applicants. But not to mess things up, you need to know the employer’s intent in asking this question. Oftentimes, your potential employer wants to figure out if they have enough money to pay you. 

While this information can make the hiring process easier, it can ruin your chances of getting the job. Thus, you need to plan on how to talk about pay. That said, bear in mind that the goal is to ensure both you and the company are happy with the salary. 

As a rule, you can provide a range of industry-standard pays and what you’re willing to work for. That’s to say you must have done quality research about this. You can also decide to take another route. 

You can politely say you’re willing to talk about it later. This way, you can understand what the job involves and not end up with unfair pay right from the start.

  1. Do you have any questions for us?

Your potential employer wants to know if you’re interested, qualified, and ready for the job. So, they ask questions to see if you’re right for the job and to discuss any concerns they have. This helps them make a smart choice about hiring you. 

Towards the end of job interview sessions, most hiring teams allow you to ask questions. They do that by asking you this, “Do you have any questions for us?”

Below is a list of the kind of questions you should ask when your interviewer asks if you have any questions:

  • Can you tell me more about the team you want me to work with? This question shows that you value teamwork and want to know more about the people you’ll potentially collaborate with.
  • What are the professional development opportunities for someone in this role? Demonstrate your eagerness to grow within the company and to contribute effectively to your future team.
  • How does the company support work-life balance? Show that you care about maintaining a healthy work-life balance and inquire about the company’s policies and initiatives in this regard.

Read also: Best Outfits for Job Interviews in Nigeria

5 Effective Tips to Provide Valid Answers to Common Interview Questions

To be frank, there are no secret formulas to landing your dream job. However, if you don’t pay attention to some factors, your chance of performing poorly in interviews is about 90% high. 

Below are certain hints to help you effectively answer job interview questions:

  1. Do your research

Beyond doubt, preparation is the key to answering interview questions confidently. That’s why you must thoroughly research the company, its products or services, recent news, and its work culture. This information will help you tailor your answers to the company’s values and needs.

  1. Align your answers with the job description

During the interview, always keep the job description in mind. Relate your skills and experiences to the specific requirements of the position you are applying for. That way, you show your interviewer that you understand the demands of the role and how you can fulfil them.

  1. Showcase your achievements

Use quantifiable achievements to demonstrate your skills and past successes. Numbers and statistics have a strong impact and can provide tangible evidence of your capabilities. 

Imagine you’re a sales professional applying for a new job and you want to highlight your achievement in your previous job. Instead of simply stating “I increased sales revenue,” you could use quantifiable achievements like this:

I implemented a targeted sales strategy that led to a 25% increase in quarterly revenue compared to the previous year. I also utilized data analysis to identify customer preferences, resulting in a 20% boost in customer satisfaction scores. We lost 20% fewer customers because they stayed with us.”

  1. Practice active listening

Many job applicants fail job interview questions woefully not because they are not smart. But because they see job interviews as one regimented formal process than a communication process. 

Thus, during the interview, you should pay close attention to the questions asked by the interviewer. It’s pure communication. If you don’t understand a question, don’t hesitate to seek clarification. 

By listening carefully, you give yourself a chance to provide relevant and concise responses.

  1. Stay positive and confident 

Above all, maintaining a positive attitude throughout the interview is paramount. It helps you to be confident in your abilities. Even when discussing challenges or weaknesses, always frame your answers in a way that highlights your determination to overcome obstacles.

Read also: All You Need to Know About Making A Video Resume

How to Handle Behavioural Job Interview Questions

Most job interview questions are behavioural questions. That’s because they assess things like your problem-solving skills, how you handle adversity, amongst others. 

The interesting aspect is that there’s a simple formula for answering these kinds of questions. It’s a storytelling technique you can use to successfully answer most job interview questions, and it’s called the STAR method

  • S stands for “Situation”
  • T stands for “Task”
  • A stands for “Action”
  • R stands for “Result”

In summary, the STAR method describes the situation, explains the task or challenge, details the action you took, and shares the positive results of your efforts. This ensures that your answers are organized, clear, and focused. 

Thus, this method allows you to provide specific and detailed examples from your past experiences to illustrate your skills and abilities. The more details you provide, the more convincing your answer will be.

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Navigating job interview questions can be a daunting task. However, with adequate preparation and practice, you can confidently overcome any challenge that comes your way. 

By keeping in mind the common interview questions featured in this guide and following the suggested strategies to tackle them, you’ll be well-equipped to ace your next job interview and secure that dream job.

Article Edited by Priscilla Ajayi.

About Author

Avatar of Degreat Michael
Degreat Michael
Degreat is an expert SEO content writer, self-published author and founder of Greatcrackers.com. With over 5 years of experience in a variety of content writing, he helps struggling small business owners create result-driven web copies that sell their brand stories.

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1 comment

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Republik Jersey October 2, 2023 - 5:25 am

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Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him.

Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!


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