5 questions candidates fear most, and how to answer them

Many questions that Dubai interviewers ask candidates are common and figure in most interviews conducted, but candidates still fumble while answering them, killing their chances of getting a job.

If only candidates could better prepare themselves for some set standard interview questions, their chances to impress the potential employer would be greater, and that could take them to the next stage of interview and, finally, land them that job.

More than half the candidates fumble during job interviews – and some bungle even the most elementary questions in their interviews.

Questions on which candidates fumble

Over half the candidates interviewed by recruiters come unprepared, say experts. Emirates 24|7 spoke with a cross-section of recruitment experts and senior HR professionals to distil the top 5 questions that Dubai candidates dread to answer, and how best to respond to them.

#1 Why should we hire you?

According to our panel of experts, this seems to be the one question that most candidates come unprepared to answer. It may possibly be because of lack of proper preparation regarding the role, the company’s culture and how the candidate fits into it.

If you’re serious about landing the job, do your homework about the role, the company and, if possible, the management. This knowledge is invaluable, and will show through your responses, giving the interviewers an idea of your keenness about the job, as well as your meticulous disposition.

#2 What is the one thing that you’d change about your last job

It’s a bait. Don’t bite it, however tempting it may be to criticise your supervisor or nagging colleagues. If there ever is a time or forum for that kind of talk, this is definitely not it. Don’t grumble about the corporate culture, and don’t even try analysing the management’s vision for growth (or lack of it). Anything you say on those lines will give the interviewee a future window into what you might say at your next job interview about their company a few years down the line.

Among the safe scapegoats will be outdated technology, long commute to work (unless your potential workplace too is the same) or even the lack of a decent meeting room.

#3 What are your salary expectations?

Money talk is known to make many people uncomfortable. How do you put forward a number you wish you could earn, without sounding pompous? Simple answer – don’t. Yes, don’t offer a number. For, chances are that the company will already have a salary band for the position, and they will not go overboard with their budget unless they’re really desperate – or you’re the cat’s whiskers.

A good strategy will be to answer this question by talking about how you’re looking for a good job-fit – and not necessarily the money. Be sure to mention that money is important, but what appeals to you is the job-fit. Let the hiring manager make an offer in terms of salary, compare it with your current/most recent salary, and then negotiate (if it is below your expectations).

#4 Describe your current job responsibilities

A surprising number of candidates fumble while answering this question, says our panel of experts. You must understand that one of the primary reasons an interviewer asks this question is because either s/he has not had the time to go through your CV in detail, or your résumé isn’t clear about it. Either way, it is a lead-in question that is supposed to make the candidate comfortable – after all, you do your job day-in and day-out, and it shouldn’t be difficult listing down your daily responsibilities, or should it?
The answer is also an opportunity for you to tie it in with the job you’re applying for. Focus on how what you do impact your company’s results, and answer it from that perspective. Be concise, though – it’s easy to talk about your role for hours, but don’t.

#5 What’s your biggest weakness?

It’s a cliché to say ‘I’m a perfectionist’ in response to that question – so don’t say it, not even if you believe you’re one. Be genuine while answering this particular question (be genuine otherwise too), but don’t overelaborate here – you don’t want to give the interviewer the impression that they’ll be hiring a liability.

If you’re working on sharpening your public speaking skills, say so. If your social media skills need a bit of TLC, don’t be shy to admit it – but do also mention the step/s you’re taking to change the situation.

More than anything else, however, be confident in whatever you say and do during the interview. Dress sharp and be forthright. Keep these pointers in mind the next time you appear for a job interview. All the best.