The interview process is arguably an essential stage in any job application. Consequently, it acts as a major determinant on whether an individual gets or fails to get his or her dream job. Even though dressing presentably and making background checks on organizations is often advisable, researching on examples of questions to be asked is way more recommended.

I previously attended three interviews before landing the position of Data Entry position at Kama Kazi Africa Organization. Among the four interviews that I had an opportunity of attending, I would wish to recap on one that did widen my perspective when it comes to interviewing questions.

I came across a job advertisement of research associate earlier this year on a research institute organization. And after going through the job description, I thought it was wise to apply for the job since its requirements were a close match to my qualifications. Two months after the application, I was invited for an interview via a phone call whereby I was directed to be on time and carry my identification together with my necessary qualification certificates. Given the fact that I had a period of five days before going for the interviews, I had ample time to conduct background checks on the organization itself as well as going through the job description.

Time often waits for no man for the five days elapsed more quickly than usual, and there I was seated in the waiting room with two other candidates. After an exchange of greetings and pleasantries, the first candidate was escorted to the interviewing room by the receptionist. According to my timing, she approximately spent one and half hours, and the reaction on her face said it all. We eagerly inquired some of the questions that she was asked but unfortunately she was not in a good state to recall all of them. The second candidate slightly spent more minutes than the former one. His face reaction looked calm, and this somehow made me more confident on my way to meet the interviewing panel.

The interviewing panel consisted of three individuals who held senior positions, a gentleman and two ladies. After the formal introductory procedure, each member of the panel took turns in bringing up different questions. Some questions such as “tells us more about yourself” and “are you a team player” were easier to reply. However, the bone of contention was on real life situation questions and dependent questions such as “tell us about your ability to work under pressure”, “what is your weakness”, and “what is your strength.”

For real life situation questions, I was asked to name the millennium development goals. I did not expect such type of question; However, I managed to list five out of the presumed eight goals. And yet again based on the MDGs the panel outlined a given scenario that I was to identify the factors that affected livestock farmers in any preferred locality in Kenya. Even though I tried my best to apply my “classroom” knowledge towards answering, I left out some important factors that could convince the panel. The next difficulty was to support my answers in between “what is my strength” and “what is my weakness” against “my ability to work under pressure”. For instance, I mentioned that my strength was “multitasking” and later answered that “I often work on one task before moving to the next” when explaining about my ability to work under pressure.”

I knew I didn’t give out my best, but I remained optimistic for a positive response for the next one week. However, it seems luck was not on my side. I have learnt to always think as if there is no box in preparation for future interviews and coordinate my answers.