Five tough interview questions and how to answer

Submitted by Suzaan Beneke on Thu, 12/17/2020 - 17:17

If you’ve chosen to apply for a learnership instead of going to college, it’s time to prepare for the inevitable interview with your future employer.

Aside from the list of generic “tell me about yourself” and “where do you see yourself in 5 years” questions that you’ll no doubt be asked, there are some that are unique to learnerships.

Some questions are open-ended meaning that there is more than one correct answer. A good example of such a question would be “Why should we hire you?”. We all think we know the answer until it comes up in the interview.

According to TopResume, recruiters often ask this question to lower the possibility of hiring someone who is not qualified. Keep reading to find out what the best answer to this question is.

We’ve listed five common questions you should be prepared to answer regardless of the industry you’re interested in.

Tell us more about the kind of person that you are

This is just another way of asking you to tell them more about yourself.

This is a starting point for the interview and your answer will determine what the next question will be.

Interviewers also use this to test your communication skills to see how you present yourself to others.

How to answer

Talk about the past, present and future.

  • Tell the interviewer about your educational background, why you chose this field, and be sure to mention any relevant work experience you may have.
  • Next, if you currently work somewhere else, talk about your current job – what role you play, your responsibilities, and perhaps a recent accomplishment. Maybe also touch on how you found out about the company and what made you apply for the position.
  • Then delve into where you see yourself in the future i.e. your long-term goals and what you would like to achieve over time. Be sure to include the company in your answer by telling the interviewer why they are a great fit to help you reach that goal.

This is only one way to answer this question. It’s best to be creative and work out what your answer will be beforehand. Identify some of your main attributes and memorise them for later.

This is also a good answer to the popular question: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Why did you apply for the learnership?

The interviewer wants to know whether you fully understand what the position is about and whether it fits in with your long-term goals.

How to answer

Discuss what you hope to learn during your time at the company and describe what interests you most about the company.

This is why it’s so important to do your research beforehand. It shows your potential employer that you know what you want, and you’ve matched the company with your goals.

Note: Don’t take too long to answer this question. It might come across as you not knowing what you are looking for.

How did your studies prepare you for this job?

The interviewer wants to see a connection between what you’ve learnt during your formal studies and what you will be doing at the company.

How to answer

Make realistic connections between your studies and the position. Mention some of the tasks you would be responsible for and elaborate on how your studies prepared you for it.

Again, this shows that you’ve done your research so be specific.

Why should we offer you this position?

Whatever you do, don’t say “because I’m amazing and I’m your best option”. You’ll come across as arrogant which will ruin all the progress you’ve made so far.

How to answer

Talk about what value you can bring to the company and why you would make a good addition to the team.

Show that you are enthusiastic about the position but don’t go overboard.

Keep in mind that you don’t know what the other candidates have to offer, so it’s best to focus on your own skills, strengths, and talents that will help the company meet its long term goals.

Do you have any questions?

This may sound like an innocent question used to finish off the interview, but your answer matters!

You might be tempted to just say ‘no’, but our advice is to ask at least one question, two questions at most – you don’t want it to sound like an interrogation.

Here are some examples of what you can ask:

  • After I start, what would the first few weeks look like for me?
  • How does this position fit in with the rest of the company?
  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • If I do get the job, how soon would you like me to start?
  • Is there anything else at all that I can tell you about myself?

Note: Don’t ask a question that was already answered during the interview. Instead, ask a follow-up question.

In the end

The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and positive. If you did your research and practised your answers beforehand, this shouldn’t be a problem.

A learnership is a great way to gain hands-on training and job experience that will make you more employable.

You’ll learn more about the role and industry and you’ll develop skills that you won’t find in college.

If you do not have any experience in a certain area, you will need to tell the interviewer this. 

A word of advice: Be honest and open about the skills you already have as well as which ones you can improve on.

Read also:

A Quick Guide to Learnerships

How to Apply For a Learnership