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General Interview Questions and Answers

Now that you have read and learned about PSC and Government in relation to public administration, it is time to polish yourself before you step in the interview room.

Here we are going to address the following

  1. General interview questions and most appropriate answers for interns
  2. How to prepare for your interview
  3. Things to do during the interview
  4. What to do before and after the interview
  5. And finally, how to rate yourself after the interview
  6. Must bring Documents of the the Cohort 6 Interview
  7. The original advert of Cohort 6 in July 2023
  8. Join our WhatstApp Group forum for the shortlisted candidates and interact with the rest of the shortlisted cohort 6 members

1. General interview questions and most appropriate answers for interns

1. TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF ?

The interviewer is not interested in hearing stories; they simply expect to know your academic and professional achievements, your name and the institution you currently work for. Take a minutes to introduce yourself, and state your recent academic qualification and your relevant experience (if any).

”My name is [Your Name] and I am a recent graduate of [University Name] with a Bachelors of Science in [Degree]. I am a highly motivated and adaptable individual with a passion for learning and growth. I thrive in fast-paced environments and constantly look for ways to improve and take on new challenges.

In my previous role as a [Position Name] at [Company Name], I was responsible for [List of Responsibilities]. I have a proven track record of success in [List of Accomplishments].

I am excited to learn more about the [Position Name] position at [Company Name] and believe that my skills and experience would be a valuable asset to your team.”

2. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU ARE THE BEST CANDIDATE?

The recruiter expects you to tell them about your professional achievements and the unique skills you possess that will add value to the organization. If you are a Customer Care graduate then you should tell them that you are a good listener and patient; these are the qualities the employer is looking for.

“I believe I am the best candidate for this customer care role because of my skills and experience, as well as my passion for helping others. I have a strong academic background in customer care, and I have also gained valuable experience through my internships and volunteer work. I am a good listener and I am patient, which are essential qualities for a customer care representative. I am also a team player and I am always willing to go the extra mile to help my colleagues and customers.

In addition to my customer care skills, I am also a highly motivated and adaptable individual. I am always willing to learn new things and I am always looking for ways to improve. I am also a quick learner and I am able to grasp new concepts quickly.

I am confident that I have the skills and experience necessary to be successful in this role, and I am eager to learn more about your company and how I can contribute to your team. I am also passionate about helping others, and I believe that my customer care skills would be a valuable asset to your company.”

3. WHAT AREAYOU YOUR WEAKNESSES?

The question is not simple as it looks; most candidates go blank when they face this kind of question. Take your time in explaining why you can’t leave the office before you complete a task. You can also inform them how you are quick to trust a person, which in most cases makes you a victim.

For example, if you are interviewing for a customer care role, you might say that your weakness is that you are a perfectionist, and that you sometimes have trouble letting go of tasks until you are absolutely sure that they are perfect. You could then explain that you are working on this by setting deadlines for yourself and by delegating tasks to others when necessary.

Here are some other examples of weaknesses that you could mention in an interview:

Procrastination: “I sometimes procrastinate on tasks that I don’t enjoy, but I am working on this by setting deadlines for myself and by breaking down large tasks into smaller ones.”

Delegation: “I have difficulty delegating tasks to others, but I am working on this by learning to trust my colleagues and by giving them clear instructions.”

Communication: “I sometimes have difficulty communicating my ideas clearly, but I am working on this by practicing my communication skills with friends and family members.”

Organization: “I can be disorganized sometimes, but I am working on this by using to-do lists and by setting up systems to help me keep track of my work.”

Public speaking: “I get nervous when I have to speak in public, but I am working on this by taking public speaking classes and by practicing giving presentations to friends and family members.”

No matter what weakness you choose to mention, be sure to explain how you are working to improve it. This shows the interviewer that you are self-aware and that you are committed to personal growth.

4. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?

The employer wants to know whether you are ambitious or you’re the kind of a person who secures a job and then you forget about yourself. Answer the question by stating how you intend to further your studies and grow professionally as you strive to meet your employer’s goals.

(It is important to tie your goals to your employer’s goals because no employer would be willing to hire and invest in a rookie who will leave their organization in a year or less after they have invested in training the individual).

“In five years, I see myself working as a customer care manager, leading a team of customer care representatives and helping to ensure that our customers have the best possible experience. I am also interested in developing my training skills and becoming a mentor to new customer care representatives.

I believe that my skills and experience in customer care, as well as my passion for helping others, make me a good fit for this role. I am also a quick learner and I am eager to take on new challenges. I am confident that I can achieve my goals and become a valuable asset to your team.”

5. HOW DO FRIENDS DESCRIBE YOU?

The question is testing your personal attributes, when answering it ensure that you don’t over exaggerate. Take the shortest time possible to state the best attribute you possess that you believe will add value to the institution.

My friends would describe me as a good listener and a caring person. I am always willing to help others, and I am always there for them when they need me. I am also a good communicator, and I am able to connect with people easily.

6. WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS COMPANY?

Before you enter the interview room, ensure that you go through the company website to read latest news, company profile, goals, management team, objectives, vision and mission; they will help you answer this question.

(where the company is unknown, do your research and be familiar with the business/industry you desire to build your career).

The question expects you to briefly describe what you read on their website and not what you imagine of the company.

Here is an example of how to answer the question “What do you know about our company?” for a customer care role at Google:

“I know that Google is a multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products. It is one of the world’s most valuable companies, and it is known for its innovative products and services, such as the Google Search engine, the Android operating system, and the Google Cloud Platform.

I am also familiar with Google’s mission statement, which is to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ I believe that this mission statement is very important, and I am excited to learn more about how Google is working to achieve it.

I am particularly interested in working for Google because I am passionate about customer service. I believe that Google is a company that values its customers, and I am committed to providing them with the best possible experience.”

7. DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTION TO ASK THE PANEL?

This is usually the last question that the interview panel asks interviewees; if you fail to ask them questions, you will lose some marks, always have a question to ask no matter what. Ask them whether they have plans to expand their business, whether they support employees to further their studies and how they motivate employees. You can pull a surprise by asking when you would start, it shows confidence.

Here are some questions you can ask the interviewer at the end of your interview:

– What are the biggest challenges facing your team right now?

– What opportunities are there for professional development and growth in this role?

– What is the company culture like?

– What are your expectations for the first 90 days in this role?

– What are the next steps in the hiring process?

– When will be the successful candidates be notified ?

You can also ask more specific questions about the company’s plans, products, or services. For example, you could ask:

– Do you have any plans to expand your business into new markets?

– Are there any new products or services in the pipeline?

– How do you measure success in this role?

Here is an example of how to ask the question “When would I start?” in a confident way:

“I am very excited about the opportunity to work at your company, and I am eager to learn more about the role. When would I start if I were offered the position?”

8. WHAT IS YOUR SALARY EXPECTATION?

The question is tricky because as a fresh graduate you don’t have a clue what to be paid; simply ask them what they pay others of your level, if they fail to give a satisfactory answer then give them a reasonable range. Ensure you do your research before you go for interview room because you must be asked this question.

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“I have researched salaries for similar positions in the area, and I have found that the average salary range is between Ksh. 30,000 and Ksh 40,000 per month. I am flexible on my salary expectations, but I would like to be compensated fairly for my skills and experience.”

2. How to prepare for your interview

Preparing for an internship interview requires a combination of research, self-reflection, and strategic planning. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you get ready before attending an interview:

Here’s a comprehensive set of tips for attending a physical interview:

1. Time Management:
  • Plan Ahead: Schedule your day to ensure you have ample time for preparation, travel, and potential delays.
  • Early Arrival: Aim to arrive at least 15-20 minutes early to allow for any unforeseen circumstances.
2. Dress Code:
  • Research the Company Culture: Choose an outfit that aligns with the company’s culture. When in doubt, it’s better to be slightly overdressed.
  • Neat and Professional: Ensure your attire is clean, well-fitted, and in good condition.
3. Fashion and Accessories:
  • Conservative Choices: Opt for conservative fashion choices. Avoid distracting accessories or clothing.
  • Comfortable Attire: Choose professional attire that is comfortable and allows you to focus on the interview.
4. Perfume/Cologne:
  • Subtle Fragrance: If you wear perfume or cologne, choose a subtle scent. Avoid anything too overpowering.
  • Minimal Application: Apply sparingly; a little fragrance goes a long way.
5. Travelling Considerations:
  • Plan Your Route: Research the route to the interview location, and consider alternatives in case of unexpected issues.
  • Account for Delays: Factor in potential traffic or public transport delays in your travel time.
6. Documentation:
  • Multiple Copies: Bring multiple printed copies of your resume and any relevant documents.
  • Organized Portfolio: If applicable, organize a portfolio or work samples for easy presentation.
7. Pen and Paper:
  • Professional Tools: Carry a professional notepad and a reliable pen.
  • Preparedness: Use the notepad to jot down key points and reference any prepared questions.
8. Silent Mode for Phone:
  • Professionalism: Put your phone on silent or vibrate mode to avoid interruptions during the interview.
  • Emergency Preparedness: If necessary, inform someone important that you’ll be in an interview and might not be reachable for a specific period.
9. Respect and Professionalism:
  • Polite Behavior: Treat everyone you encounter with respect, from the receptionist to the interviewer.
  • Professional Language: Use professional language and be mindful of your tone and body language.
10. Drinks and Snacks:
  • Water Bottle: Bring a small, discreet water bottle if needed, but be mindful not to create distractions during the interview.
  • Avoid Strong Odors: If you bring a snack, ensure it’s odorless to avoid any unpleasant distractions.
11. Confidence and Body Language:
  • Confident Posture: Maintain good posture and exhibit confidence through your body language.
  • Firm Handshake: Practice a firm and professional handshake, a simple yet impactful gesture.
12. Follow-Up Preparation:
  • Thank-You Email Draft: Have a draft of a thank-you email prepared to send promptly after the interview.

By incorporating these tips into your interview preparation, you’ll not only present yourself as a professional candidate but also create an environment that allows you to focus on showcasing your qualifications and skills.

3. The Dos during the interview

Certainly! Here are 10 things you should aim to do during a job interview to make a positive impression:

1. Greet and Connect:
  • Offer a firm handshake, maintain eye contact, and greet your interviewers with a genuine smile. Establishing a positive connection from the start sets a welcoming tone.
2. Active Listening:
  • Pay close attention to the interviewer’s questions. Listen actively, and avoid interrupting. This shows your respect for their communication and demonstrates your ability to process information.
3. Effective Communication:
  • Speak clearly and concisely. Articulate your thoughts and experiences in a way that is easy for the interviewer to follow. Avoid jargon or overly technical language unless the context demands it.
4. Show Enthusiasm:
  • Express your genuine interest in the position and the company. Highlight specific aspects of the role or the organization that excite you and align with your career goals.
5. Provide Examples:
  • Support your answers with concrete examples from your past experiences. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method when responding to behavioral questions to provide a comprehensive answer.
6. Ask Thoughtful Questions:
  • Demonstrate your interest in the role and company by asking well-researched and thoughtful questions. Inquire about the team, company culture, and expectations for the role.
7. Display Problem-Solving Skills:
  • If presented with a hypothetical problem or scenario, approach it systematically. Outline your thought process, ask clarifying questions if needed, and demonstrate your problem-solving abilities.
8. Body Language:
  • Maintain positive and open body language. Sit up straight, avoid crossing your arms, and use hand gestures naturally. Your non-verbal cues contribute to the overall impression you leave.
9. Express Gratitude:
  • Thank the interviewers for their time at the end of the interview. Reiterate your enthusiasm for the position and convey your appreciation for the opportunity.
10. Follow-Up:
  • Send a thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview. Express your gratitude for the opportunity, reiterate your interest in the position, and briefly touch on a key point discussed during the interview.
Bonus: Handle Stress Gracefully:
  • If you encounter a challenging question or unexpected situation, remain calm and composed. It’s okay to take a moment to gather your thoughts before responding. How you handle pressure is a valuable trait.

By incorporating these actions into your interview strategy, you’ll not only demonstrate your qualifications but also showcase your interpersonal skills and professionalism, increasing your chances of leaving a lasting positive impression on the interviewers.

4. The Don’ts during the interview

Most Common Interview Mistakes

What shouldn’t you do when interviewing? Here are the most common job interview mistakes, blunders, and errors a candidate for employment can make.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to make these mistakes without even realizing it — and many of them are more common than you might think! Take the time to prepare before your interview, so you don’t have to stress out about blunders after it.

Read most common job interview mistakes, and how to avoid making them.

1 Dressing Inappropriately.

When you interview a job, it’s imperative to look professional and polished. Although your attire may vary based on the position you’re applying for — for example, you should wear business casual clothing to an interview for a non-professional job or startup casual garb to an interview at a small startup company — it’s important to look well-dressed and put together, no matter what the company.
Next on the list, is something you would think would be a no-brainer — being on time for your interview.

2 Arriving Late

Everyone knows that first impressions are very important in landing a job, but did you know that you can make a bad first impression before you even arrive at your interview?
Running late not only suggests poor time management skills, but shows a lack of respect for the company, the position, and even your interviewer.
Go the extra length to make sure that you aren’t late, and arrive on time, or even early. Budget your time so that you make it to the interview five to ten minutes early. That way, if something unforeseen comes up on your way over to your interview, you’ll have some cushion time.
Next: Here’s what you shouldn’t bring to an interview.

3 Bringing a Drink With You

Ditch the coffee, soda, or water bottle before you enter your interview. If you need to fuel up, do it before you get to the interview.
Not only is it unprofessional to enter with a drink, but during your interview, you should be focused on the task at hand: making a good impression, answering questions, maintaining eye contact with your potential employer, and paying attention throughout the entire interviewing process.
Having a drink in front of you creates the opportunity for distraction — fiddling with the cup, or missing a question while taking a sip, for example. And although it may be a relatively unlikely possibility, bringing a drink into your interview also gives way to other unsightly accidents — like spilling the drink on the desk, on you, or even your interviewer!
Its good to note many interviews now days they will give you a drink (such as tea, water or even an apple before the interview session or in between the interview sessions in very comfortable situations that its unlikely you cause an accident with the drink.
Next: Don’t forget to turn off your phone before you head into the interview.

4 Using Your Phone During the Interview

Before you get to your interview, silence your phone. Texting during your interview is not only rude and disruptive, but it’s a pretty clear message to your potential employer that getting the job is not your top priority.
For the same reasons, don’t answer calls (and certainly don’t make calls!) during the interview. To resist the temptation to check your phone, stow your phone in your bag before the interview. If you accidentally forget to turn it off, resist the temptation to check it if you get a message or call.
Next: Have you taken the time to research the company which could be your next employer? Not doing so is the next mistake.

5 Not Knowing Anything About the Company

Don’t let your potential employer stump you with the question, “What do you know about this company? “It’s one of the easiest questions to ace, if only you do some research before your interview.
Background information including company history, locations, divisions and a mission statement are available in an “About Us” section on most company websites. Review it ahead of time, then print it out and read it over just before your interview to refresh your memory. Also check the company’s LinkedIn page, Facebook page, and Twitter feed, if they have one.
Do you know where you worked when? You might be surprised to know that some interviewees don’t recall their dates of employment and some of the other data on their resume.
Next: Here’s how to keep your work history straight and avoid fuzzy resume facts.

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6 Fuzzy Resume Facts

Even if you have submitted a resume when you applied for the job, you may also be asked to fill out a job application. Make sure you know the information you will need to complete an application including dates of prior employment, graduation dates, and employer contact information.
It’s understandable that some of your older experiences may be hard to recall. Review the facts before your interview. If you need to, take the time to recreate your employment history, so your resume is accurate. It can be helpful to keep a copy of your resume for yourself to refer to during your interview, although certainly don’t use it as a crutch.
Of course, you should never “fudge” any facts on your resume. The more truthful you are on your resume, the better you will be able to discuss your past experience during your interview.
It’s very easy to get distracted during an interview, but not paying attention can cost you.

7 Not Paying Attention

Don’t let yourself zone out during an interview. Make sure you are well-rested, alert, and prepared for your interview.
Getting distracted and missing a question looks bad on your part. If you zone out, your potential employer will wonder how you will be able to stay focused during a day on the job, if you can’t even focus during one interview.
If you feel your attention slipping away, make an effort to stay engaged. Maintain eye contact, lean forward slightly when talking to your interviewer, and make an active effort to listen effectively.
While you may have no problem paying attention in a one-on-one interview in a private office, it’s harder to stay in tune with the interviewer when you’re meeting in a public place. Read more about tips for interviewing in a public place.
Next: In stressful situations, as interviews often are, people tend to talk too much. That’s the next interview mistake to avoid.

8 Talking Too Much.

There is nothing much worse than interviewing someone who goes on and on and on… The interviewer really doesn’t need to know your whole life story. Keep your answers succinct, to-the-point and focused and don’t ramble — simply answer the question.
Don’t get sidetracked and start talking about your personal life — your spouse, your home life or your children are not topics you should delve into. No matter how warm, welcoming or genial your interviewer may be, an interview is a professional situation — not a personal one.
Avoid this mistake by using nonverbal communication to impress your potential employer.
Next: Another mistake job applicants often make is not being prepared to answer questions.

9 Not Being Prepared to Answer Questions

Be prepared to answer the most frequently asked interview questions.
Your interviewer is probably going to ask you more than just the basics about where you worked, and when. To get a feel of your aptitude for a job, your interviewer is going to take advantage of the allotted time and flesh out everything he or she needs to know about you as an employee.
Don’t let yourself be caught off guard. Prepare for your interview by reviewing what questions to expect, and how to answer them.
Be prepared with a list of questions to ask the employer so you’re ready when you asked if you have questions for the interviewer. Take a look, as well, at the questions you should not ask during a job interview and here are the worst interview answers that you should avoid at all costs.
Next: It’s important to keep it positive and not speak badly of your prior employers. Here’s why it’s a mistake to badmouth your company, boss or co-workers.

10 Badmouthing Past Employers

Don’t make the mistake of badmouthing your boss or coworkers. It’s sometimes a smaller world than you think and you don’t know who your interviewer might know, including that boss who is an idiot… You also don’t want the interviewer to think that you might speak that way about his or her company if you leave on terms that aren’t the best.
When interviewing for a job, you want your employer to know that you can work well with other people and handle conflicts in a mature and effective way, rather than badmouthing your coworkers or talking about other people’s incompetence.
When you’re asked hard questions, like “Tell me about a time that you didn’t work well with a supervisor. What was the outcome and how would you have changed the outcome?” or “Have you worked with someone you didn’t like? If so, how did you handle it?,” don’t fall back on badmouthing other people. Instead, review how to answer difficult questions.
Brush up on more interview questions and answers before your interview.
Next: Then take a look at what to do if you’ve blown a job interview for your dream job and want to try to get back into consideration.

11 How to Get a Second Chance With an Employer

Some job opportunities can’t be saved, but depending on the circumstances, you may be able to convince the employer to reconsider you. Not all employers have the time or resources for a “do-over,” but you might be lucky and find one who does understand that stuff happens and everyone can have a bad day.

If you think you flunked an interview, take the time to shoot your interviewer an email explaining your circumstances and thanking them for the opportunity to interview.

5. How to rate yourself after the interview

Did my interview go well?

While there’s no sure way to guarantee that you’ve aced a job interview, several signs can indicate that the interview went well.

Remember that these are just general indicators and not guarantees, as various factors can influence interview outcomes, and sometimes, an interview might feel positive even if you aren’t selected for the role.

Here are some positive signs to look for:

  1. Engagement and Interaction:
    If the interviewer was engaged, asked follow-up questions, and seemed genuinely interested in your responses, it’s usually a positive sign. A back-and-forth conversation indicates their interest in getting to know you better.
  2. Positive Body Language:
    The interviewer’s body language can provide subtle clues. These are generally positive signs if they are leaning forward, making good eye contact, and nodding along. Mirroring your body language can also be an indicator of rapport.
  3. Discussion of Next Steps:
    Suppose the interviewer discusses the next steps in the hiring process, such as mentioning potential timelines, additional rounds of interviews, or any required assessments. In that case, it suggests they’re considering you for the position.
  4. Detail-Oriented Questions:
    If the interviewer asks you detailed questions about your skills, experience, and how they align with the role, it shows they genuinely evaluate your fit for the position.
  5. Cultural Fit:
    If the conversation included discussions about company culture, team dynamics, or your alignment with the company’s values, it indicates they’re considering how well you would fit in the organization.
  6. Length of Interview:
    If the interview extended beyond the scheduled time, it could be a sign that the interviewer was genuinely interested in getting to know you and your qualifications.
  7. Mention of Colleagues:
    If the interviewer mentioned introducing you to potential future colleagues or team members, it’s often a sign that they are picturing you as part of the team.
  8. Asking about Availability
    At the end of the interview, if the interviewers asked you about your availability, it means that they might want to know your availability especially when you’ll be needed for the job
  9. The interviewer smiled and nodded frequently. This is a sign that they are engaged in the conversation and that they are receptive to what you have to say.
  10. The interviewer gave you a positive closing statement. They may have said something like, “It was great to meet you” or “We’ll be in touch soon.”

You got a good feeling about the interview. You feel confident that you made a good impression and that you have a good chance of getting the job.

6. Must bring Documents of the the Cohort 6 Interview

A shortlisted candidates will be required to carry their Original Identification Card,  Academic and Professional Certificates to their respective interview centres.

Shortlisted candidates will be required to carry the following documents during the interview:

  • Valid Certificate of Good Conduct from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI)
  • Clearance Certificate from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC)
  • Tax Compliance Certificate from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)
  • Clearance Certificate from the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) (for graduates only)
  • Clearance Certificate from an approved Credit Reference Bureau (CRB)
Note

Section 100(4) of the Public Service Commission Act 2017 provides that a person who gives false or misleading information to the Commission is, on conviction, liable to a fine not exceeding Kshs. 200,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

7. The original advert of Cohort 6 in July 2023

You also need to remind yourself about the advert which appeared back in July 2023.

Read about the description of the job, roles , duties and other requirements of the job.

This will help you to familiarize yourself with the kind of work you will be expected to undertake

PSIP Cohort 6 Application Cohort 6 Advert

8. WhatsApp Forum for Shortlisted Candidates Cohort 6

If you are looking to catch up with other shortlisted candidates, please join our group forum below on WhatsApp.

Where we shall be sharing more tips and guidelines in regards to Cohort 6.

Join using the links below

Link 1 : Join here

Link 2 : Join here

Click on the links above and you shall be redirected to the joining link .

All the best in your interviews.

At Pata Kazi, we wish hope that you receive this message soon from PSC ‘Congratulations, you have been appointed!!’

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