Sample question 1

Walk me through your resume? What else do you want us to know about you?

Your answer should include: where you grew up and your education, why you chose your last education institution and your course of study, your internships and leadership experiences, skills learnt, your current life situation and how all these has contributed to your choice of career and postgraduate study.

This is not the time to talk about your best food or town/state of origin, neither is it the time to talk about the time of your family size.

 For example “schooling at xxxxxxx offered me the opportunity to manage a team and work with one. Team building is a real priority for me and a requirement of a modern day graduate.

Why should we give you this scholarship or this job?

Talk about activities you have that aren’t listed on your resume and some skills you possess that complement these activities.

Model answer

 “I hope my credentials have been able to illustrate why I am qualified from an academic/professional perspective. I am certain other candidates are equally accomplished. However, I am an excellent communicator and I can think quickly on my feel. I am very adaptable and I work extremely well under pressure.

“This is a very prestigious scholarship that focuses on leadership, community service and willingness to serve and in addition to my seven years of show casing these attitudes I am sure the soft skills I possess are equally important and they include ; excellent communication , Think quickly on my feet, Adaptability.’

 What is your greatest strength?

Model answer

“I have been told I bring zeal and motivation to a team and there is a way I get everyone to work together, bringing a sense of cohesiveness to the me class or a group.”

Tell me about a time when you failed?

This question is a tricky one. There is nothing wrong in failing and it is unbelievable if you claim you haven’t failed before. The trick is to mention a situation that happened a long time ago and most importantly, how you have been able to overcome that, what you learnt from that failure and how you have been able to apply the lessons to your everyday life. In summary you should state the mistake you made, where you went wrong, and what you learnt.

What is your 5 years plan?

You are definitely going to be asked this or something similar, so you should be prepared for this. A great example of how to answer this question would be;

  • I intend to complete my master degree in economics and follow that up with a master degree in business administration. My lifelong dream is to work for one of the five top financial institutions in the world hence, in five years, I should have my office in one of those institutions most likely the World Bank.
  • I intend to be the managing director of this great establishment and play my part in moving it to the zenith of the financial world.

Tell me what you know about this scholarship/course/school/job?

Make sure you go through the website of the company/department or scholarship body and course requirements of the school several times before the interview. You may even have jotted a few points. Make sure you have a well-researched but not stereotyped answer prepared.

How are you when you work under pressure?

Model answer

“The nature of my job in xxxxxxx constantly puts me under pressure. I have been trained to be equally efficient and effective in high pressure situations. What helps is that- I take my mind off the deadlines and pressure and just focus  on the task, working as fast as possible.”

What motivates you to do a good job every day?

Model answer

“I want to be a leader in my field and I am aware that the attitude and character I build at this stage of my life would go a long way in determining the amplitude of my career. In addition, it allows my mind to be at rest at the end of the day, knowing that no one could have done it better.”

 What is your biggest weakness?

Model answer

“Some years ago, I used to get over zealous with a project or work and tend to take up more work than is necessary. The effect being some people may not feel attached to the project, hence contribute minimal effort while others may feel it’s because they are not trusted. However, I have learnt a lot since then, taken up a few management courses and learnt to involve everyone in the team so there would be a sense of collective ownership.”

Why do you want this scholarship? We are proposing to invest a great deal of money in your education, what are we going to get out of that investment?

Model answer

“This scholarship will offer me access to a network of like mined people with whom one can learn from brainstorm with, provide me with the necessary skills to fine tune my ideas and provide solutions to my country and the worlds increasing problems. Who would not want to be a part of that?”

How will you serve as an ambassador to the University of Xxxxxxx?

Model answer

“I will correct the misconceptions and myths associated with the Afro-Caribbean community and showcase the exemplary lifestyle of Africans at the University of Xxxxx.”

           My leadership style is transformational in that it aims is to create an environment of self-sustaining excellence and motivation

Are you a team player?

Model answer

“I have found out that working with others helps to increase our performance and it provides me with the sense of shared ownership and responsibilities. This helps to get the project done on time while keeping everything on track. An example is …… “

How would your boss, co-workers describe you?

Model answer

“I like to occasionally offer my assistance, prior to being asked and  always see a project to completion even If I have to be at it for 24 hours at a stretch. ”

What sort of person do you not like to work with?

Model answer

“I will like to work with a person who has a similar approach to work and principles as I do such as planning and organising. I also enjoy taking on new tasks. In addition to this, being approachable is always desirable”

What is your life philosophy?

Model answer

“Do not leave till tomorrow what you can still do today. Another philosophy of mine is  ; forget the past, accept the present then invest your tomorrow.”

 If your best friend was sitting here, what would they say is the best part about being your friend?

Model answer

“ He or she will say I have a way with people, I know how to work with  people and get everyone fired up to achieve a pre-set goal. He will add that I am a committed person.”

  • Was there a time when you had to agree to an idea even if it was against your will? Why did you agree? 
  • Give me an unexpected situation you encountered in the past and how did you tackle it?
  • Tell me a stay of how you resolved a conflict or disagreement between you and a former colleague?
  • If we are sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it has been for you, what will this celebration be centralized on?  
  • Who is your role model and why 
  • What things do you not like to do?
  • Can you take me through a scenario at work that was particularly stressful for you and how you handed it?
  • If you could meet a celebrity, who would it be and why?
  • Describe your former boss
  • Take me back to a moment when you had to say what on your mind to let your colleagues
  • What will you do if you don’t get this scholarship?
  • What motivates you at the work place?
  • What do you intend to achieve with the scholarship?
  • What do you care about the most and why?
  • If granted a wish to change something in the word, what will you change and why
  • What is your typical day like?
  • What drives your personality? 
  • What makes a leader effective who do you look up to as a leader?
  • What is your leadership style and how might you contribute to our university community
  • What book are you currently reading?
  • Describe a mayor turning point in my life and its effects.
  • If you don’t win this scholarship or get this Job, what’s next?
  • What is the greatest crisis facing the world today and how do you address it?
  • Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you worked
  • So, tell me a joke