The interview is the make or break deal for most candidates. No matter what skills you have or how well filled out your resume is, if you are not good at the interview, you can forget about the job. The interview is thus considered as the most important process that can help you land a job and thus it is essential that you go for the interview fully prepared. Of course, you wouldn’t know what questions will be asked, but at most interviews, there are some questions that remain the same and hence, if you know how to answer these most common interview questions, you have won half the battle.
20 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers:
Here are 20 most popular interview questions and the right answers to each. Read on, understand and learn.
1. Introduce yourself:
When you are suddenly confronted with this question, it is all right to be a little baffled, for you will wonder, if these people didn’t know anything about me, why did they call me for the interview? This question is commonly asked so that the candidate can start speaking and the interviewer gets to know how you present yourself. You should not start presenting your resume but tell them about the important points about your education, career and your current status.
2. The reason for looking for a job:
There might be many reasons for your job search. Never say that money is the main reason. Instead, you can say that you are looking for a job that will challenge you more and help in your growth as a person and professional. If you have been fired from your previous job, tell them the truth but be brief and positive.
3. Your knowledge about the company you are interviewing for:
It is best to gather relevant information about the company. You can read about it online on their website and find if there has been any news about them, be it a merger or acquisition. When the interviewers find that you have enough knowledge about their company, they will be impressed for they will know you have come well prepared for the interview.
4. Why do you want to work for us:
This is a question that is generally asked. You can say that you feel that your career goals have a better future with the company because…’ – you can mention some of the noteworthy features you have found about the company while you were researching about it.
5. Tell us some reasons for hiring you:
This is an intimidating question for sure and this is where you have to sell yourself, not hard sell but make them feel that you are best suited for the job. Your answer should include three points at least, why you think you can do the job better than others, how you are good and quick in delivering results and what a great team member or leader you can be.
6. Tell us about your weaknesses:
This is one question where even the most efficient candidate can falter. Neither should you be too honest here, nor should you appear as over confident. Do not use phrases such as ‘I am not good at’ or ‘I don’t think I can do this or that’ but rather put forward a quality that can be even strength. For example, you can say that your over-enthusiasm is something you consider as your weakness because you don’t find others matching up to you. Or you can say that you have modest public speaking skills, which you are improving now.
7. Tell us about your strengths:
Here is one chance to either blow it all off or to get it all right. Do not be over-confident and say that you are a great leader, computer wizard or things like that. If you look at the above point, the ‘over enthusiasm’ spirit can be also an advantage. You can say that ‘as it is a weakness, it is also strength because it helps you do your job to perfection and keeps you on your toes’. Also some phrases like team spirit, ability to work under pressure, have a never-give-up-attitude, paying attention to details, multi-tasking, etc., are what you should include in your answer. Remember, it is only work-related qualities that you should mention.
8. Tell us how your ex-colleagues will describe you:
Give an honest answer to this question as the interviewers want to know how good are you at working and managing relationships with your colleagues. You can narrate examples of your past working relationships and say what or how others have described you, positively, of course.
9. What are your salary expectations:
This can be a tricky situation. If you are well aware of the figures that the position offers, then go ahead and quote it. If not, then you can ask your interviewers as to what is that they would like to offer. Another way is to quote a wide range and see what they offer you. Or else, if you are applying in the same industry and the same position as your past job, then quote a few thousand more than your current salary. That usually works.
10. Are you a team player:
Who isn’t? Being a team player is one of the most important aspects of any candidate, for any position. You can narrate incidents from your past job where you have managed projects as a team member. If it is a leadership role you are interviewing for, then you can also tell them how you motivated team members or how your cooperation and cajoling helped a lesser enthusiastic member to participate more.
11. How your previous boss was:
Though you hated your previous boss, this isn’t the time to pour your heart out. If you are going to say negative things about your ex-boss, your interviewers will have an impression of you as a unpleasant and complaining one. Instead, be diplomatic and say, that you had a healthy working relationship.
12. What your career goals are:
While answering this question, keep in mind that you have to give a practical and wise answer, and at the same time, you have to tell them clearly what your goals are, so that if they hire you, they will keep your answer in mind and give you opportunities to grow and attain your goal. Never say, that you aspire to be the CEO or general manager, but tell them that you aspire to reach a leadership role in future or to reach a senior position by taking up challenging projects and thus growing also in terms of knowledge, skills and experience.
13. What is more important to you, high salary or job satisfaction:
If you are going to say ‘job satisfaction’ promptly, they can put you in a spot by offering you a very less salary. At the same time, you shouldn’t say money, because that gives an impression that you are shallow. The best way to answer this question, would be to say, that money is important and at the same time, without job satisfaction, one would not feel motivated to work.
14. Will you be able to give priority to company’s interests versus your own:
No matter what you think, it is best to say yes to this question. Every company looks forward to employees who will put their company’s interests at a pedestal.
15. Tell us about your experience working at your past job:
The point to remember here is never badmouth your past job or the experience. Rather, tell them that you gained a lot of knowledge working on different projects. Give instances of works that needed team spirit and leadership skills. Tell about the different policies and work modules which helped you to become better at your job.
16. What kind of atmosphere are you looking forward to in your new job:
Remember, when they are asking this question, they mean, work related atmosphere and not materialistic things like cabin or ergonomic chairs and so on. The ideal answer to this question would be to say that you are looking forward to work in a motivated atmosphere, where there are opportunities for career growth and an environment where you can excel individually and as a team.
17. How well you take work pressure:
The answer to this question, of course is ‘Very well’. You should say that it is pressure that brings out the best in you. Do not worry, work pressure usually doesn’t mean that you will have always have to work at a pace where you wouldn’t be able to even breathe.
18. Have you applied anywhere else:
Just give couple of names, but give no details. It is best to be honest here. This is a good question for you too, because they know that you are in demand and you have other options too. There is a good chance that this answer will give you an edge over others.
19. How long do you plan to work here if you get the job:
Even if you are planning to just work on for a year until you get the experience, do not say so. Rather stick to a smart answer, ‘As long as I am able to deliver a performance that makes both of us happy’.
20. Do you have any questions:
It is not great to say that you have no questions. You can clear any doubts that you might have. Though you can ask about benefits, the better question is ‘how soon can I join’ or the different projects you will get to work on if you are hired.
Interview questions differ from job to job but there are many common questions that are asked during an interview no matter what the post is. The answers to this question are what gives a clear idea about the candidate. Sometimes too wise answers or too smart answers do not work, an honest answer does. Hence it is up to you as to how you interpret each question and what answer you wish to give. These 20 most common interview questions and their answers give you a chance to prepare well so that you can give an answer that both the interviewer and you are satisfied with.