Most job interviews involve inclusion of some inevitable interview questions that are designed to check your skills, experience, and motivation for the job. Knowing how to put together a strong answer to these questions is a sure way to impress the interviewers and land the job.
Career2NextOrbit team has compiled a comprehensive list of 10 most common interview questions along with the perfect strategy and answer to tackling such questions efficiently and successfully. These strategies will assist you in connecting the dots on your resume and help your candidature stand out.
1) Tell us something about yourself.
While this is the simplest question asked in an interview, most candidates find it difficult to frame a good answer for it. The reason is the broadness of the question. Candidates struggle to present the most relevant information about themselves in time as less as one and a half minutes. While the interviewer asks this question to test your communication skills, body language and clarity of thoughts; this question is also asked to make you talk about someone you are most aware of, i.e., yourself and therefore to make you comfortable for the rest of the interview.
So does this question seem like a trap? It is not! Take this question as an opportunity to showcase the best traits of the brand you need to advocate for i.e., You. This question gives you a chance to talk about yourself at length. Hence, you can tell about your biggest achievements, your merits, your interests and your long term career vision along with the general details like your name, qualification, extracurricular activities, academic background etc. Such an explanation in chronological order gives a systematic approach to the interview. The interviewer is more focused to hear about things which are not mentioned in the resume. So, the opening should be such that it sets the tone of the job interview and emphasizes on the points that you most want this potential employer to know about you.
Don’t fritter away the opportunity by indulging into a long recitation of your resume. Instead, give a concise response that would summarize your overall view for the job.
2) Strength and weakness questions:
What are your Strengths and Weaknesses? Can you justify your strengths? Name a strength that is also a weakness of yours. One weakness of yours which you converted into a strength. How have your strengths helped you in life?
This is the second most frequently asked question in interviews. Most candidates are not aware about their strengths and weaknesses. You may opt for an honest SWOT analysis of yourself or talk to your close friends or family members and ask them to give their feedback on your qualities and areas where there is scope for improvement. Always keep the job description in mind while answering questions about your strengths and weaknesses. While tackling questions about strengths, the prime focus should be on your traits that are required for the job. And while answering questions about your weaknesses, avoid the areas that would make you unfit for the job. Don’t mention a weakness which is a requisite for a job. Keep in mind that all professionals have weaknesses. Don't fake a weakness. Give a genuine response.
For instance, if the interview is for a technical job, do not say that your weakness is technology. If a job is for a managerial position and requires a lot of work on team projects, you might say that you are a team player who can work with diverse groups of people. Try to put a positive spin on your answer, no matter what weakness you select. It shouldn’t paint you in bad light. Refrain from mentioning any serious flaw that could jeopardize your chances of making it through the interview round. You may also like to state an example of how your weakness has taught you a lesson and/or how you have used your strength in the recent times to achieve an objective. The common-sense lies in working on your strength and thereby raise your level.
3) What are your short-term and long-term objectives? Where do you see yourself 5 years or 15 years from now?
Don’t make general statements like “I want to be a Manager or General Manager or Vice President”. The corporate hierarchy is known to the interviewer. These answers clearly show that you are not aware of what you want in life. Rather, talk about the work you would be doing. Analyze the industry which you are going to join. Ask yourself what you actually know about the company. Is this simply a stopgap for you or are you interested in a long-term career? Discuss with the experienced professionals having industry exposure and analyze the growth pattern and the future of that industry. After this, assess yourself and see if you have the skills required to reach that level. Be honest to yourself. What you say will tell the interviewer how the job fits in with your long-term career plans.
4) What are your hobbies and interests?
Interviewers wish to understand whether you pursue an interest and if you do so, how deep is your involvement. Hobby is any activity which we do in our spare time. Your hobby could be painting, traveling, singing, dancing etc. But be cautious; your interest can't be shallow. When you talk about something being your hobby/interest, make sure you are involved deeply. You need to make very sure that you know everything about your hobby. For instance, if your hobby is coin collection, you should know that the hobby of coin collection is known as numismatics. If your hobby is listening to music, you need to be very precise, as to which kind of music you listen to and the kind of genre you admire, as in, rock, jazz, classical, etc. There will be a lot of questions on your hobbies. Another example of such a question is the name your favourite singer. You can also be asked to name the last movie for which the singer has rendered his voice or mention the name of his latest album, if he has come out with many albums. Hence, never make the mistake of lying.
5) Who inspires you or Who is your role model?
These questions are asked by interviewers to test your definition of success. Sometimes the aim is to check your ethics and values. A role model is a person whom you admire for certain qualities. Role models need not be celebrities. You could name someone you know closely. Your parents, relatives or friends can be your role models; alternatively, your response could be any corporate tycoon. Provide an admirable justification for your choice. If you have a role model, list all qualities that you admire in that person and the reasons why you admire them. You could also state facts as to why you look up to them; in the sense that they inspire you. Likewise, it is not necessary to have a role model. You can mention that each human being is unique and gifted with certain qualities.
6) How would you handle a situation or What is a solution you recommend to a particular problem?
The Interviewer may ask real-life problems and ask you to suggest a solution. This could be usually targeted to test/understand one of the following:
Try to give a rational reason for your recommendation and be honest. You may give examples or real life scenarios wherein you’ve implemented them and obtained results. Examples always leave a good impression. Your domain knowledge, goal clarity, communication skills and general awareness, to summarize, are being assessed. Stay calm, be confident, and respond honestly.
7) Can you work comfortably in a team?
Every organization focuses on teamwork. Working in a team requires adapting to the work environment and adjusting, which is not easy to bring about. If you do not have prior work experience, you can mention activities where you had to work in teams, at the college level. Different ideas come up when you are part of a team, since each person thinks differently. There’s always a possibility of disagreements happening between team members. But ultimately, you are working for the organization and you need to arrive at a decision. Simultaneously, one needs to make sure that there is no feeling of bitterness amongst team members, because some members of the group might feel that they have been left out and their ideas have not been considered, which might affect the bonding within the team. If you have work experience, you can illustrate cases where you were part of the team and share your experience with the interview panel. You can come up with instances where you have displayed leadership qualities or resolved a disagreement, if any.
8) Questions about Company:
It is a grave mistake to not read up about the company, you are attending the interview for. Read from reliable sources like the official website. A good knowledge about the company during the interview shows your genuine interest in getting placed. Few basic things that you need to look up about a company are:
- Domain expertise of the company
- Subsidiaries or affiliated companies
- Various industries they cater to
- Products or services they provide
- Locations they operate from and main business geographies
- Company history, its current leaders
- Basic knowledge of the industry in which the company operates, like the market size, growth rate, total worth of the industry, market leaders, challenges that the industry may face in the future, evolution of the industry
9) Why should we hire you?
Share your career plans with them. Go through the organization’s website and get all relevant details. Just because you need a job isn’t a good enough reason for someone to hire you. List out your other strengths and connect them to the requirements mentioned in the job description. You need to convince the interview panel that you are genuinely keen to make your career with them. Ask yourself what you actually know about the company. They might ask you where you see yourself in 6 months’ or 5 years’ time. Easy if you see yourself long-term with the company, but not so easy to answer if you don’t. Prepare for this by referring closely to the job description. Just to cite an example, if you are intending to make your career in sales, you need to have certain mandatory qualities like excellent oral and listening skills, high energy levels, presence of mind, and excellent knowledge of the product. Last, but not the least, you need to have an unshakeable faith that your product is the best in the market.
10) Do you have any questions?
Never answer “No” to this particular question. Have queries ready to fire. This is your opportunity to voice any of your concern regarding the job profile, company profile, location, timing etc.; if not already covered. It’s really important that you ask relevant questions about the job, the company and/or your prospects within the company. Ask some general questions, if you do not have any questions, like does company encourage corporate social activities, does company provide any higher education opportunity, etc. Show the panel that you’ve gone the extra mile and taken the time to find out that bit more about the company. It will go in your favour. It’s normal to experience a feeling of dread when you think that you don’t have any killer questions to ask at the end. Just remember to let the interview panel know that you were keen to ask a particular question.