Interviews! For a fresher or someone with a decade long work experience, interviews need preparation and we cannot deny this. Preparing for an interview involves knowing as well as studying the company, profile, KRAs and not to be missed – being well-versed with the common interview questions and answers that decide your chances of selection. Some people take them very lightly and pay no heed to prepare these commonly asked interview questions which play a very important role in the final verdict – a YES or NO.
The most common interview questions and answers & the appropriate way is unveiled for you:
#1. “Tell me something about yourself”
This is the very first job interview question of any interview and decides how the rest of the interview will go. As the saying goes, the first impression is the last; the answer to this question governs the perception of the interviewer about you. You need to sound pleasant as well as confident while talking about yourself and the areas that you must specify in your answer are your educational background, work experience if any and something offbeat about yourself that is worth a mention.
#2. “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
This question is something that every hiring manager will ask a candidate. Even if it is a common interview question, it doesn’t mean it needs no preparation. You need to answer this question carefully and speak about the abilities and traits that add value to your work as your greatest strengths. For example, problem-solving skills, communication skills, etc.
Mention your shortcomings as weaknesses but emphasize on the fact that it can certainly be worked on. For example, a sample answer can be “I am overly critical of myself. Every time I finish a project, I cannot help but feel that I could have done better even if my work got a positive response. However, I have been trying to take time to view my accomplishments impartially and celebrate those wins.”
Note: You need not sound negative when it comes to talking about your weaknesses. Talk about only those habits or characteristics that can be improved over some time. For strengths, try to formulate an answer that does not sound like bragging.
#3. “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?”
Remember this is one of the most important of common interview questions and answers listed here. The answer to this question reflects your long term vision and seriousness about your career path. You need to think about the answer and shape it properly. Baseless or illogical vision can be a big negative in your interview process.
#4. “Why did you opt for this company?”
Your knowledge about the company, its vision, and your contribution would help in answering this question right. Read about the company, you can go through the About Us or Introduction page on the company website and understand the business. You should be very clear about your role and contribution.
Note: Do not neglect to research about the company. Not knowing about the company or forgetting to do basic research is a blunder and can minimize your selection chances despite strong domain skills that you possess.
#5. “Why should we hire you?”
While answering this question remember your strengths and core competencies. Your skills – soft and domain decide whether the company will hire you or not. This is your chance to prove you are the perfect fit for their organization. Recall the pointers from the job description and frame your answer accordingly.
Note: Be specific and cite your past work experiences to enrich your answer.
#6. “Why did you opt for this job or profile?”
Your experience and knowledge of domain govern your choice of job profile you are interviewing for. Here, speaking about your time in the workspace and your learning will enhance your answer. You can also mention that you want to work at the company and thrive in your dream job, or this profile is a good fit for your career plan, etc.
#7. “What are your biggest professional achievements?”
Your answer should be supported by numbers. Talk about your achievements in terms of facts and figures. For example 50% improvement in customer acquisition.
Note: The achievement that you talk about should be relevant – matching the responsibilities in the new job. Numbers should be accurate and the “how” of achieving should be clear and articulated properly.
#8. “Why do you want to leave your current job?”
Reasons for leaving your current job should make sense as its indicative of your approach and decision making. Lack of interest, conflict with management or teammates are not good reasons to quit a job.
Note: This answer should be framed beforehand in your mind. Preferably, the reason for quitting the current job should reflect an interest in growth and learning opportunities.
#9. “What can we expect in the first 3 months?”
Some companies ask you to formalize a strategy to achieve the desired results in the first three months. This is the perfect opportunity to give them your plan of work. It is always better to convey your thoughts than being awfully quiet.
The best way to go about this is by setting SMART goals for yourself. Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART), backed by a strategy for implementation.
Note: It’s important to see the feasibility of the goals, given the existing framework of resources and capacity to expand. Do your research well and create an action plan.
#10. “What are your hobbies and interests?”
Your willingness to share about yourself will engage the interviewer and help you build a good rapport. Your tone of voice can be friendly while talking about your hobbies and interests.
#11. “What is your style of working?”
By this question, the interviewer wants to know whether you like working in a team or prefer an individual profile that operates solely. You can answer honestly but understand the reason behind it.
Note: It is better if you answer “team” because it shows that you are a team player, capable of working in synergy with your colleagues which helps to achieve results faster.
#12. “What was your last drawn salary?”
Mention the annual CTC you resigned at.
Note: This cannot be an approximate or “near about” number. Your salary at the new company will be based on the last drawn CTC.
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#13. “Do you have any questions about the company or the profile?”
Ask if you genuinely have any concerns or want to know more about certain aspects of the company or the profile. Covering points like work environment, shift timings, etc can create a great answer to this question. Besides, asking questions show that your level of interest is high and you’re serious about the given work opportunity.
Note: Do not shy away in putting forward your queries or questions. Ask what you feel is relevant and will help you to have a better understanding of the company or the profile.
Many companies might conduct an additional phone interview prior to meeting in person. They can ask any of these questions during that call as well. Some HRs like to ask behavioral interview questions where they analyze your personality more keenly. But overall, preparing the above list of Common Interview Questions should be enough to nail your next interview.