A guide to answering the most common job interview questions

You are about to face an interview panel and you can already feel the adrenaline rush. When you prepare for an interview, you think about what questions the interviewer is probably going to ask. It is very important to be prepared and answer effectively to the questions any employer typically asks. It is important to be careful with your answers as the next question the employer asks, might be a follow-up question from your answer. Interviewers these days care less about grades and academic performances. They focus more on softer skills like how efficient you are, how good you are at making decisions, how does a candidate handle pressure, and how good they are at teamwork. 

This article brings you 10 of the most common and tricky job interview questions and a guide on how to answer them. 

1. Tell me about yourself.

This question seems pretty simple but many people fail to prepare it and answer them correctly. Don’t give away your complete professional or personal history. Your cover letter and resume are already there with the interviewer. Answer something different from what is already mentioned there. It is a good idea to talk about why you are perfect for the job. It is important to talk about why your experiences will fit the requirements of the company. The interviewer should understand how passionate you are about the job. Try to give some important and relevant background that makes you qualified for the job. 

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2. Why do you want to work at this company?

 It is important to give a very specific answer. If your answer shows that it applies to various other companies or is similar to other candidates in the interview, then you are missing out a chance to stand out. Don’t just talk about the goodwill of the company. Go deeper and answer to how the position will be a perfect fit for what you want to accomplish both short-term and long term. One should do homework about the company and learn about their services, products, missions, etc. 

3. Why should we hire you?

 Since a candidate cannot compare himself/herself with the people he doesn’t know, one of the best ways to answer this question is to tell them his/her incredible passion, desire and commitment for the job. Try to think of this question differently; like, “What else do you feel we should know about you, that we already haven’t discussed?” Craft your answer in a way that will tell two things: i)Not only will you be able to do what they ask, but also be able to deliver excellent results, and ii)You will be a good fit for their work culture.

4. What are your weaknesses?

 An interviewer is asking you these questions to not only beware of any red flags but also to see your self-awareness and your honesty. One should not give away too much by saying something like, “I am incapable of meeting deadlines.” You should also not answer, “Nothing, I am perfect.” Answer with something that will show them that you are struggling with some but also working on improving it. For example, “I am very competitive sometimes, but I am trying to take things lightly, and focus more on teamwork.” Discuss the measures you have taken to improve them. 

5. What are your greatest strengths?

 Here is a chance that will make you look great and answer why you are a good fit for the role. When you’re answering this question, think about the quality of work you can deliver. Pick up one or two things that you can handle quite well. Be specific. If you are good at leadership skills, then don’t just say it. Provide an example of a situation from the past that proved you are a good leader. Share qualities and attributes, and relate them to the job role. If there is something you wanted to mention in the interview but didn’t get a chance, then this question will give you the chance to say it. 

Also Read 8 Entrepreneurs Who Emerged From Nothing

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

 This question helps the interviewer to understand what you think about your future. It helps them to understand your ambitions. It will tell them whether your personal goals and development fit the company goals and requirements. You should answer the ideas and skills you want to develop and things that you would like to accomplish. You should focus your answer on the job and the company. Convince the interviewer that your long-term goals align with the position. 

7. Why are you leaving your current job?

 If you are already working somewhere, then you can surely expect this question. One should keep the answer positive. He/She will have nothing to gain from being negative about their current employer. Your answer should tell them the role or job you are interviewing for is a better fit for the experience and skills you have. Tell them that you are ready to take new opportunities. Don’t talk about how the present boss is difficult or that you find a problem in working with your present colleagues. Focus on the future and what you should gain from your next position. 

Also Read Dual degree: Competitive advantage or an Extra dose of stress

8. Tell me about the time when you failed.

The interviewer asks you this question to understand what is your definition of failure. Therefore, start your answer by telling them how you see failure. Talk about the time when you failed and can talk honestly about it. If your failure was due to your fault, then don’t try to justify yourself too much. Instead, share what you learned from it. It is important to show that you took something from this experience.

9. How do you handle stress?

Stress is a part of almost all jobs. Employers want to see how you work under pressure and handle stress. They want to know whether you handle stress constructively with a positive attitude. Answer this question by giving them a solution. For example, “I feel communication is the key to all stressful work. Good teamwork and coordination will reduce work stress.” 

10.  Do you have any regrets?

The interviewer asks you this question to understand any shortcomings in your life. You can simply answer this question by telling them that you don’t regret anything in your life. Make sure to tell them that all the failures in your life, have taught you a lesson and hence you keep no regrets. 

Bottomline

Just like tests in schools, the best way to prepare for an interview is to study and practice. At the end of the interview, the interviewer generally asks you whether you have any questions for them. Try to prepare yourself with some questions. Research the company and the job. It is a good idea to practice your talking skills. Feel confident about yourself as that will help a lot to create a good impression in front of the interview panel. 

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