The 10 Most Common Interview Questions

1. Tell me about yourself

This is probably the first question you will hear in an interview. Make no mistake, you are not being asked for personal stories here. The best way to answer this question is to be ready with a few highlights on your education, career, experience and anything else that is relevant to the job you are interviewing for. You could end with a personal statement of what you hope to achieve by working there.

2. Why do you want to work for this organization?

To answer this question, relate your career goals to the company. Say what you hope to accomplish and how you think that organization is the right environment to do it in. You will have done enough research about them to know that you want to work with them. Point this out, giving specific examples e.g. their mentor program, environmental policy, career advancement structure etc.

3. What are your strengths?

If asked this question, do not waste the chance to say what you are good at by being general or modest. Pick two or three points, such as your ability to work well under pressure or your excellent oral and written skills etc. and elaborate briefly on these. Give relevant examples of how you applied these skills to a real work situation. Keep it positive and work related- no need to mention that you won the burping competition at your local pub!

4. What is your biggest weakness?

This is perhaps one of the trickiest questions you will face. It is difficult for anyone to talk about weaknesses, and yet, you are being asked to! You cannot say you don’t have weaknesses, as this will not be true. And yet, you cannot mention that you type at the speed of 10 words per minute! The trick is to mention a small flaw that does not affect your work and emphasize on how hard you are working to correct it.

5.What relevant experience do you have?

This should not be a difficult question to answer as it is pretty straight forward. Draw on your past experiences all the while relating them to the job in question. Talk about previous jobs, seminars, projects etc. that you have done and what you have learned from them, and how they will aid you in doing this job.

6.Why did you leave your last job?

The key to answering this question well is to be honest. There are about three circumstances under which you could have left your previous job. You could have been fired, laid off, or you quit. If you were fired, be honest and say so because your recruiter might call for references and find out anyway. Do not dwell on the why, but focus on what you have learned from the experience and how that will help you to perform better in future. If you were laid off, no shame in saying so. This should be perfectly understandable given current economic situations. If you quit, say why. Of course, this is not the time to dwell on gossip and the bitterness between you and the HR manager. Cite issues such as looking for more challenges and wanting to expand your knowledge.

7. Do you prefer to work in a team or individually?

Give this question a little thought before answering, and then say both ways are fine with you. If you say you prefer working in a team while the job is more individualistic, they may think that you cannot do it. If you say you prefer to work individually they may think you are not good with people. Talk about your adaptability skills and how either situation would be a challenge for you to do better.

8. What is your expected salary?

This is a tricky question. Do not commit yourself to specific figures unless this is an advanced meeting that was called to specifically discuss your package. You could answer by asking your interviewer how much they are paying for the position. You may also say that you think that the position is an important one and you are confident that what they are offering is commensurate with the responsibility involved.

9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This is your chance to shine. Describe your career goals and what you hope to achieve in the next 5 years. Try to align your goals to the company and the present job as much as possible. You could mention points such as wanting to climb the company ladder etc.

10. Do you have any questions for me?

Yes. You must prepare two or three questions otherwise you may come off as uninterested. You could prepare a question about the company structure, the position you are interviewing for etc. If you did not understand anything in the course of the interview this is the time to clarify.





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