Interview is the most important stage of selection for any candidate applying for a job. The interviewer is always prepared with a set of interview questions and the interviewee has to tackle them with efficient answers. The interview is a platform where company officials identify the potential employees by asking them questions relevant to the job as well as the history of the person, for which they expect the candidate to be well prepared with the answers. A lot of job interview questions and answers are generic which talk about the person, his/her education, prior work experience etc. However, once the introduction about the candidate is over, the interview questions and answers become more technical i.e. more relevant to the job, skill set required etc. These job interview questions and answers are useful for students, experienced professionals, freshers etc. This article answers the 15+ basic and most common questions asked during any job or general interview across the world.
Importance of Job Interview Questions and Answers
Interview is not just an interaction between two people but it is a way to have a detailed understanding about the candidates. Company officials & HR prepare interview questions thoroughly and expect that candidates comes fully prepared with the relevant answers. The questions of an interview can be focused on the job, company or any other topic for which they fee that the candidate must be capable to give a good answer. Job candidates often take interviews too lightly and see it only as an interactive discussion. But the questions in an interview are used to evaluate each and every candidate based on the answers that they give along with their personality, confidence etc. Here are some of the most relevant job interview questions and answers which are asked by company officials & HR while hiring any individual.
Popular Job HR Interview Questions:
Here are the most commonly asked questions followed by answers below which can help you in the preparation of your upcoming interview.
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why should we hire you?
- Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
- Give an example of your leadership quality?
- What is your biggest professional achievement?
- What do you know about the job profile you have applied for?
- What are your expectations from the company?
- What are the reasons why you left the previous job?
- Have you handled any pressure situations?
- Are you a team player?
- What are your hobbies and interests?
- Are you okay with travel or relocation?
- Who is your inspiration or role model?
- Do you have any questions?
- What are your salary expectations?
Best Answers to Common Interview Questions:
Below are the answers to the list of the questions mentioned above.
1. Best Answer to the Interview Question “Tell me about yourself”
This is always the first interview question which an interviewer asks a candidate. This question focuses on knowing the candidate better personally as they expect you to tell something interesting about yourself. This is more of an icebreaker in the interview where the candidate has to give an answer telling about oneself. Some of the important things to discuss are education qualification (school, graduation), work experience (if any), extra curricular achievements, family background, interesting life experiences, hobbies etc. The best answer to this question is to cover all the above mentioned parameters in a nutshell and should not take longer than a minute. Also, the candidate must remember that since this question is the beginning of the interview, they need to be confident and well structured with their answers.
While answering this question during an interview, the candidate must ensure that the answers are aligned with the details which are mentioned on the resume, which is already available with the interviewer. This question helps the HR or company official understand your personal background, personality traits, command over the language and your confidence levels. Hence, it is critical to be thorough with the answer to this question in the interview.
2. Best Answer to the Interview Question “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
This is a very tricky question during the interview and needs to be tackled with a smart answer. Let us see the best ways to respond to this question.
When an interviewer asks about your strength, they expect the candidate to tell about the things or skills they are good at. This answer has to be very crisp and straight forward as you are expected to know your own strong areas. You need to tell about your strong skills and personality traits. When answering about your strengths highlight points like good at analytics, are a strong team player, have leadership skills, strong communication skills, good creativity etc. If needed, quote some examples as an answer to the question about knowing your strengths.
Similarly, tackling the question weakness requires a good answer during the interview. Weakness, if not thought about carefully, can go against you. Every person has some skill or knowledge area to personality trait which they would want to improve. Things like communication, concentrating for long hours, being introverts etc can be cited as answers. This helps to answer to the question about your weaknesses in a subtle way without impacting the interview otherwise. While concluding the weakness answer, make sure that you tell the interviewer that you are making efforts to improve.
3. Best Answer to the Interview Question “Why should we hire you?”
This question becomes relevant from a company’s perspective as they seek someone who can fill the role for the job having adequate expertise and knowledge. As the answer to this, one must share details of his/her competencies, skills and knowledge regarding the job profile for which the interview is being done. The interviewer wants to understand the competency possessed by the candidate. It also gives a hint whether the candidate has completely understood the job role or not. Hence, talking about your past professional achievements, your knowledge, expertise in a particular industry/ sector etc would help you frame a good answer for this interview question.
4. Best Answer to the Interview Question “Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?”
This interview question tests two things about the candidate. Firstly, it sees how well the candidate who has applied for the job understands the industry, sector and company, & its hierarchy. Secondly, the answer to this helps determine how career focused and ambitious a person is and what are his/her career aspirations. A person can be diplomatic and say that they would like to become a part of the senior management in strategic decision making roles. Another answer to this question can be that with all the knowledge that a person would acquire they would take up a challenge of having a startup or likewise. Sometimes having an entrepreneurial side gives a positive sign that a candidate is a doer. Thus, these answers show to the interviewer about the positive attitude, career aspirations and career focus of the job applicant.
5. Best Answer to the Interview Question “Give an example of your leadership quality?”
The answer to this interview question has to be well prepared as it cannot be something very generic. The construct to this response must show your ability to lead a team of people, problem solving capability, ability to make tough decisions and lead by example. This answer should highlight some initiative taken in your professional career when you have lead a team and guided them through the project from inception to conclusion. The answer must highlight the challenges faced during this example and how you overcame that with your leadership and ability to motivate your fellow colleagues. This question is generally as during an interview to those candidates who have a job profile to manage a group of employees. Hence, learning about someone’s past leadership role becomes important.
6. Best Answer to the Interview Question “What is your biggest professional achievement?”
The interviewer through this question wants to understand how good you were at your previous job. The answer to this interview question should showcase the work done by you across different projects as long as you were employed. Achievements at work place can be things like best practices you did, revenue enhancement strategies, cost cutting methods devised, rewards or recognition gained etc. The answer should not be seen as boasting about oneself but one should clearly show your confident side with all the good work done by you at your job in the past. The answer to the professional achievement must be backed by some statistics or numbers for eg revenues increased by 8%, helped reduce cost by 7%, customer satisfaction grew by 20%. This is generally a specific question in an interview based on the type of job requirements.
7. Best Answer to the Interview Question “What do you know about the job profile you have applied for?”
This interview question needs to be answered after a lot of in-depth research and understanding about the company and the job profile based on the job description provided. The response to this clearly shows how well a candidate knows about the job profile, responsibilities required, skill sets needed etc to do this job efficiently. The candidate’s answer must cover the current position of the company in the market vis-a-vis its competitors, industry scenario and the type of work the company expects its employees to do. The job interview candidate must be aware of all job related responsibilities, work experience required, soft skills needed, technical knowledge required etc. If someone is unable to answer this question, the interviewer clearly sees the lack of preparation. No matter how good a candidate might be, a wrong or confused answer about a job profile question can spoil the interview and the chance to make a career with the company might be lost.
8. Best Answer to the Interview Question “What are your expectations from the company?”
A candidate has to be certain to answer this question in an interview in such a manner that it shows that he or she has good knowledge about how the company works. The candidate can speak about the company providing a good business exposure, more learning in the field of the job, steady career growth, opportunities to travel & meet new people, develop new skills etc. This answer would show two things ie the knowledge that a candidate has about the company, its structure, its hierarchy etc and also shows the eagerness of the job applicant to learn and explore new opportunities while on job. This interview question is asked by company officials when they feel certain things about a candidate are right during the other answers.
9. Best Answer to the Interview Question “What are the reasons why you left the previous job?”
This is a very important question which is often asked in an interview. The answer to this can be very straight forward that you are looking for a more challenging role, better growth opportunities, diversity in career roles & responsibilities etc. Also, one can be honest in answering the fact that sometimes previous roles become monotonous and less challenging, and hence the decision to quit the previous job was taken. Honestly is very much appreciated in an interview. The answer to this question can also cover the fact that a better pay package growth was also a reason for a job change. Employees often look to change jobs and this is a question which would definitely be asked in any job interview.
10. Best Answer to the Interview Question “Have you handled any pressure situations?”
This interview question is used to assess the candidate on their ability to use limited time, limited resources and handle adverse situations, and still be able to deliver results. The answer needs to be prepared before hand and the candidate must assess and evaluate certain real life incidents where they have delivered results despite not being in their comfort zone. The answer to this interview question shows how well a prospective job candidate is prepared to handle real life job situations where sudden changes in business processes need to be understood, evaluated and implemented and that too on a short notice. Hence, every candidate must be well prepared on this question during an interview.
11. Best Answer to the Interview Question “Are you a team player?”
Big companies and multinational organisations ask this question to job applicants on priority. This is because a large company has a diverse workforce, lots of departments, systematic processes etc wherein employees have to interact with fellow employees in day to day activities. Hence, a candidate who shows compassion, patience and emotional intelligence during an interview and can work as part of the team are preferred. Examples of working in teams can be based on professional experience where you fulfilled an important role for the team or some other activity where you were an important part of a team. Your participation as a team player in sports, extra curricular activities etc are also recognised in the answer during the interview.
12. Best Answer to the Interview Question “What are your hobbies and interests?”
Job applicants often take this question too lightly and end up giving very casual answers in the interview. However, the answer to this question has to be very precise as it helps the interviewer understand the overall personality, learning capability and skills of a person. A lot of candidates simply answer that their hobbies are reading, travelling, cooking etc. But these answers are very vague and leave a bad impression. Instead more crisp answers should be given for this interview question like reading novels, autobiographies, literature etc or trekking, river rafting or cooking specific dishes, delicacies etc. A more specific and complete answer shows that the job applicants takes his or her hobbies seriously and has adequate knowledge about the same.
13. Best Answer to the Interview Question “Are you okay with travel or relocation?”
Job profiles which involve a lot of travelling will always be revolving around this question. Job applicants are often asked how comfortable they are travelling for business purpose. Travel can be from a short two day trip to a long month long travel depending upon the work and job profile. The candidate must be open to travel which should reflect in the answer during the interview. However, if there are certain limitations or restrictions like family issues, health concerns, travel sickness etc, they must be shared with the interviewer. Also, certain job profiles require employees to move to a new city as a part of a relocation process. Candidates must answer this question also confidently and must be honest in case of any limitations.
14. Best Answer to the Interview Question “Who is your inspiration or role model?”
The interviewer tries to evaluate the personality of the candidate and tries to understand that kind of a personality they aspire to be. The answer to this interview question must mention the name of the role model and what qualities inspire you. The role model can be anyone from you parents to a sportsman to a business leader to a politician etc. The answer should highlight the qualities of the role model like leadership, patience, business acumen, doer, hard worker, visionary etc. Through this interview question the interviewer understands the behavior and personality traits of the job applicant.
15. Best Answer to the Interview Question “Do you have any questions?”
Almost every interview when towards a conclusion has this question. The answer to this question must be some what prepared before hand by the candidate and should be relevant. Questions asked to the interviewer should be relevant, logical and in line with the discussion. The answer would show how attentive a candidate was during the interview process. Some relevant questions should cover aspects like work timings, expectations from me, job responsibilities etc. The questions asked should be relevant to the business and not related to trivial concerns.
16. Best Answer to the Interview Question “What are your salary expectations?”
This is perhaps the most important question in the interview for the candidate. The company knows that salary or pay or wages are the most critical reason why people take up a job. The answer to this question must be honest as well as realistic. For people looking for a new job, they must be aware of the current salaries drawn for similar job profiles and must say they are willing to take up the job if the salary is as per the “industry standards”. However, an experience professional can say its “negotiable”, and negotiate the salary with the interviewer based on his or her past relevant work experience, previous CTC etc. Generally, a rise of 30-40% over the previous salary can be asked and negotiated over with the interviewer.
The questions and answers above try to explain the various scenarios discussed in a typical job interview. The questions like tell us something about yourself or how you see yourself in 5 years or question about your expectation regarding salary or company can be very tricky. This article covers the basic answers to these questions. These answers can be further developed as per your personal examples and experiences.
There is no sure shot way of cracking a job interview. However, there are various ways in which one can plan and prepare for a job interview diligently. It is very important to understand the interview questions and prepare the answers for them accordingly. The better rehearsed the answers, the most a candidate would be confident in an interview. Hence the key to cracking job interview questions and answers is to have a thorough plan and execute the same confidently.