Common Job Interview Questions and Best Answers

by on February 28, 2011

The words ‘Job interview’ happen to be extremely stressful for a lot of people. The pressure of performing well in an interview increases with the need of a job seeker and his desire to acquire that dream job. However, despite the urge to work, it has been often noted that a lot of us crumble under pressure during these testing moments when we can easily pass with flying colors. Normally the applicant tends to give in to the stress and the yearning to get the desired job. What he forgets is that all he requires is courage and determination to keep going. Always remember, it is never the journey to one’s goal but the fear of the journey that defeats the man. Once the interview is given, we normally feel absolutely positive that the job is ours. But when the result turns out to be negative, we feel utterly disheartened.

  1. Interview Questions About You
  2. Interview Questions About Work History
  3. Interview Questions About New Job
  4. Technical Job Interview Questions

What one fails to understand is that it is not them but by and large the type of questions asked and our failed attempts to give the preeminent and accurate answers in the interview causing the damage. At times, a lack of answers is coupled with a scarcity of confidence as well. On a majority of occasions, interviewers have opined that what they look for is self-confidence and a surety that the candidate is meant for the job.

All a person needs to understand is that the recruiter has liked your resume and that is the reason why the face to face interview is happening. Half of the battle has already been won and just because of a few ambiguities in the style of presenting ourselves, trounce is caused.

There is a barrage of questions that one has to answer in job interviews, with queries ranging from your expected salary to what you did in school and even how you would describe yourself. The list of these questions is infinite. There might not be an end to such questions but there is always a solution to this fiasco and the best solution for each and every one of these mauling questions is to think with honesty and have a forestall strategy regarding how one can answer these questions. It is not as difficult as it may sound. A little preparation and the right amount of focus can easily help you obtain the desired job.

So, you don’t need to get worried and start thinking about the kind of questions asked by the interviewer. This article will provide you with ample information to gain the knowledge of understanding the precise procedure and etiquettes required to get your desired job. By and large, following are the questions asked by the interviewer.

Interview Questions about your personal traits

This is the section where you truly need to bring out your versatility, confidence and the eagerness to learn. Make sure that you can mince as many golden words as possible but at the same time do not overdo it, as there is a possibility that the interviewer might find you impolite and over-confident. Nobody likes a bragger. Both speech and silence are equally important tools required to climb the ladder of success. One is always required to have the art of knowing which tool is supposed to be used and when. This is an art which you would have to master, and for which time and experience are the only teachers available.  It is all about selling yourself as a useful product that can benefit the organization. If asked, do talk about your negatives but ensure that you present them in a manner that they would still be constructive for your potential employers. Do not even attempt to leave an impression that you are perfect and have no flaws. As not only the attempt will fail terribly but also give an impression of your being shallow and fake.

Tell me about Yourself / What is the accurate way to describe yourself?

Answer: While talking about yourself, first give your introduction by saying: ‘I am…’. Never start the introduction with ‘Myself…’, as this is incorrect English. Always use your complete name as only using the first name is normally considered informal. Remember you are not sitting with friends, as this is a formal meeting. Once you have informed the interviewer about your name, talk about the qualification achieved by you. Talking about a plan of pursuing a masters or any interest in further qualification always works as a positive. By doing so, you can always leave an impression of being fervent towards knowledge.

What are your negatives? / What is your greatest weakness?

Answer: While talking about your negatives, ensure that you always talk about them as a positive and not as something that will present you in negative light. For example, make sure that you tell them about your habit of checking things on repeated occasions and not that you wake up late in the morning because you will come off as someone not punctual. You always need to remember that stating one’s negative is important but make sure it has to be done is such a subtle manned that they simply go disregarded.

What are the goals set by you in terms of your career?

Answer: This is the question where you get a chance to praise the organization but make sure it does not leave a wrong impression. Here you can always say that your aim is to work at senior management level in an exceptional organization like theirs. Do mention that you plan to achieve this goal by contributing your leadership, interrelating, technical and management skills towards the growth of the organization and yourself.

What is the best way you handle stress?

Answer: Now this question can have different answers. You can talk about stress being good for you as you’re able to work in a far better way than usual. Apart from that, you can also share other recreational ways through which you handle stress like exercising, taking long walks, reading, long drives or maybe grabbing a drink with colleagues and friends. It will present you as a person who knows how to manage stress.

Do you take your work home?

Answer: This question is a little tricky as you cannot tell them that you have a habit of taking work home every time as it might seem that you are not capable of meeting deadlines. Though you can certainly explain that you understand the requirement of deadlines and how they affect business and do not have any issues taking work home whenever required. The best way to tackle this question is not to delve on the topic for too long.

How do you describe yourself in a role of team player?

Answer: The best way to answer this question is by giving an example. If you have ever played any team sports, the experience can be used here to explain your understanding of the concepts and procedures required for a team to generate unsurpassed results. As here we are talking about one’s profession existence, the ideal exemplar can be from your previous organization. Explaining how you implied your experience to achieve best results in your previous team will be ideal.

Has any personal trait of yours caused a problem in your professional or personal life lately?

Answer: This is a question where you can do wonders. Accept that yes there is a trait that had caused a problem in the recent past. Tell the interviewer that you would not consider yourself as a perfectionist but you are always trying to make sure that the result provided by your team is as close as perfect. Due to this trait of yours in the previous organization, you were rarely satisfied with the work done by your assistants and to achieve the best result you landed up doing most of the work yourself. Once you have given the example, remember to emphasize that you have learnt how to deal with this peculiarity of yours. If you don’t do this, there is a strong possibility of the interviewer might feel a lack of leadership skills in you.

On what points you chose your college?

Answer: This is the time to show that you don’t make a hasty decision. All your moves are carefully thought and calculated. Tell the interviewer that before you decided on the particular college, colossal amount of research was done. You found out about the best possible faculty, environment and infrastructure suitable for the stream chosen by you. As all answers led to the same direction, the decision was made.

Do you have plans to study further for an advance degree?

Answer: Tell the interviewer that you believe that education goes on for life, there is so much to learn and you have just started. Talk about your plans to gets a master’s degree in the near future as you feel it is a must to remain competitive.

Did you face any tribulations in the transition from high-school to college?

Answer: Do not deny the truth here. You can talk how the sudden freedom and the temptations that came with it. How you managed to control yourself and not fall for the desire to break all the rules and enjoy the freedom. Agree that it was tough but you managed just right.

What do you consider as success at school?

Answer: Here you can talk about your being competitive and not believing in the last moment preparation. For you, success did not mean giving your best only during the examination. One should give his best all throughout the year and remain on the top throughout.

What do you think about social duties of a person?

Answer: For this question, the best way would be talking about what have you personally done with regards to your social duties. This will help you leave an impression that you are not just ‘all talk and no action’. You may talk about being a member of a group that fights for any social cause or something you have done for the benefit of an individual, city or country.

What would you consider your biggest mistake?

Answer: This is a situation to show that you are a thankful person and the best way is to talk about your parents. You can talk about feeling that you have not thanked your parents enough. Though your parents don’t agree to it, you feel for all the sacrifices they have endured to always provide the best possible option for you they need to be praised every day.

What are the personal traits required for a successful career?

Answer: While talking about your personal traits, remember that every trait you speak about is properly explained. The best options would be determination, punctuality and the aptitude for knowledge. Explain how your determination will help you to go on in taxing times. Punctuality will make sure that the deadlines are met. The aptitude for knowledge will always facilitate utilization of every advice in a positive manner.

If given a chance, would you like to re-plan your field of study in college?

Answer: Never say yes to this question. If one accepts that he would like to change decisions made in past, it will simply imply to scarcity of confidence. Even if you want to make changes in the past, keep it to yourself. Every interviewer looks for confidence in the candidate.

Do you think you can handle a high-pressure situation?

Answer: The best way to tackle this question is with a blasé attitude.  Say that you enjoy pressure as you love challenges. You can also support the answer by talking about your professional experience and how it has taught you to maintain a calm head when in pressure. No matter how the situation might be, one should never lose his cool. You believe that when furious, a person can never take an appropriate decision.

What would you change about the working of your college?

Answer: While talking about the change, make it a point that your view does not come across as squabbling. Emphasize on the positive outcome of the change you want and how it will help the college work better. Talk about the existing issues in an extremely subtle manner.

Did you enjoy independent research for college projects?

Answer: The answer to this question should definitely be yes. Explain how you enjoyed the independent research. This will develop a faith of you being independent. The interviewer will be able to achieve confidence in your capabilities of handling a project autonomously.

Do you think you can adapt to a wide range of people and environments?

Answer: The ideal way to describe your adaptation skills is through an example. Talk about the way you beautifully dealt with people of different backgrounds during your servicing days in college.  Try and mention a particular incident where you were able to resolve a situation with your charm and communication skills.

What steps would you take to solve a problem?

Answer: Here you can prove your capability to make a calculated decision. Acquaint the steps very carefully. Say that you first analyze the situation as it is very important to understand the problem to find the apt solution. Then you think about the consequences and feasibilities of every solution available. Once all the options are explored, you make the decision in favor of the best available option. Do also state the importance of timing while making a decision.

Do you think that scheduling your time is important?

Answer: Here make the interviewer understand that you know the value of time. You believe that to meet deadlines one should always calculate the time required and the time available. By doing this, a person will exactly know where he stands and what more is required to meet the deadline.

Interview Questions about your work history

Kindly tell us about the company you worked for and your job profile? This is the part of an interview where candidates are not able to impress their interviewer. It has been often noted that people appearing for interviews often fumble when it comes to answering questions with regards to their previous work experience. Don’t do this with yourself and do ensure that you have all the relevant information about your previous organization. Even if you had not been familiar with the history of your preceding employer positively, do the research required. Always present a positive picture of your previous organization. It does matter if you completely disliked your job. Keep this bit of information to yourself.

Did you like/dislike your previous jobs?

Answer: Do ensure that you never talk negative about your previous employers. Always present a positive image of the previous organization and how you enjoyed working there. Talk about how you got to learn a lot and how successfully you were able to imply it for the growth of the organization and yourself. When a person criticizes his previous organization, it leaves an impression on one not being thankful and loyal.

What were the most and least rewarding things about your previous job?

Answer: While answering this question, make sure that you only talk about the rewards and how you got the opportunity to learn and grow professionally. Never talk about how you hated your previous job and please don’t start counting the negatives and making fun of the previous employer. At the end of the day, you do not want to be known as a pessimist and an unthankful person. Rather, you should be evaluated as an achiever who only sees the positive things of his workplace.

Have you ever conformed to a policy unwillingly in any of your previous organizations?

Answer: To a question like this, one should try and present an obedient image. It shows your capability of adhering to rules and policies created by the senior management. The policies are normally made to make sure a particular system exists and is followed. A lot of thinking goes into the belief that no employer wants any of his employees to rebel against him. Do not emphasize a lot on your answer as you also don’t want to come across as person who has no brain of his own.

Could you talk about your best presentation in the last organization?

Answer: When explaining the presentation, first talk about the efforts you had put in the presentation. Talk about all the late nights and research done and how you single-handedly make the presentation. Once you have spoken about the efforts, talk about the success of the presentation. Mention all the praises you got. How not only your colleagues but the senior management and even the president of your organization was impressed with your creativity and efforts.

Have you ever faced disagreement of colleagues during a project?

Answer: Disagreement of colleagues during a project is very normal. While talking about it, first mention your reason and then justify it honestly. Explain how your reason was for the enhancement of the project. Do not end the answer by simply justifying your point. Explicate how you stood for the reason in a calm, experienced and professional manner. End this question by confirming your success in explaining your reason and guiding your colleagues to agreeing with your point of view.

Have you ever faced a problem with your supervisor/ instructor?

Answer: Never answer this question directly. You can say that you did not exactly have a problem but you did have a slight debate with your supervisor once. Carefully explain the situation keeping in mind that you don’t come across as a rude person with bad attitude. Conclude your answer by confirming that it was a healthy professional debate and you both understood that there is nothing personal about it.

What besides your duties did you provide to your previous organization?

Answer: By asking this question, the interviewer is trying to understand your interest towards development. The ideal way can be by describing a new and helping pattern you had set for the improvement of quality and quantity of work in your previous organization.

If your supervisor was not available for an important decision to be made, what did you do?

Answer: This question will judge your aptitude to make a decision. Never tell the interviewer that you simply waited for your supervisor to return. Tell him that you made the decision yourself. If the requirement of superior authority was a must, you endeavored to get hold of the supervisor. Once the supervisor was found, you explained the situation and the decision you have made and got the approval.

Were you ever asked to stay back after your working time?

Answer: This is a question where you can make extra points. Here you can explain how made a voluntary stay back for the opportunity to learn and help your seniors in their work. This helped you to understand the functioning of the senior management and the organization better.

Interview Questions about the New job and Company

What do you find interesting about this job?

Answer: You are the preeminent person to answer this question as you only know the true motivation behind applying for the job. One can mention reasons like an option to learn, better opportunities, better scope of success and a bigger platform to show your capabilities. While talking about your interests, do also talk about the challenges you expect and how you plan to win them. You can also tell the interviewer that how challenges thrive your interest in the job. Even if money is the core reason, never mention it to the interviewer.

What motivates you in your professional life?

Answer: Talk how the idea of achieving the impossible, increasing your knowledge and the idea of growth gives you a rush, as you are always eager to learn and explore the entire functioning of your industry.

What will you bring to the organization?

Answer: Now this is another question where you will have to use a lot of creativity. Make sure that you are versatile and answer it in a way that you will truly show the employers that apart from bringing in needful skills, you will bring in various other skills that might not be expected from you.

Would you consider yourself as a goal-driven employee?

Answer: Say that you are not only goal driven but you also like to surpass the goals set by senior management and yourself. Say this in an extremely polite manner. You don’t want to come across as an over-confident person.

Why should the organization hire you?

Answer: This is one of the most important questions that may be asked. So while talking about the reasons, do it in an absolutely polite manner. One can talk about his ability to adapt and how he can utilize the prior experience for the betterment of the organization. Talk about your capacity to work as a team member and providing fresh and creative ideas. One can also mention his peculiarity to never give up, meeting deadlines and the qualities of a leader in him.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

Answer: Be modest here. Tell the interviewer that though you understand that future comes with no guarantees, one should try his level best to achieve a position in the top most management of an organization.

Which quality of yours can be the key to success?

Answer: Talk about your eagerness to learn. Say that you believe that knowledge is the key to success. Knowledge can always help to cross the obstacles in life and take one to triumph.

What are the qualities of a successful manager?

Answer: Say that a successful manager needs to have the competence to originate strategies that can help in achieving targets. He or she should be able to communicate these strategies to the team members in a way that provides the best result. A manager should have the capabilities to make his team work together and be a role model for all.

What do you know about our organization?

Answer: This is where your preparation is required as the information will change with every interview. Make sure you have all praises for the organization. Show how you are impressed with their working and growth. Remember to mention how you are truly looking forward to work with them.

Is traveling for work fine with you?

Answer: There is absolutely no point in saying yes to this answer when in reality you’d prefer to sit at home. The best way to deal with this situation is to quiz them about how much travel is expected from you and answer accordingly. If necessary you can always say that if required you do not have any issues considering it.

Do you have issues in relocating?

Answer: This an extremely personal question as it differs from person to person, as a lot of people have family concerns while some just do not prefer the idea to relocate. The only suggestion here would be not to give dead ended answers. You can simply mention your preference and say that you can always think about relocating if an interesting offer is made.

What would you prefer, a better job or better remuneration?

Answer: The best way to answer this question would be by saying that the most important thing is to enjoy your work. A high remuneration cannot help if you do not enjoy your work. A right amount of remuneration is also required as it helps in paying your bills.

What kind of a supervisor would you prefer?

Answer: While answering this question, do not sound very demanding. Tell the interviewer that you can work with any supervisor. All you require is that he is willing to understand your point of view and gives ample space to come up with new innovative ideas to do your work.

What would you do if you are not able to mingle with a colleague?

Answer: The answer for this question is simple. Tell the interviewer that you understand the difference between personal and professional life. If there is any difference, there is nothing personal about it. In a situation like this, you would prefer to resolve the problem in a complete professional manner.

What would you do if a number of things are required to be done by you?

Answer: Talk about your talent of multi-tasking here. Say that you never fear a huge amount of work.  Work always provides knowledge and experience. Hence the superfluous you work, the more you shall learn.

What helps in building your enthusiasm in work?

Answer: The answer to this should be recognition and growth, as you believe if a person has persistently worked hard and outdone his target he deserves recognition in any form by his seniors and a possibility to grow in the organization.

What would be your suggestion to our organization?

Answer: Whenever talking about one’s organization, make it a point that every opinion given is extremely humble. Don’t start pointing out the flaws of the organization.  This might lead to you offending the interviewer.

How much training would you require to start giving a productive result to the company?

Answer: Make it a point to explain that you are a fast learner. Try to relate your answer with the brilliance you had achieved in your last training and your capability to imply the knowledge for best possible results. Give a realistic time frame as you do not want to come across as an over-confident person.

What made you decide this field of working? / What influenced you to choose this career?

Answer: While talking about his decision of field, one should always be absolutely affirmative. You can always talk about better growth rate, your passion towards the particular field, opportunity to learn and a chance to utilize your competence to the fullest.

Would you be more comfortable working with data or collaborating with individuals?

Answer: Never choose a particular option here. Talk about your ability to acclimatize as per the demand of situation. This will keep your options open and assure the interviewer of your capability to work with indifferent situations.

Do you believe taking risk is fine to achieve a goal?

Answer: The answer to this question would be yes. Pronounce that a calculated risk is required to achieve a goal. You believe if one does not take a calculated risk, the possibility of inventing new innovative ideas would be extremely stumpy. Every innovative idea is invented by taking a calculative risk. This would directly lead to bad results, which can affect the working of an organization.

What would you do if your decision has resulted in a failure of a project?

Answer: Do not try to play the blame game here. You should simply accept your fault. Not only you should accept your fault but also apologize for your mistake. Positively tell the interviewer that you will learn from your mistake and never repeat it.

How would you react if your trustworthiness is questioned?

Answer: Do not provide a hasty or an emotional answer to this question. Say that you would first like to find out the cause of lack in trustworthiness. If required, you shall give an explanation. An assurance of winning back the trust should also be given.

What irritates you about people around you?

Answer: Do not make any judgmental remarks about the people around you. You can always talk about disliking fake and shallow people. Make sure you do not pass any derogatory comments about anyone.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Answer: One should never talk about his drinking or gambling habits. One should always show that even in his spare time, he enjoys doing something constructive. You can converse about painting, reading, writing a diary, swimming, photography or playing any other sport.

Why did you decide to leave your last job?

Answer: Never try to portray a negative image of your previous organization or boss. You can always talk about the lack of opportunity to grow, limitation in experimenting or simply because you feel that this organization will provide a better and bigger opportunity to grow.

How soon can you join if this job is offered?

Answer: Before committing the time period, be absolutely sure. Calculate the time of notice period required at the previous organization. If the notice period is already served, keep in mind the time required to collect the realizing letter and work experience certificate. Only commit to a fixed date if you have all the required papers and serving of the notice period is not required.

Have you ever been terminated from your services?

Answer: If you have never been terminated, the answer is simply no. For those who have faced this problem, remember you can always say that you were never terminated but you did walk out of a job as you were being blamed for something done by a senior or colleague.

What kind of pay package are you expecting?

Answer: For this question, only you can be the judge. Never hesitate to discuss the remuneration. Do not push the interviewer. The conversation should not sound like money is the only motivation for you. Even if you really want the job, don’t beg on your knees and say that you’d accept any kind of remuneration. It is in your best interest to quote the salary you were getting in the previous job and see what they have to offer.

Is there anything you would like to ask me?

Answer: When you are given an opportunity to clear your doubts, kindly make sure you ask one question at a time. Do not assail the interviewer with irrelevant or imprudent questions. The relevant question can be about detailed job description, components of the remuneration, office timings (make sure you do not sound rigid about them), hierarchy of the organization and your own progress path.

Interview Closure: Once the interview is over, do not forget to thank the interviewer for the opportunity and the time given to you. If you have had more than one interviewer, thank each one of them for the same. It is always advisable to apply for a job you truly desire. When a person is moving towards the goals he desires from within, there is a stronger chance of success. Do not run after the money. Pay attention to quality work. Give a hundred per cent to what you do. Do it with the fullest of the heart and complete honesty. Remember hard work and honesty always pay. If you manage to give all your honesty and legitimate efforts, money, success and fame will follow on their own.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

SAURABH DIXIT September 29, 2011 at 7:27 am

very nice…

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Jamal December 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm

So many tips there, thanks for sharing this one..
Jamal recently posted..Kencana win Wheatstone LNG contract worth RM1 billionMy Profile

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Adam Ellis January 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Great article – really useful sample of possible interview questions and I like the way you have broken them down personal traits and job/company questions. I think the last part is key also about questions to ask the interviewer and job applicants should always have a few intelligent questions ready to ask beyond renumeration and standard things like that. I have written a job interview tips article on this topic if you’re interested. Great post though!

Reply

James Sidwell June 23, 2015 at 7:55 am

What question(s) should be asked at an interview to learn if a person is well-suited to be self-employed? Is there a question that will give an insight to that trait? We have a house cleaning/estate sale business for 20 years, and have always had good luck in hiring self-employed cleaners. But recently, in the last year, we have hired five straight people as self-employed house cleaners. They all did a good job of work, and we were happy with them, but they all quit after just a short time. Having been self-employed ourselves for the last 35 years, my wife and I understand that it is not for everybody. But is there a question we can ask at the interview to help us land a long term person?
(please reply to my email, so I will be sure to see your answer. It is very important to us. Thank you.

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