Would you like to feel confident and well prepared before any interview?
While every company is different and their interview processes unique, there are some common interview questions that you are likely to be asked in almost every company's interview.
There are also general tips and ways of preparing for these interview questions, which are our recommendations of how best to answer these questions. However, you should definitely personalize these sample responses according to your profile and personality.
10 Common Interview Questions:
Tell me about yourself
What are your greatest strengths?
What are your greatest weaknesses?
Why are you leaving (or did you leave) this position?
Why should I hire you?
Why do you want to work at our company?
What changes would you make if you came on board?
Can you work under pressure?
Tell me about your work in the last company
Give me an example where you showed good team spirit
Before getting into the details of showing you answers to the above questions, a few pieces of general advice:
Be positive and confident
Whenever you talk about past experiences or examples from your personal life, don't focus on the negative aspects of those experiences. Instead talk about how all your experiences, whether good or bad, were a great learning opportunity for you.
It never helps to present a false picture of who you are or what your skills and experiences are. Apart from the fact that people appreciate honest, sincere individuals in an interview, setting the wrong expectations might land you the job, but your true skill and effectiveness will only show in the work that you deliver.
Pay attention to your body language
Dress well (Business formals for men and Formals or Indian ehtnic wear for women)
Shake hands confidently
Try to maintain eye contact whenever appropriate
Read about the company and role
Go through their company website – you should at least know what the company does. Read about what are the core products or services the company offers.
If possible, go through their Vision, Mission or Values statements – if you use them in your answers, it helps you make a good impression.
Last but definitely not the least, read about the Job Description and the
Requirements for the position that you are applying for thoroughly. Basically, find out what your potiential employer wants, and in the interview, show them how you are a good fit for their requirements.
Now, let's get into the details of answering the 10 common interview questions:
1. Tell me about yourself
Below is a basic framework of answering this question:
Once you have presented your basic information, go into the details of how your skills, qualifications and experience are quite relevant for the requirements that the company has.
This is where your homework about the company and the role that you are applying for will help.
Another way to answer this question is to follow-up your introduction with a question to understand "what is the interviewer exactly looking for in this profile?".
It saves a lot of time if you focus only on those skills or experiences that are relevant for this position.
2. What are your greatest strengths?
This question is an opportunity for you to present your best self. Prior to any interview, you should have a list mentally prepared of your greatest strengths.
You should have one or two specific examples for each strength, chosen from your most recent and most impressive achievements.
As a general guideline, some of the most desirable traits that all employers love to see in their employees are:
A proven track record as an achiever – especially if your achievements match up with the employer's requirements
Honesty and integrity – basically a decent human being
A team player who fits well in the company
Good communication skills
Dedication – willingness to take extra efforts to achieve excellence
Having a purpose or clear goals
Enthusiasm – high levels of motivation
Confidence, and leadership skills
3. What are your greatest weaknesses?
It's important to prepare well for this question and respond carefully. You don't want to cast any doubt on your ability to do the job.
However, you also don't want to seem arrogant or dishonest by saying that you don't have any weaknesses.
A good way to this answer this question positively is:
Pick a weakness that is not critical to the job you are applying for
Explain how you have identified the weakness and are working on fixing it
This will help to demonstrate that not only are you humble enough to admit you have a weakness, but you also are motivated enough to keep improving yourself.
Remember at all times try to make your response sound as authentic and honest as possible. You will be able to do this only if you prepare and memorize your answer beforehand.
Below is a great video on how to prepare for this question:
4. Why are you leaving (or did you leave) this position?
Never say anything negative about your previous industry, company, board, boss, staff, employees or customers. Be honest while answering this question but frame it in such a way that you don't sound like you're only blaming other people or yourself.
Instead have a positive approach to this question, some of the ways you can answer this question is:
You want to learn some specific skills or gain some specific experience that you are unable to at the current / previous position
You want to work with people who are more skilled and experienced than you
You want an opportunity to grow, either financially or professionally
You want to expand your horizons and learn an entirely new skill set etc.
For every position in your past experience prepare a brief reason on why you left the position.
If you did get fired from the previous position, don't lie about it.
5. Why should I hire you?
Walk through each of the position's requirements as you understand them, and follow each with a reason on why you meet that requirement so well. Wherever possible, include numbers and statistics of your past performance, data is always more convincing than just words.
A person who can politely talk to customers and handle their issues
Possible Reason for hiring you:
" I think I am a very good fit for this role because I have worked as a Customer Service Executive for 2 years. Thanks to the training that I received along with my experience of handling over 120 customer grievances every week, I am confident that I will be able to understand your customers' issues and get them resolved effectively. "
6. Why do you want to work at our company?
This question tests whether you've done any homework about the company or not. Like we have mentioned before, read about the company, their website, their services, their Vision, Mission and Values statements thoroughly before going for the interview.
Some of the reasons that you can mention are, How:
You are excited about the products and services that the firm is working on and you want to be a part of the effort
You are inspired by the Vision and the Mission of the firm to make an impact, and want to contribute
You are looking forward to be a part of the excellent work culture the company offers
You think this company is the best place to learn, grow and cultivate your skills etc.
7. What changes would you make if you came on board?
A good way of answering this question is:
List down the top two to three items that you think will have the highest impact
List down ideas or actions on how you would go about tackling them
If possible list down costs and timelines for your actions
Give examples from your past experience or training whenever possible
8. Can you work under pressure?
This is an easy question and the obvious answer you would want to give is Yes. But make your answer believable.
Think of a story or incident that you can provide as an example of times when you handled pressure well.
9. Tell me about your work in the last company
Candidates who are appearing for interview while having prior experience will
commonly be asked this question. However before you answer it, what you should realize is the intent behind asking this question.
Your interviewer will not ask you this question just to hear about your story, but the intention usually is to find out:
Was your recent experience relevant to what their requirements are?
What were your responsibilities there, and will you fill in the responsibilities for this role well?
How was your performance in the last role and will you perform well for this role? Etc.
Once you have realized these intentions, focus your answer to talk about these aspects only – Your expertise or skills, your responsibilities and your performance.
10. Give me an example where you showed good team spirit
So the key to answering it effectively is by quoting an example that is recent and relevant.
Talk about how you faced a situation where you kept your own interests, or ego or opinions aside, and that helped the team to actually perform better as a whole.
These are some of the basic interview questions that are commonly asked by a lot of companies across industries. We hope this list of suggestions on how to answer them was helpful. Remember to stay confident, stay prepared and stay positive.