22 Usual Interview Questions and How to Ace Your Responses To Them

Updated: Feb 21

Interviews can be quite a difficult experience. The nervousness, the tension, the high stakes, and the type of questions one may get asked. However, all interviews conducted these days may be seen to have some commonalities and similarities between them, especially the types of questions that an interviewer may end up asking.

Even though we may not be completely accurate, here are some of the most common questions as well as how to exactly respond to them to ensure a successful interview. Another useful note may be that instead of ensuring a fixed and set response to every question, the aim must be to understand a recruiter or interviewer’s psyche in a better way. This will help you ensure that the impression being made on your interviewee will last longer while being adaptive to anything unusual that may come up during the interaction.

Source: Medium

1) Tell me a little bit about yourself? In this scenario, the interviewer is interested in understanding the candidate’s personal and professional background. This requires you to talk about something different and unique about yourself. While this has to be something that is not your cover letter or resume, which is already in front of the interviewer, you must be able to show how you would be the correct fit for the company and what exactly you bring to the table. The response may be to why you took certain decisions in the past, perhaps a unique detail about you or something important while ensuring the interviewer understands your reasoning and thought process.

2) Why should we hire you? This is another question aimed at candidate eligibility. The recruiter must understand how exactly you fit in and what would be your distinct contribution to the company as per your skillset and past experiences. One way to approach this is to link the job description with your core competencies, showing how these two aspects would match up.

3) What are your strong areas? Here, the intention from the interviewer is to understand areas where you would genuinely be a standout from the rest of your future colleagues. Rather than providing clichés and standard flat responses, such as “I’m hardworking/committed/passionate” and so on, your strengths may be best demonstrated through a work story you may have, where your strengths came into play and helped achieve something great

4) How did you hear about us and this role? This is an important question, even though it is a straightforward one. If a friend recommended the position for you to apply for, it would be of no harm to mention that person’s name and their designation at the organization, which would create a good impression and provide you with strong credit and backing. If it was an online job listing, you should discuss the factors that appealed to you and encouraged you to apply, such as an interesting detail in the job description or an attention-grabbing job title. This shows a clear and proper understanding of what the job entails while showing your genuine enthusiasm and interest in the work itself

5) Where do you think you will reach in five years? This question about the future is for the interviewer to get a clear idea about your career trajectory and whether or not your commitment to the prospective company would be long-term or short-term. Please ensure that a realistic and honest response is given so that there is absolute clarity and zero confusion on both ends and the process continues smoothly.

6) What do you think are your biggest flaws or weaknesses? While many interviewees try to present themselves as perfect as possible to the employer, this question requires an open, honest, and real response. This response must show that you are well- aware of areas where you may fall short and are willing to work on them. Companies must also understand that a perfect employee is not someone who exists, and have to learn to adapt and adjust to different people and different personalities.

7) Why Company X/ Why this particular company? Employers look to judge whether or not the candidate has any actual knowledge about the company and organization and make sure that the candidate knows what they are headed towards and what they should expect. For interviewees, this is an excellent opportunity to show the extent of their background knowledge, while also ensuring they display genuine interest in the company’s work, their projects, and their people.

8) What was your biggest/ most satisfying achievement? This question requires you to think back on all the work experiences gained. You would need to adapt to the employer and firm that is being responded to, since some companies require exact numbers and figures about something you achieved, while some may be interested in the story being told about the experience and how it was an opportunity to learn and grow.

9) When was a time that you demonstrated strong leadership skills? Another important question, since most, or rather all companies and organizations look for strong leadership skills and prefer people who can take charge and lead from the front. Again, your response must depend on the company and its values, so ensure that the anecdote provided shows them your understanding of leadership and how your skills can help take the company forward.

10) Tell me about the time you made a mistake: While professional life has its very own ups and downs, companies would like to see their prospective employees be candid and honest about any moment where they may have fallen short and done something wrong. In this case, the interviewee has to ensure a fine balance is struck by not exposing themselves too much and also ensuring that the right message is sent to the potential employers.

11) What are your salary expectations? This is another tricky but important question. Companies and employers need to assess the value you bring to the organization and weigh that up against reasonable remuneration for the deserving candidate. There may be several strategies to address this question. One of the best ways to tackle this would be to request further clarification on the exact responsibilities of the position being applied to, to get a better idea about the exact workload attached to the role. Having done some background research about the usual compensation for such a role, or taking a cue from your previous work experiences, one may also quote a ballpark figure to ensure that a salary figure is communicated to the company.

12) How do you tackle stressful situations? Stress is a very important factor in professional life; hence companies and organizations need to evaluate how prospective families handle stress-inducing situations. The ability to be able to perform under a high-pressure environment needs to be evident in the candidate’s response, through an anecdote or a personal experience.

13) Why do you want this particular job? Another important question of employee fit with the company. This means trying to explain how the job aligns with both your immediate and future professional goals, and how it would set you on the career path you have already decided for yourself. This provides clarity to the employer about your aims, objectives, and ambitions with regards to your professional life and career.

Source: Mogan Phillips

14) What is your dream job? Staying realistic and to-the-point is key here. As the employer attempts to understand your career peak, you need to provide them a realistic answer. Instead of framing the job, you are applying for as your dream job, discuss how the job you are applying for would add to your personal and professional development and develop the required skillset for that dream job. This provides insight to the employer about what exactly you are working towards, as well as what exactly you hope to gain from the company and your work with them.

15) Describe your ideal work environment. This allows the employer to gauge whether or not the company’s environment and overall office culture would be suited to you, as well as your work and your skillset. It would be preferred if a specific answer is provided and provide a link between your ideal work environment with the one that the company is looking to provide to you, to decide if the two situations match.

16) How do you lead and manage people around you? While this is an important question about personality traits, employers attempt to understand how to place you within the system as well as the kind of people to be linked to you in the office. Drawing upon the company’s values and mission statement, the response requires you to be candid as well as flexible. In presenting oneself as a team player and motivator, it can help develop a positive image in front of the company.

17) How would you describe yourself? This question aims to shed light on the key areas of self-reflection and self-analysis on behalf of the employer. The company needs to understand how the candidate’s personal opinion of itself is developing a suitable employee or not. The candidate must be open and honest, without aiming for perfection or coming across as too self-absorbed or overconfident. Genuine humility and acceptance is the key to good self-analysis and presenting a realistic image of oneself in front of prospective employers.

18) What questions do you have for me? This is one of the most common concluding questions in interviews. This question attempts to understand if there are any nagging queries, concerns or clarifications to be addressed. Intelligent queries seeking to know more about whether or not the company is the right fit would probably be the best possible response.

19) How do you spend your leisure time? Modern-day employers prefer having workers who lead full, healthy, active, and interesting lives beyond the office doors. This allows for higher motivation and productivity while keeping them engaged. An interesting response needs to be crafted, by providing some relevant details of one’s personal lives, such as hobbies and daily routine. By showing oneself as having an interesting and appealing personality, a candidate can present a likable impression of themselves to the recruiter.

20) How would you define “success”? Another insightful question, which attempts to dig deeper into the candidate’s thinking process and motivations. A reasonable response would be to ensure that your definition of success is realistic, results-driven, clear, and straightforward. An honest response would show that the candidate is well-grounded and a candidate who has a clear vision about what they want to achieve.

21) Have you applied to jobs in any other company? A potentially tricky question, this needs to be dealt with carefully. With the employer looking to understand exactly how serious the candidate is with regards to the job and the company, while they also need to know who exactly they are dealing with for your services. If the wrong communication occurs, the candidate can risk losing any potential offer as well as the company’s interest in pursuing the recruitment process any further. The applicant must also demonstrate their commitment to the role as well as the organization. If similar roles are discussed, the candidate must clarify how this role stands out and is more suitable. The response depends on how the job search is going for the candidate and how many as well as which companies have proceeded with the recruitment process in total.

22) How do you handle conflict in the workplace? Conflict management skills are extremely important in the modern-day workplace since conflict and all kinds of disagreements remain a natural element of professional life. While recruiters and talent acquisition experts look for a candidate’s skill level in engaging with a variety of authority figures in the workplace. The candidate’s response must reflect how conflict is not always a negative phenomenon but can be used as a positive occurrence to drive debate, discussion, and healthy competition within the office space.

Leave your fears behind when you are going for an interview, face the panel with a positive attitude and confidence, and trust me you’ll get selected!

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