Any interview is a nerve-wracking experience but is also the threshold to your dream job and your career. So, whether you like it or not you have to go through this experience. One way of getting through this relatively easily is, by preparing in advance, well, some anticipated questions.
You will generally be asked two types of questions in an interview, technical questions (to test your job knowledge) and some commonly asked questions (to know you better, to know your attitude and to find out what values you will bring to the organisation). Let us see how you can answer some commonly asked questions. These are just possible answers you can reframe them to suit your requirement.
1) Tell me about yourself.
This is generally the first question that the interviewers ask. It is asked to put the interviewee at ease, to know a little more about the candidate, to evaluate the candidate’s communication skills and confidence. To answer this question, you should say around five to six points about yourself where you should introduce yourself and give a summary of your education, skills and experience. Keep your answer extremely professional and precise and avoid narrating your entire life story.
Fresher’s possible answer: I’m an M.B.A. from …….(name of your college or university) University with specialisation in Human Resource Management. During my course, I did a two-month internship in the HR department of …….(name of the company) Company where I learnt to work on …….(name of an HR software) HR Software, screening applications and also the basics of holding training and development programs.
Experienced person’s possible answer: I’m an HR manager with an experience of about 5 years, working in ABC Company from past three years and before that I have worked in XYZ Company for two years. I have been actively involved in framing and reviewing HR policies of the company, preparing budgets for and scheduling training and development programs, managing pay plans and managing employee relations.
2) Why do you want this job?
By asking this question recruiters want to know how focused you are and how serious you are about the job. They ask this to also know whether you have any long term plans to stay in the company or not, if hired. To answer this question do a research of the job and the company beforehand and tell them what motivates you and what appeals to you the most.
Fresher’s possible answer: This is the area of my interest and I want to make my career in this field only. Moreover, the reputation of the company, its values and vision are some factors that motivate me to work here.
Experienced person’s possible answer: This is the area of my interest and expertise and I want to make a move to a more responsible position where I can use my work experience, job knowledge and skills, in both lateral and vertical development of the organization. This will help me to give a vent to my critical thinking, creativity and problem solving skills. I saw this opportunity in the position announced here. Moreover, this organization is well known for providing good growth and development opportunities and rewards hard work.
3) What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Strengths are those traits of a person’s personality which help in performing the job well and achievement of goals. Weaknesses, on the other hand, are those personality traits that may come in the way of your good job performance and goal achievement.
By asking this question the hiring managers want to know your areas of strength so that they may know in which part of the organisation you will fit well and what kind of work can be assigned to you. They also want to know how self-aware you are, and whether you acknowledge your weaknesses or not, because acknowledging weaknesses is the first step towards self-improvement.
To answer this question tell them about one or two of your strengths along with an instance where you displayed those strengths and one or two of your genuine weaknesses along with the steps you are taking to overcome them. Do not hide behind a strength while talking about your weaknesses. Avoid spelling out a long list of your strengths and weaknesses.
Fresher’s possible answer: I’m reliable and a quick learner. During my internship when I was assisting an executive in a project, the executive had to go on a leave due to some medical emergency and the responsibility to fulfil his duties fell on my shoulders. I, with the help of other team members, performed my job well and completed the project successfully and on time.
As far as weaknesses are concerned public speaking and written communication are the areas I need to work on and for that I have started practising giving speeches in front of a mirror and family and friends. To improve my written communication I have started reading different kinds of formal letters and have also taken up a short term course on formal written communication.
Experienced person’s possible answer: I’m reliable and collaborative. In the past three years I have worked on three different projects as a project leader and every time I have been able to direct, motivate and supervise my team well and completed each project successfully and on time.
As far as weaknesses are concerned public speaking and written communication are the areas I need to work on and for that I have started practising giving speeches in front of a mirror and family and friends and I grab every opportunity in my office to give a presentation. To improve my written communication I have started reading different kinds of formal letters and have also taken up a short term course on formal written communication.
4) Why should we hire you?
The recruiters here want to know what makes you different from others, how well you will fit into the organisation, what value you will bring to the organisation and how you will add up to the strength of the organisation. To answer this question, tell them about your interests, skills, strengths, experience and qualification.
Fresher’s possible answer: This is the area of my interest and I possess basic required skills, especially communication skills, to perform my job well. I have done my internship in marketing in XYZ Co. where I picked up the basics of the field like making and giving presentations, working on marketing software and most importantly interacting with clients. I have required qualifications needed for the job and I have recently done a certificate course in social media marketing to enhance my skills further.
Experienced person’s possible answer: This is the area of my interest and expertise and I possess required skills to perform the job well which I have displayed in the past also like, work scheduling, negotiation skills, working on HRIS, teamwork and collaboration and I also have relevant experience and qualifications needed for this post. Recently I have done a special certification course on ‘Developing Leadership Quotient’ which will be helpful in delivering a better performance.
5) Where do you see yourself five years from now?
The hiring managers want to know your vision for yourself and if you have any long-term plans of staying associated with the organisation.
The possible answer for anyone: I see myself as one of the most productive members of this organisation who has contributed and is still in the process of contributing immensely towards the growth of the organisation.