Home Articles Job Search Answers to Classic Interview Questions that Invariably Get Asked

This article tackles answers to the likeliest questions that get asked in interviews. The answers provided can be used as starting points to craft your responses to these questions. This is excellent preparation to impress an interview panel.

Could you please share some information about yourself?

This is an all-time favorite. You can expect this to be the session opener. This is not an opportunity to get into the details of your life or your job history. Instead, give the panel an insight into why you’re a good fit for the job. It requires preparation. It sounds like one of those easy-to-answer questions in any exam, but it can be tricky. Keep it pithy. Accentuate the positives. Mention your current responsibilities, your expectations for growth, and relevant experience.

Where did you learn about this job opening?

Questions can’t come more innocent-sounding than this, but this question gives the interviewer a peek into your motivations for the job. If you got it through a job board, mention the name of the website. If you learned about it from a friend, take the person’s name. Let the questioner know about the reasons for your choice to appear for the interview.

What do you know about this company, or why do you wish to join this company?

The interviewer is trying to learn about your preparedness for the interview and the job. If you can highlight points that position you as a good fit for the company’s culture, it will help your cause, for sure. Avoid a generic answer. Structure your answer to sync with your role in the company and how you can contribute to its growth. If you’ve had an opportunity to talk to employees, then share what you’ve learned if you think it can help your answer. Drop a statistic or two to make your answer more appealing. Be specific and to the point.

Why do you want this position/job?

Interviewers want to make sure that they hire the right person for the job. Your resume gives them a good answer, and they want to assess you against the points you mention in the resume. If you’ve mentioned that you’re passionate about sales or have ideas to boost sales in a particular region, they may want to measure you on that but may choose not to ask a direct question. This question gives them insight. It will also reveal to them your motives for applying for the job.

Would you hire yourself, or why should we hire you?

Answers to all questions require research and preparation, and none more so than this one. This question is an opportunity to make a superb but subtle pitch for your suitability for the job. Know what the company needs and think about how you can fulfill those needs. Present these points if this question gets asked. Essentially, the answer should touch upon three points – your ability to do the work, your passion for the job and the qualifications that make you a better fit than other employees, and how you’re confident of integrating with the company’s culture.

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Tell us about your strengths

Again, mention your strengths in the context of the job at hand. If you can present an unrelated positive in your physical and mental makeup as being relevant to the context, then that’s great. If you’ve got good communication skills and got a commendation to prove it, then do mention this. Mention instances when your strengths helped you and others.

What are your weaknesses?

By the time this question comes, the interviewer may have already assessed your strengths and weaknesses and wants to check how informed or self-aware you are. Wisdom dictates that you do not mention a weakness that critically contravenes essential requirements for the job. The interviewers are alert toward red flags. Don’t wave any in front of them. If the job requires shifts, you cannot afford to say that you’re not comfortable working nights. Mention weaknesses that you know you can overcome or are already in the process of overcoming.

Could you share some professional achievements?

If you’ve got solid professional achievements, you make the interviewer’s job easy. Mention some of your best moments at work when you could contribute over and above what was expected of you. Were there times when your ideas saved the company money? Did you ever bring in a new client? Did your technical prowess save the day for the IT department? Have you consistently met sales targets? The scope for presenting achievements is endless, provided you have done something, and it can be corroborated.

How do you resolve conflicts?

Companies are always anxious to learn about the firefighting, working-under-pressure, and conflict resolution abilities of interviewees, especially for mid to high-level employees and team managers. Interviewers appreciate honesty. They want to know how you weathered a problematic situation. They want to hear that you faced the situation head-on. They may also ask you about your learning from experience. You must be ready with an answer to this.

Can you share an instance when you made a mistake?

Everybody makes mistakes. And this question segues nicely with earlier questions on solid points. Don’t get caught on the wrong foot here. People make mistakes. A lot depends on how you present this mistake to the interviewers. Accept responsibility for what happened, avoid blaming others, and elaborate on your learnings from the episode.

Why do you wish to leave your present job?

Don’t let negativity creep into the answer. Your interviewers have the experience to understand and empathize with your stresses. They may even be aware of what’s going on at your present workplace. Present the facts but underplay any bitterness. Talk about how you’re eager to accept new challenges and that the present job is a better fit for your skills. If you were let go, then say so. That’s fine.

Conclusion

The interview questions listed here are very commomly asked and for a reason. They give the interviewers an insight into your soft skills, preparedness and your ability to think critically and strategically. You should always be prepared to answer these and similar questions with honesty, sincerity and positive attitude.

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