Frequently asked questions in Interview – I

This is first in the series of “Frequently asked questions during Interviews”.

Question: 1. Tell Me a Little About Yourself?
This is the most general and probably the most difficult question, as one has to cover up the entire life story within a couple of minutes. But if handled well, this can be the best from the candidate’s point of view. There is no need to explain about your childhood, hobbies or schooling. Instead this is an invitation to convince the interviewer what you can offer the company through your education, training or experience. Yes, you can describe your co-curricular activities; interest or part time work provided they have some relation with the job you are applying for.

As you have to prove your credibility for the job, it is important to explain how you attracted in this particular kind of job, company and your key accomplishments in the previous job. Again the time allotted to a particular candidate would be limited and hence one should make most out of it focusing on the above-mentioned points.

Question:2. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?
This is another common question that one can be expect to be asked in almost every interview and its answer depends on different circumstances. Possibly there can be three different categories and one has to explain it in suitable context. Whatever may be the context but one should stay positive when answering this question. You should try to make positive statement about the previous job and company that can show your desire for growth, taking responsibilities and facing challenges.

Here are the three circumstances and some key points to answer these questions:

Resign for a change – Every one wants a new position and takes new challenges just to prove that s/he is able to take the next step of his career. So when answering this one never tried to show any kind of disregard to your current job instead explain that the next job is more challenging and can be another stepping stone in your career.

You can answer in this way as you are in this current company for two years and no more find the work interesting. You want new challenges for learning new things. Point out that there are no advanced opportunities in the present company and therefore you decided for a change, which will be helpful in your career goal.

Lay off – This is also a very common thing in most of the private sector but the answer should be specific with facts and figures behind your lay off. There can be a situation that a company faces bankruptcy and so decided to cut the number of employees or even eliminate some departments. Again one can explain that position along with his/her group was eliminating as the project on which they were working on was cancelled. So it’s not a big taboo these days and you just have to explain it in a more effective way.

Get Fired – Its becomes a little difficult to answer in this circumstances but one should be honest and quick while explaining it. Explain frankly whether you have faced any unfair circumstances or did something wrong that pushed you under this situation. Neither you have to present your former employer in a negative way nor a victim of yourself. Always explain what you have learned from this experience in making you stronger.

Question: 3. What’s Your Biggest Weakness?
This is a typical and bit difficult question that every job applicant faces. Here are certain tips to tackle interview questions particularly this one. Interviewer wants to check your challenging ability in facing adverse situation. However, the important thing that one should keep in mind that after discussing your weakness point always try to mention the measures you have done to overcome it.

One should not confess something big but should consider a weakness that is real, understandable, work related and relatively harmless. The interviewer is always in search for your ability of self-assessment and a commitment and your effort for self-development. Select a weakness that can be seen both in positive as well as negative, but should not directly related to the job for which you are being interviewed.

Examples –

Procrastinate – I used to have a tendency to procrastinate but now I am prepared to make a strict schedule for all my projects even setting up a deadline.

Time management – Because of my busy schedule time management is a problem for me. But I have recently purchased a PDA that can help me in keeping better organized.

Speaking in front of a group – I used to get nervous while speaking in front of a group but now taking public speaking classes and have become much more comfortable.

Perfectionist – Most of time I focus a little more on my project with intend to be a perfectionist. That brings a little more stress but now I when I am working on a project, first I list out all priorities and then started work on it.

Question: 4. Do You Have Any Questions for Me?
Answer: This is one of the questions that every interviewer asks at the end but surprisingly the common answer is ‘no’ which shows a wrong attitude. The answer should be ‘yes’ following a couple of thoughtful questions. The questions can be related to the company, the kind of position and even you can ask the interviewer about his likes and dislikes about the company.

Always avoid asking questions on package like salary, vacation as these show that you are much more interested about the compensation than the job. You can ask about the kind of projects you have to work if you will be selected. Also don’t forget to ask the next step in the interview process of the job.

Question: 5. What experience do you have in this field?
Answer: Mention specific information related to the position you are attaining the interview. If you don’t have any experience in the respective field then just clear them that you are a fresher and just completed your academics or what so ever.

Question: 6. Do you consider yourself successful?
Answer: One should always answer yes following a brief explanation. The best answer should be like this: Yes I can consider myself successful as I have certain set goals from which I have achieved and rest is on the track.

Question: 7. What do co-workers say about you?
Answer: One should always come up with some quotes from co-workers either any particular statement or comment. It really doesn’t matter in any interview whether you said a positive or negative.

Question: 8. What do you know about this organization?
Answer: This question requires some research on the organization prior to interview. It is better to find out the market status, products, competitor, development issues and effort for its advancement etc. Also it’s important to know company’s history and yearly growth rate that can show a clear aspect for its bright future. All these things can show your genuine interest in this company.

Question: 9. What have you done to improve your knowledge in the last year?
Answer: Tell about your various improvement activities that you have done in context of your job. Activities related to any project in the previous organization or even some more academic qualification that can be mentioned as a positive self-improvement. Mention some handy ones.

Question: 10. Are you applying for other jobs?
Answer: Don’t waste much time in answering this question and reply with honestly. Your focus should be on this organization and the level of commitment you can do for the growth of this organization.


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