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Commonly asked interview questions and how to answer them

Introduction

As you prepare for your interview, you may consider preparing for the questions an employer will most likely ask you. While there’s no way to know for sure what topics they cover, you can expect commonly asked interview questions.

While having a prefabricated response for every interview question is not recommended, it is highly valuable to become acquainted with what you could be asked. You’ll also get to know what hiring managers are truly looking for in your response and what is necessary to prove that you’re the ideal person for the position.

Each interviewer is unique, and their questions may differ. You may generate interesting talking points for your next job interview by preparing responses to these frequent interview questions.

Commonly Asked Interview Questions

The following set of questions is some of the most popular questions in job interviews. Having a grasp of these answers will help you ensure that you always come prepared to answer the common interview questions and seem confident.

Following are the answers to the mentioned questions:

Q. Tell me about yourself.

Since this question appears straightforward, many individuals neglect to prepare for it, yet it is critical. Instead of giving your whole professional (or personal) history, deliver a pitch that’s concise, captivating, and demonstrates why you’re the best match for the position. It is advised to utilize a present, past, and future formula. 

Q. In what ways can you contribute to the organization?

Talk about your present job, including the scope and potentially one major accomplishment, and then provide some history on how you got there and related experience. Finally, explain why you desire and are qualified for this position. 

If you are a fresher, highlight your skills you acquired and your accomplishments during your degree program. You can also speak about some interesting project ideas or pitches. 

Q. What are the key issues in your field/industry today?

Interviewers who pose this query are not merely trying to find out about your history. They want to know that you are aware of the issues and challenges facing the organization or field, as well as how you will fit in with the current structure. To understand whatever problems you are being hired to solve, attentively review the job description, research the company, and pay attention in your initial rounds of interviews. Therefore, the idea is to tie your talents and experiences to what the organization requires and offer an example of how you’ve done similar or transferrable work in the past.

Q. Why should we hire you?

This interview question appears straightforward, if not daunting! But if you’re asked this, you’re in luck! There is no greater opportunity to pitch yourself and your abilities to the hiring manager. The trick here is to come up with an answer that convinces the interviewer of the following: 

  • That you are able to do the task and produce quality results
  • That you’ll get along with the group and the culture well
  • That compared to the other applicants, you would make a better hiring choice

Q. What in your opinion are your strengths and weaknesses?

When employers ask this question, they test whether you are aware of your positive traits and how you will use them in your workplace. Be confident when you’re mentioning your strengths as it reflects your honesty. Evaluate your strengths and see how you can connect it with the job role you are applying for. Employers also want to know your weaknesses and evaluate how you will work on them eventually. 

Q. How do you manage to work under pressure?

You could feel the impulse to dodge this question to demonstrate that you are the ideal candidate and capable of handling everything. But it’s crucial to avoid passing this off, so refrain from saying things like, “I simply put my attention down and push through everything” or “I don’t get stressed out.” 

Instead, discuss your tried-and-true methods for coping with stress, such as 10 minutes of daily meditation, running, keeping an extremely-detailed to-do list, effective communication, and other proactive measures. The cherry on the cake would be if you could provide a specific example of a challenging scenario you overcame.

Q. Tell me about a difficult situation you faced with a colleague.

It is important to give an honest answer when this question arises. The employer basically wants to know how you overcome a challenging situation. Consider talking about how you handled the situation positively without hurting the sentiments of your co-worker. The answer you give tests your communication skills, integrity, negotiation skills and ability to react to unexpected situations. In case you haven’t had a tough situation with a colleague, you can speak about a personal instance and explain how you dealt with it. 

Q. What are your short-term/long-term goals?

The interviewer asks this question with a curiosity to understand whether your goals have a realistic future. This helps them evaluate whether you will be able to achieve the company’s goals. Give a clear answer and as to how your goals align with your job role. Your answer must convince the employer that your goals also help you grow professionally and personally. Also, don’t promise unrealistic goals; try to give a realistic framework.

Q. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions in interviews. Understand your job description and analyze how you would want to improve your skills and knowledge in order to move to a senior position in the coming years. For instance, you can say, “I’m excited to take up this job role and I see myself as an expert in this domain after five years.” You could also speak about leading a team since you will have relevant experience five years into your job role.

Q. Do you have any questions for me?

Most candidates’ answer for this question is a no. Many don’t realize that they have lost an opportunity to find out about the organization you are going to work in. Try asking questions about the role, the scope of the role in future and the kind of skills you need to work on to ace the role.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you appear for an interview

  • Research about the company: An essential step in the process of job searching is researching potential employers. Knowing a company well may help you decide whether a job opportunity fits your career aspirations, allow you to customize your application and CV, and help you stand out from the competition, particularly during an interview.

  • Review the job description: The tasks and obligations of a given position are clearly understood when one is sufficiently familiar with the job description. An employee’s required education, training, and abilities are often listed in a job description, providing candidates with a general idea of their self-evaluation and preparedness.

  • Practice introducing yourself: What you do, who you are, and why others should care about you are all explained in a self-introduction. Include information about yourself, such as your name, preferred occupation, and significant facts. You can provide a brief self-introduction during a job interview to assist the interviewer in getting to know you better and gauging your confidence level and presentation. Therefore, the more practice you have with it, the more you will get from the interview question about yourself.

  • Have positivity in body language: A prominent example of non-verbal communication is body language, which puts us in a state of comfort, likeability, and respect. Also referred to as open body language, it helps us get comfortable during conversations and is thus an important attribute in cracking a job interview.

  • Strike the right tone:  A confident tone is necessary for a candidate to make a good impression during the interview, and speaking clearly will help indicate effective communication. They must also watch out for becoming too casual or intimate.

  • Highlight your skills based on the job roles: The best way to show off your abilities and skill set is by using illustrations. By demonstrating how your skills have been put to use, you could persuade the hiring manager that you are a suitable fit for the job. Instead of bragging about how well you utilized your skills, explain how they align with the company’s requirements.

Conclusion 

While the mentioned common interview questions will greatly help you, do not entirely rely on them, as interviewers always try to bring unique parameters to the interview of a potential candidate.

There are a few more aspects that might benefit you in a job interview, and you must ensure to go through them, such as preparing your responses to the scenario interview questions. For example, a gap in your job history, the reason for your termination, etc. All the best for your upcoming interview!

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