When I see a title like that I have ceaseless flashes of memories from my job interviews. That last minute adrenaline rush before entering ‘THE ROOM OF FATE’ and those cold sweats.
That stern look on the interviewer’s face calling out loud, “Thou shalt not pass so easy” still gives me jitters. Fortunately, I am pursuing a career in analytics now and I also write these uncanny blogs at times to shed some enlightenment feeling good about myself. 😛
So today we are going to tackle the 15 most common interview questions and how to nail them.
1) Tell me something about yourself.
The most dreaded question also supposed to be an ice breaker. But what it really does is freeze the candidates like the ice and the only thing that breaks is our mind. We try hard, like really hard to talk about ourselves. 😛
What we generally do? – Read out our entire CV ending up speaking stuff like I like to watch television in my free time and sleep! An instant facepalm on the interviewer’s face.
The way it is supposed to happen is you telling the stern guy sitting on the other side of the table things that are not in your CV. Be yourself. Tell him about the things you like, things you do and want to do. It can be as generic as stamp collection to as outrageous as being a die hard fan of Shahrukh Khan! Trust me it works. I recommended the same to my roommate who was in a dire dilemma of what to say. And you won’t believe it but the interviewer happened to be a fan of Shahrukh too. They chatted for over 15 mins on their superstar and built a great rapport.
2) What is your greatest strength?
The best way to answer this question is to speak about your skills that directly correlate with the job. Narrow down to 2-3 skills (tech/soft skills or other relevant stuff) and talk about them. Illustrate with the help of real life examples where you have demonstrated those skills. Giving a context always gets the other side interested.
3) What is your greatest weakness?
This is a trick question. Speak about how emotional you are or how you lack patience and you’re done. Rather speak something that turns the negative into positive.
Tell them how obsessed you are with your work being perfect that you tend to check it multiple times. However, you have now set up a balanced system by incorporating multiple checkpoints throughout your deliverables.
4)Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
What the recruiters really want to know is that does your career plan and the job roles coincide? Are you applying just for the sake of it or you are totally into it. Nobody wants to hire an employee who will just use the company as a stepping stone and leave within a year.
5)Why should I hire you?
Well, this question has no specific answer and everyone has their own versions. What I suggest is to deep dive into the job description beforehand, research well about the industry. Then narrow down to top 3 qualities which they are looking for and own it. Cite relevant examples with your work life or personal life and let them know that you are the one!
6) What do you know about our company?
When a recruiter asks you this he doesn’t really want you to read out the about us page of the company’s website. What they are looking to gauge is how well you understand the work they do, their mission and to what degree you care. Take some magic keywords from the website, draw inferences from articles or news and relate them to your life.
7) What are you passionate about?
People say stuff like reading and they can’t really tell them what was the last good thing they read in 2 months! Do not mention outlandish things and axe your own leg. Associating your passion to a life activity is very important.
Eg.- From a very young age, I have been passionate about music. I listen to and practice different genres of music. I feel music can bring a difference to this world and I have tried doing my bit by organizing and performing at charity functions. We have helped the poor and needy with the proceedings from those shows.
8) What other companies have you applied to?
The trick is not to show your all but half cards. Again draw relevance to your job profile. Quote one or two big players of the industry you have applied for and make them feel that you actually want to pursue a career in the concerned industry. Give them reasons to feel that you are actually interested in working in that industry and hence have applied.
9) What are your salary expectations?
The recruiters mainly want to know whether you are on the same page or have expectations way above. The trick is to couple your salary expectations with your experience and excellence. Further, study the industry standards via glassdoor and salary.com. You can compare the two and then fix a figure in your mind.
Do not ask to be underpaid or overpaid.
10) We are a very structured organization and proceed in a systematized manner. Do you also prefer organized workflow or rather a chaotic one?
This one is a bit tricky! I personally encountered this questions while sitting with a CMD of a company. What the answer should be is actually on these lines:
We should try our best to maintain a smooth flow of our work. However, there are instances of chaos. Chaos brings challenges and gives scope to innovate and break out of the box. The work life should be a perfect balance of chaos and flow. Only then success comes.
11) Who has been your best and worst boss?
Now, now. Never take names on this one. The recruiter is actually trying to read you. He wants to know whether are you the kind of person who carries a grudge or not. Sign off smooth by saying:
I’ve had my share of experiences with people. The good ones taught me what to do and the bad taught me what not to do. I ended up learning either way so there is no good or a bad boss for me.
12) What kind of a work environment do you prefer?
Draw easy and straight relation to the Our Culture page on the company’s website. Add a bit of sugar and spice with everything nice and you are good to go.
13) Why was there a gap in your employment/studies?
Do not bluff. Give them context on what you did in the gap. Do not use an unnecessary family or health reason to cover up. This might backfire. Be yourself and be direct. Recruiters prefer real and not fake employees.
14) If you are given a case study or a puzzle to solve.
Do not hesitate, ask for a pen and paper, draw relevant illustrations, do the math and try. If you are completely out of ideas mention it and move on to the next one. It is much better than wasting their time and scribbling desperately.
15) Do you have any questions for us?
Never say a no! You have a golden opportunity of showing how interested you are in the company. Ask them about their journey or a recent news or article they came across. If you are a tech savvy person and so is the recruiter, have a brief chat on any of the new technologies. The key here is to listen. Listen to what they have to say. Ask questions and leave with a happy face with a warm smile.
We hope these tips come in handy during your next interview!