Most questions interviewers ask candidates are very common and figure in most of the interviews. If candidates better prepare themselves for these standard interview questions, their chances to impress employers will be greater and will push them closer to the job
1.Tell us something about yourself
This is the most predictable and the most boring one but is often asked. In fact, this is one of the most common opening questions asked but candidates make the mistake of giving the interviewers a brief about themselves just as it is mentioned on their CV.
This question is asked to break the ice so you can start with some of your personal interests like golf, skiing, tennis, playing the piano or running marathons. This can be a good beginning but it’s advisable to stay precise about your personal life.
Then move on to your professional side by sharing some key professional assets that will portray you as the best candidate for the job. Here, you can talk about your expertise, skills and qualifications that will prove that you will not only excel in the job but will also be an asset to the organisation.
2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What is your greatest strength? is again a very common question and so is one about a candidate’s weaknesses.
To answer the first one, talk about your professional attributes that should push you closer to the job.
For example, you can say that you are very meticulous and believe in planning much in advance and prefer to finish tasks well ahead of schedule rather than trying to meet deadlines. This is also the time to boast about your management and organisation skills and highlight the habit of setting targets for yourself and then taking pride in exceeding them.
You can also say that you do not work by the clock and can focus and devote time to a project at any time of the day, if need be. You can also focus on how you’ve been getting good performance bonuses every year because of your outstanding achievements in exceeding the sales targets or in getting new clients or business for the company.
On the weaknesses bit, you have to be tactful and smart. You can focus on points that aren't critical for the job, or the weaknesses that you have worked on and turned into your strengths.
3. Why do you want this job?
Whatever your reasons may be for this but you should tell the interview what he wants to hear. You can’t complain about your current dead-end job, salary or boss woes. Your potential employer does not want you to bad mouth your current one but wants to know about the good things that you believe can happen if you were hired.
So, focus on how the new company can help you grow professionally and the ways you can add value to the team and the business. You can talk about the challenges that the new workplace has to offer and your passion and ability to live up to them.
You can tell the employer that his company is fast growing and you want to grow with it. This is especially true if you want to work with a start-up. You have to be prepared to convince the employer that this is the kind of challenging role that you look forward to and the office that you would love to come to each morning.
4. Why should we hire you?
You’ve spoken about your interests, strengths and weakness, now the employer wants you to give him reasons why s/he should hire you. They know that you can do the job and that’s why you have been shortlisted for the interview rounds but what s/he wants to know is what makes you the best fit for the position?
This is the time to market yourself so don’t be shy but do not come out as over confident. List all your skills and accomplishments that put you as the best candidate for the job - for example, you are a leader who can get the team together to turn a loss making venture into a profitable one.
Tell them you are the employee who has won rewards in client servicing or the list of clients who wish to deal with you.
You have to focus and highlight your uniqueness for the job and that could be qualities you possess, strong business acumen, problem solving skills or the ability to effectively manage a team etc.
5. What is your salary expectation?
Employers want to know your current pay cheque because they want to size you up. A tentative figure will give them an idea of how much you would be willing to negotiate. In your best interest, it is advisable that you avoid answering your current salary question in the beginning.
Be smart in telling them you’d be happy to talk about money at a later stage or that under your current employment conditions you are not permitted to discuss your salary and financial incentives with a competitor.