Nervous about your next interview? Even though one can never really predict what their interview is going to be like, one can always prepare for it. And to get you all set for your interview, we have compiled the five most common interview questions that you must be prepared with along with guidelines on how to answer them.

Before we start, you must remember that you should not mug perfect answers to these ones and recite them in your interview like a parrot. Instead, you should be prepared with pointers you would cover while answering these questions and things you would avoid. So, this is just an exercise to familiarise you with possible questions and their expected responses.

Tell us a little about yourself.

You would find variations of this question in nearly every interview. The interviewer is providing you with a space to share details that might interest him. This interview question is so vague and simple that you would probably feel that you don’t need to prepare for it. And that’s where you are mistaken. When you don’t prepare for questions like these, you often extend them infinitely or miss out crucial details you would have wanted to share otherwise.

Be yourself

This is your time to build a good rapport with your interviewer. At the same time, you have to highlight why you would be perfect for the job.

To answer this question, remember a few key points:

  • Just because the question is vague, does not mean your answer has to be vague too. Keep it focussed around your personality, your accomplishments and your experience. These too should be relevant to the position you are applying for.
  • Highlight qualities that you would need in the job to impress the interviewer.
  • Keep it crisp and to-the-point. It should be a pitch about yourself, not a monologue

A good answer to this question should cover what you are doing or where your working presently, your role there. Then you could talk about your past experience and accomplishments and finally share what you can do for the company if you get the opportunity you are being interviewed for.

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Here’s how Jessica Pointing a Harward student who received internship offers from Apple, McKinsey and Goldman Sachs answers this interview question.

What is your greatest weakness?

Those who choose to answer this interview question with things like “I work too hard”, should know that the interviewer has already judged to you to be pretentious and over smart. For this question, you need to find a perfect balance between- “I am perfect” and “I am not able to stick to deadlines”.

Through this question, interviewers are not only trying to gauge whether you have a major flaw that could hamper your work but they also know how self-aware and honest you are.

Waiting for your turn

For this question, your possible answer could be:

  • A flaw that is not directly linked to your job. For instance, you say I am not good at making presentations at an interview for a nursing job. That may be stretching it too far but you get the gist, right?
  • A flaw that you have improved or are working on. For instance, you can share that you are afraid of public speaking. And then tell them how you volunteered to give a presentation with a client or hosted a small event.

A good answer to this question should be able to convince your interviewer that you know yourself and are sharing a flaw that is your own and not something that you’d have read off the internet. At the same time, it should ensure them that it would not hinder your performance.

Why did you leave or are you leaving your job?

Exit sign

This is a tough interview question to answer and so is usually a part of most interviews (unless you are a fresher). The interviewer wants to know whether the reason why you left your previous job could make you leave the one they are offering too. Here it is always safe to answer that you were looking for a “better opportunity in terms of learning” or that you wanted to “try a different work profile/environment”. This ensures that you convey that you are interested in the job profile.

Remember, being condescending about your last employer is not going to help. You only give the impression that you are not loyal and would do the same to them in the future.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

For this question, always be truthful and confident. The recruiter wants to know whether or not you have an ambition. If your looks convey that you are giving thought about it only when asked, your recruiter will think you lack clarity. For the goals you share, your recruiter judges whether they are realistic and alight to their company’s goals and growth.

The best way to prepare for this question is to look at the role you are applying for and apprehend where it could take you in five years. And tada, that’s where you would be seeing yourself.

Sometimes you can also choose to say you are not clear about where you want to be. But remember that this should be followed by how the role you are applying for can help you get that clarity and decide on your five-year goal.

Sky is the limit

Do you have any questions?

Call it a professional courtesy or a tradition, but interviewers always end the interview with this question. Well, a simple “No” is not recommended. Use this opportunity to understand the company’s culture and growth. For instance, a question like “What you do feel is the best part about working in this organisation?”.

Depending on how much clarity you got about the job and the company during your interview you can ask questions related to your job, work expectations, training you would be provided with, your team, etc.

This is also when you should get clarity on the next steps. We all know how pestering the wait is until you get a response regarding the interview. So, a question like “By when can I expect a response?” or “Are there any other formalities pending?” could also help.

In the end, you can also ask for feedback from the interviewer. For this, use a question like “Is there anything that concerns you about my background being a fit for this role?”

Preparing for these interview questions will give you the much-needed confidence in the interview. Not just that, it would ensure that you don’t come back home thinking, “Oh, I could have talked about this in that question” or “I could have answered that question differently. Hope you have a great interview.

You can also find a detailed guide to ace your next technical interview here.

And to find your next dream job, sign up on Workship– a platform to find tech-jobs in companies you’d love to work at.

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