How to answer typical job interview questions

Employers generally ask the same set of questions of young graduates, seeking a job. The questions are designed to gauge the strengths of candidates. Remember, everyone, interviewing for a position will have the same qualification. Only those who meet other standards expected by the company get appointed. Don't mess up your interview, Use this guide to answer interview question and ace it.

Fresh graduates, all set for their first job usually have no clue on what to expect once they are seated across the interview table. Nervousness and anxiety set in, and amidst all the tension the chances of ruining your prospects are high. Would it not be nice if you can prepare yourself beforehand, with probable questions that you might face? This could boost your confidence, help you relax and go through the interview with relative ease.

Employers generally have similar questions to ask young graduates. You can expect questions on the organisation that you're interviewing for, the position you are applying for, your motivations and what makes you believe you are the right one for the job.

Don't get stumped and be left fumbling for words. Instead, go prepared to impress the interviewers –

Questions About the Employer

What do you know about the organisation?

It is always good to be informed about the organisations that you are interviewing with. Do a little research, but avoid parroting what is given on the website. Do some in-depth research on the services or products the company provides. Talk of why they interest you – make mention of any positive news report that you might have come across, for instance, the stock price going up or the company getting into partnership with another leading name.

How will you be an asset to the organisation?

You have no work experience, so you will need to emphasise on the qualities that you possess. Speak of your skills and how you can put them to use. Remember the research you did about the company. Connect your skills to what the company does and speak on how those could benefit the company.

Why did you apply for a job with the company?

The interviewer might want to know why you are interested in working for the organisation. Don't be honest and blurt the truth about you applying to every possible opening you could find. That will only show desperation.

Instead, flatter the interviewer(s) by highlighting all the positive aspects of the company that you can think of. Say things like the company is among the best in the industry and it would be a privilege to be part of such an illustrious name. Stress on the company's strengths – if it's into manufacturing, mention that you want to work on the shop floor, where the real work happens.

Also, mention that you look forward to the challenges that the work would throw at you and how working with the company would provide you with a chance for personal and professional growth, qualities that you want to attain.

What are your views on a good working environment?

Tricky question, since your response will perhaps decide whether you will fit into the system or not. Speak of an environment that throws challenges at you (this reflects that you are not afraid of difficult tasks), speak of an organisations that gives room for responsibilities and training (which shows that you will turn out to be a good learner), emphasise on the need for an opportunity to develop your skills and not be cloistered in just one job.

Questions about the position

Why are you interested in this sector/career?

Express your motivation. Let the interviewers know why you are interested in the particular field or profession. If you have always dreamed of being in that position – speak of it. Use phrases like "Right through university I acquainted myself with..." or I kept myself occupied learning to..." Give real-life examples from your immediate past.

If you saw/read something about the sector make a mention of it and explain why it got you interested. Be convincing in whatever you say.

Why should you be hired?

This is one of the standard questions asked at most interviews. The obvious answer would be because I am qualified for the position. But, think of all those who've said the same thing before you and all those who'll say the same thing after your interview. Your response should stand out and send a strong message that you are the right candidate.

Take this opportunity to highlight your skills and how they could actually work for the company/position. Did you intern in a similar position? Did you do a project or write a paper? Do you have an interest in that field? Have you read up or acquired skills that can be of use? Link all these to the position you're applying for and explain how your experience will work.

Why did you apply for this position

Speak of the interest that you have in the job profile. If it is marketing related or a management position or whatever, speak of how the job fits your skills. How you have always wanted to be in that field. Tell the interviewer why it is almost a passion. Make your skills the focus - the interviewer(s) should be able to relate to what you are saying and how your skills will fit the job profile. Add that it will give you an opportunity to be employed with one of the best organisations.

What are the skills/qualities that you have to offer?

You might also be asked what you think are the skills required for the position. Your research on the organisation will help you pull through this question. In addition read through the job profile and skills advertised in the recruitment bulletin. Use the bits of information gathered to piece together your response. Use words such as people skill, technical skill, management skill, planning and organising, good communication skill, creativity, teamwork, problem-solving, reasoning and analytical skills, and responsibility etcetera.

Questions about you

Are you suited for the position?

Funny that the interviewer may ask you this, but they do and it is an opening to reiterate your abilities and confidence. Go back to the company profile and take cues from there to answer this question. What kind of position is it and what are the required skills? Elaborate on the skills you possess and any experience you might have and how that makes you suitable for the position.

Showcase any other skills or qualities that you have that will prove beneficial. For instance, if you liaised with companies during a college festival or you organised an event in a college or were part of something big, use such and similar instances to highlight your skills.

How can you contribute?

You obviously do not have work experience, so talk of your past achievements and blend them with how you will skillfully be able to work similarly at the job. You can talk about extra-curricular activities and make it relevant to the position.

For example, you represented your college in a sport, yet managed academics. Use this information to your advantage as being able to manage time and different activities without compromising on either.

Recommended reading: How to answer the tricky 'Tell me about yourself' question in an interview

Is your academic qualification your strength?

It's the time to elaborate on how you will apply your academic knowledge to the job on offer. Don't go on a tangent about what you studied instead boast about your allied knowledge and skills. Talk of things like time and resource management, research and analysis and initiative. Correlate these skills with your college life and stress on how you'll bring the same qualities to the table.

What can the company expect of you?

Talk of your positive attributes, some of which have been mentioned in the course of this article. Also, show yourself as being enthusiastic and pro-active, and a go-getter with a can-do attitude. State that you are a willing learner and accept challenges. End it with asking what the company expects from him, and then given a chance proclaim how you can deliver what they expect of him, citing examples from past experiences or what was said in the interview.

Where do you see yourself five years hence?

You are probably focused on the present to plan five years ahead, but thinking about the future shows you have a goal and the zeal towards achieving it. It is seen as a positive. Before heading for the interview check on normal career progression within companies for different lengths of service – so you have an idea of where you could be within a few years. You can also base your response on skills that you would have acquired. For instance, you'd have developed better technical knowledge or specialised in a certain trade or become better at management and add how these skills would give you an advantage and a push to your career. So, five years from now you'd be better at your job and definitely an asset to the company.

Are you driven by ambition?

Show your ambitious side, because ambition can be a driving force. Talk of how you aspire to do things and how you have managed thus far to achieve all that you set your eyes on. If you haven't achieved much then speak of how your ambition makes you strive to do better.

Are you willing to shift base?

The company might want to move you to different locales – will you be willing to move. The job might entail travelling, will you be able to do it. Don't hesitate to speak your mind. If you have family commitments that will keep you from travelling it is best to put your cards on the table upfront. Don't commit yourself to something you'll find to difficult fulfil. However, if travels are occasional and you are fine with it, say so.

How much do you expect in terms of salary?

It is best to not mention a figure, especially when it is your first job. It is best to give a neutral response – just say that you expect decent remuneration based on the company's standing, job profile and your qualification. Say, that you are certain that what is offered will do justice to all three.

Have you applied to other companies?

Don't answer in the affirmative and list out random positions in a host of companies. Make mention of positions that have the same job profile as the one you're interviewing for. You need to stress on the interviewer(s) that your interest lies in that precise field of work, and you are not open to any and every job posting.

Three important tips

There are two basic things that you need to do –
  • Practice all the responses over and over again in your head. Think of the different ways the above questions can be posed at you. Keep your responses crisp and specific. Do not fumble for words and at the same time do not appear too prepared and rehearsed. Do not start all your sentences the same way - and don't repeat the same things
  • Do some research on the company that you are applying to. Things like kind of job, services or products offered, work culture etcetera. This makes it easier to face the interview. When you incorporate fragments of information in your responses it will work to your advantage. For instance, if you mention something that reflects in their work culture it will indicate that you are ready for the job, and will not need to be 'broken in'. If skills you show as your resources are the skills required for the job you'll find it easier to be employed
  • Lastly, remain confident. You will be a little nervous, but that is expected. Make eye contact with the interviewer(s) when responding - don't look at your hands or at the ceiling or the wall behind

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao27 May 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 1

Nowadays I have seen the applications of many fresh engineers for posts in various companies. They write so many qualities as their strong points and interests. They write about their goals also. They hire some agencies and get their bio data written by them. When they come for the interview, when a question is asked to them regarding their strengths, they give a different reply. This is because they are not making their own bio data. So it is my advise to all the young people to be sure of what is written in your biodata. Otherwise it will be a negative point for you.

Author: Juana29 May 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 8

Getting someone else to pen the bio data is the worst mistake job applicants make. These ‘creative pieces’ are easily identifiable. There is a reason why companies have one-to-one interviews – it is to establish whether skills that are displayed on paper actually match up with the potential candidate.

Candidates should be aware that lying or enhancing their skills on paper to make them look exceptional can backfire when they are unable to show the same talent in person. Interviewers can identify when the information provided is just ornamental. Skill sets should always accompany real-life experiences. If, for instance, a job-seeker puts down leadership qualities as one of their talents and have no way to establish the same with examples from their life, where they took upon themselves to lead, then their claim will not make the grade.

It is fine to show that you do not possess every skill set needed for the job – what is important is to show keenness and enthusiasm to learn rather than pose someone who fits the bill. Candidates must portray themselves as adaptable and with a willingness to take new challenges that entail learning new skills. It is essential that one is honest in an interview.

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