Congratulations! you have just been shortlisted for an interview, Now is the time to get ready for answering the interview questions. You are going to get one shot at this job and depending on how much you really want the job, you are going to leave no stone unturned to ensure that you are the best candidate for the job.
You may want to read these interview preparation tips to ensure you have not missed out anything
You will of course need to prepare for the most commonly asked interview questions. Below are the top 10 most common interview questions and how to answer them. You need to practice, practice, and practice, not only answering these questions but a lot more. Practicing will help you reduce some of the interview stress and make you feel a lot more confident when you finally face the interviewers.
The interviewer wants to know why you are an excellent fit for the job but from your bio not more about your personal life, not your work. So don't make this answer about your family, your personal life or your work.
While out an start off by sharing your current position and employer talk more about what skills you have, what challenges you, what you enjoy doing at work, how you work with and support a team, how adaptable are you to changes, etc. Make sure each of these is directly related to a requirement in the skills mentioned in the job description.
e.g "As a Sales Engineer, I find that the best way for me to de-stress when I’m not working is to challenge my interests. I am an avid hiker (individual challenges), enjoy soccer (teamwork and competition), love to read the "Top Performer Magazine" (corporate knowledge update), and doing research work. I participate in engineering quizzes and go up against those technically better than me, to help me improve, etc etc etc."
The interviewer wants to know if you are the best candidate for the job. The hiring manager wants to know whether you have all the required qualifications. Be prepared to explain why you're the applicant who should be hired.
Make your response a confident, concise, focused sales pitch to explain why you should get the job.
e.g "You should hire me because my experience is almost perfectly aligned with the requirements you asked for in your job listing. I have seven years’ progressive experience in the banking industry, advancing from my initial role as a compliance associate with Standard Chartered Bank to my current position as a Compliance Manager with Citibank. I’m CAMS certified and an Anti Fraud Analyst and well-versed in regulatory compliance, fraud compliance, AML, CDD and EDD, and Sanctions. I have letters of recommendation from both my previous employers, Standard Chartered Bank, and Lloyd's Bank."
This is one of the questions that employers almost always ask to determine how well you are qualified for the position. They will compare your answer with those of candidates to determine if it sets you apart.
e.g "As an IT security specialist, my greatest strength is my intellectual curiosity. I enjoy researching the latest technology trends so that our critical information technology systems remain compromised. I have participated in quarterly information technology conferences. This has allowed me to build a network of peer resources—many of whom are leaders in the field—that I can call upon for strategies when new threats arise to our systems".
Another typical question interviewers will ask is about your weaknesses. Do your best to frame your answers around positive aspects of your skills and abilities as an employee, turning seeming “weaknesses” into strengths.
You can also share examples of how you have improved, providing specific instances of how you have recognized a weakness and taken steps to correct it.
e.g "My greatest weakness used to be procrastination. Friends who knew my work style would tease me, saying, “Panic precipitates performance.” In college, I was the person who pulled all-nighters to finish their essay the night before the deadline. However, after I landed my first job as a content writer, it became clear that while this process worked for me and I never missed a deadline, it made my editor extremely nervous. And so I’ve learned to set “early” deadlines for myself, at least 24 hours before the actual deadline, so that my projects now always arrive with plenty of time to spare".
The interviewer wants to know why you want to work for their company. When asked about why you are moving on from your current position, stick with the facts, be direct, and focus your answer on the future, especially if your departure wasn't under the best circumstances.
e.g "I was very fortunate to be hired by ABC Company right out of college. They taught me a lot about digital marketing, and it’s been stimulating to work as a contributor to their creative teams. However, I’m ready for the next step. After 4 years at ABC Company who has a team of talented managers in place, there is little or no scope of growth since they won't be leaving such a good employer anytime soon. I’ve completed supplemental management training courses during my time there, and I know I can hit the ground running as your next digital marketing manager."
The hiring manager wants to know what you expect to earn. It seems like a simple question, but your answer can knock you out of competition for the job if you overprice yourself. If you under-price yourself, you may get shortchanged with a lower offer.
It would be best that you understand beforehand what the budget for this role is? Is it within your expectations? If not, is there any scope of negotiation, and how much would the safe bracket be?
e.g My answer would be "given the cost of living, I’m open to negotiate the salary if you feel I am the right candidate for this job and salary and am offered some flexibility in managing my family time."
This question gives you an opportunity to show the interviewer what you know about the job and the company, so take time beforehand to thoroughly research the company, its products, services, culture, and mission. Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role, and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you most.
e.g "Construction design is in my blood—both my dad and my grandad were civil engineers who worked for reputed construction firms. From the time I entered college, I knew that I wanted my architecture career to be focused on sustainable, green design practices, so I earned my certification as a LEED Accredited Professional. XYZ Construction is the most respected sustainable design firm. I’ve been following reports of your LEED Certified projects in the Journal of Green Engineering, and I wrote my capstone project on the energy modeling you pioneered for the Dubai Business Park and the ABC Tech campus. Working here really would be my dream job since your mission aligns perfectly with my goals as a sustainability specialist".
What do you do when things don’t go smoothly at work? How do you deal with difficult situations? The employer wants to know how you handle workplace stress.
Avoid claiming that you never, or rarely, experience stress. Rather, formulate your answer in a way that acknowledges workplace stress and explains how you’ve overcome it, or even used it to your advantage.
e.g "I’m not someone who thrives in stressful environments. My first step in managing stress is to try to keep my work processes very organized, and my attitude professional. When there is an issue, I try to look at things from the other perspective and initiate a joint problem-solving approach to keep the situation from escalating. I maintain an efficient open line of communication which I feel reduces a lot of workplace stress. Sometimes unanticipated stressors will arise. When this happens, I just take a deep breath, remembering that the person I’m dealing with is frustrated with a situation, not with me. I then actively listen to their concerns and make a plan to resolve the issue as quickly as possible".
The interviewer wants to know how you respond when faced with a difficult decision. As with the question about stress, be prepared to share an example of what you did in a tough situation. It’s important to share details to make the story believable and engaging.
e.g "I think the most difficult situation I face as a production manager is when I have to lay off staff, either because sales are down. When I can, I try to work with under-performing personnel to see if we can’t improve their efficiency. If not, then I give them straightforward reasons for why they are being laid off. No one wants to be fired without an explanation. When this happens, I keep my tone polite and avoid using too many “you” statements; I absolutely do not want to cast shame on them since it is the situation and not "them"
This question is designed to find out if you’re going to stick around or move on as soon as you find a better opportunity. Keep your answer focused on the job and the company, and reiterate to the interviewer that the position aligns with your long-term goals.
e.g "I’m someone who likes stability. My goal is to find a long-term job by becoming a valued employee and grow with an increased position and responsibility. I’m extremely interested in the executive job here at First Capital Bank because of your internal training program. My long-term goal is to eventually become a branch manager after I’ve proven my competencies in this position".