Do you know that on an average a company receives hundreds of resumes for one job position? Out of that lot, only a handful is handpicked for the job interview.
A job interview is your one and only chance to impress the interview panel, as they take less than 10 seconds to judge your personality once you walk in for the interview.
Hence, a job interview is the most important step for you getting that dream job. This is also an opportunity for you to get acquainted with your potential employer and start things off with the right chords!
With the stakes so high, it’s natural for one to be nervous before a job interview. But, the key to doing well in an interview is to wear your confidence up your sleeves! To help put your nerves in check and any form of anxiety, here are 10 common interview questions and tips on how to answer them masterfuly!
“Never wear a backward baseball cap to an interview unless applying for the job of umpire” – Dan Zevin
1. Tell me about an accomplishment that you are most proud of.
Your greatest achievements resonate a lot with your values. The interviewer wants to know what you are the most proud of. If the achievement is in line with the job position that you are applying to, then bingo! You would have nailed the question! Also, the interviewer is checking your demeanour when you talk about your achievements. That is, don’t be too boastful. Be as humble in your answer as possible and answer the question with confidence.
Make your answer interesting by starting out with a story. Give the context of the story and mention a few challenges that you overcame to accomplish what you did. This establishes the fact that you overcame obstacles to achieve what you did. Choose an accomplishment that goes hand in hand with the kind of job position that you are applying to. This way, you not only highlight your accomplishment but also making a strong statement as to why you must be hired for that particular position.
2. Are you a leader or a follower?
Working in a team is one of the most fundamental aspects when you work for a company. The interviewer asks this question to know if you are capable enough to maintain good team dynamics if you are hired, as he/she knows that a team can make or break the company.
The trick here is to not to put yourself in either of the categories. The reason is simple. When you work with a team, sometimes it is important for you to be the team leader and in certain situations; you must be a good team player as well and follow the leader’s instructions. Hence, choose to talk about situations where you have done well leading the team as well as stating situations where you were a good team player.
You can step up your answer by choosing to talk about circumstances where you went beyond the need and stepped up as a team leader and took charge of a difficult situation when the team was crumbling under pressure. This accentuates the point that you are willing to take up responsibilities when the need arises.
3. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation
Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it. -David Star Jordan
Every job position requires and demands problem solving skills from the employee. Hence, this is a great opportunity to showcase your problem solving skills by stating how efficient you were in situations which required you to step up and do more than what the job demanded from you. This way, the interviewer is aware of the fact that you are ready to go beyond the norm when a difficult situation arises.
4. How would you deal with an angry customer?
Communication skills are everything when it comes to dealing with customers in the industry. An angry customer must be dealt with in a diplomatic manner. The interviewer wants to check if you are capable enough to handle such situations. To answer this question, make a brief plan as to how you would go about dealing with the customer.
First off, you can start by asking the customer as to what is bothering him/her. Then, you can verify if it is in your capacity to solve the problem. If it’s not, then you could kindly ask the customer to wait and inform that you would get the person in charge to resolve their issues. It is i
important that you demonstrate to the interviewer that you would not lose your calm in these kinds of situations and that you have a plan ready to tackle them.
5. Why should we hire you?
To answer this question aptly, you must first know what the interviewer expects from you, apart from the obvious hard skills required for that job position. He/she would want an efficient worker who makes good use of time. A good team player, a team leader, a disciplined approach to work, good communication skills etc.
List down three to four soft skills that you think are relevant to the job and state your previous experiences where that particular soft skill was highlighted.
6. Would you work on holidays and weekends?
It’s best to be as honest as possible. If you end up making false promises that you would definitely work, then the interviewer will form a perception that you are not being genuine enough.
Instead, take a diplomatic approach. Give examples from your past work experience, where you worked overtime to meet a tight deadline. This reflects positively on your work ethics and showcases that you put the company’s interests first rather than weekends during a crunch time.
Do mention that you would want to spend your weekends and holidays with your friends and family, or probably spend that time following a hobby which lets you maintain a work-life balance. A good work-life balance increases your productivity at work as well. Hence, do not shy away from stating that you would not be able to work on every weekend, but you are ready to step up during a difficult time.
7. Who are our competitors?
You have to do your research well in advance to answer this question confidently. To take this one step further, instead of just naming the company’s competitors, you can mention a few things that the competitors are doing good and a few things that the competitors are not doing quite well. This way you back up facts with your analysis.
This analysis is important as it shows that you are serious about the company’s progress and are aware of who the competitors are what they are doing right or wrong.
8. Who is your mentor?
A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you. –Bob Proctor
The ability to learn is one of the greatest assets of an employee and this is what the interviewer wants to know through asking about your mentor.
A mentor is someone who guides you and the relationship you have with your mentor speaks a lot about your willingness to improve your skills. Hence, pick a mentor who has a great deal of influence in your life.
Talk about what you like the most about him/her and how he/she has advised you at important stages in life. These situations might not be only professional. You can also talk about how you have become more disciplined, or how you have learnt to manage time from your mentor etc. Draw a connection to those learnings and how they have helped you reach the stage where you are in life.
9. What is the name of our CEO?
This is a great question to show off your research skills! Instead of just mentioning the name of the CEO, go ahead and talk about how you have been through his/her LinkedIn profile and how you resonated with a certain article they shared. Dig a little deep and find out what their other passions are- like philanthropy, international travel, teaching etc. If you share any of the passions with theirs, do mention it and talk about how you are eager to meet him/her and discuss the same with them.
Doing this research is important as it puts you one step ahead of other candidates. Also, the interview panel would be convinced that you are really serious about taking up this job position.
10. What are your hobbies?
Apart from being productive at what you do professionally, it is also important for the interviewer to know if you keep yourself busy when not at work. A well-nurtured hobby indicates focus and passion. Also, it shows that you make time for what you really love, irrespective of the busy schedule.
Talk about a hobby or an activity that you can talk well about. For example, if you are an avid reader, talk about how you cultivated that habit or about the last book that you read. If you play tennis as a hobby, talk about how the sport acts as a stress buster and how it has helped you become more disciplined.
Pro Tip: Choose a hobby that has helped you become a better version of yourself. During an interview, Do not talk about partying, drinking, binge-watching Netflix or sleeping as a hobby.
Make sure you embody these tips and you will surely be well equipped to face your next interview!
For a more in-depth and illustrative article on common interview questions and tips to answer them, click here
Abhyank Srinet holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe & has an Engineering degree with a specialization in Instrumentation & Control.
His interest in the digital landscape motivated him to create an online startup for Masters in Management application consulting (MiM-Essay.com), focused on spreading quality information about the MiM degree & performing application consulting services for clients.