Job Interview and Questions - How to Answer the Common Interview Questions

January 24, 2020
Est. Reading: 4 minutes

We have all faced the terror of job interviews and spent countless hours preparing for them. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew what exactly they are looking for? While it is impossible to understand what each job interview wants, we can be reasonably sure that they are bound to ask some common questions.

Common myth: Since it is best to be natural, there is no need to prepare for interviews.

While you should be natural during your job interview, you must ABSOLUTELY prepare for it! Remember that there are no inherently tough interview questions because anything can be easy or difficult, depending on your level of preparation.

To make things easy, we have compiled the five most common questions and the best way to answer them so that you can increase your odds of getting the dream job that you want!

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Tell me about yourself - Not just your regular show and tell

Now, this is a seemingly simple question that isn’t just a regurgitation of your skills, education, and work experiences. After all, the interviewers have your resume, so what are they exactly looking out for?

This is usually the question where you get the opportunity to present yourself for the first time. To answer this question, you must know what the job role is exactly and what the organization is looking out for.

Once you know what they are looking for, try to relate your personal experiences and interests with the interviewers. For example, if they like a person who can work in a team and communicate effectively, then your past experiences playing sports in school could be a huge plus point. Take the opportunity to develop further into those areas.

Most importantly, this question is meant to test your presentation skills and see if you are capable of effective communication; things that cannot be found in your resume.

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What are your strengths - Suns out guns out?

Answering this question requires you to understand what are the hard and soft skills needed for the job which you are applying to.

Start by looking at the job description located on the company’s website. What are they looking for? Is there any technical experience that you do not have or have?

Next, think about what additional skills are required based on your understanding of the job. For every job posting, there are bound to be TONS of unwritten requirements and preferences by HR that may not be found on the job listing.

Lastly, practice and practice HARD so that it will be second-nature to you as you convince your interviewers. Since these are your personal and intrinsic attributes, you should firmly believe and understand what your strengths are!

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Tell me about your weaknesses - Shooting yourself in the foot?

Now, this is the most common mistake that people make; taking a strength to the extreme and labeling it as a weakness. For example, one may say that you are a perfectionist or pay too much attention to details that it slows down processes. This is the one mistake that you want to refrain from.

Employers aren’t stupid, and they really want to know what are the inadequacies with you so that they can get to understand you better. After all, you may be working with them for the next few years!

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Where do you see yourself in 10 years - Telling the future

The age-old question that gets us all the time. What exactly are employers looking for? Ideally, you should just be brutally honest when answering this question. Most people would not know what they would like to do 10 years from now, so an alternative is to extrapolate your past experiences.

Did you know where you would have wanted to be 10 years ago? Have you achieved what you set out to? Even if you have not achieved what you set out to do entirely, perhaps you could talk about the small wins or successes that you have accomplished. Now that could be a talking point which could interest the hiring managers.

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Do you have any questions for us? - A trick question?

This question will come at the end of the interview. Please DO NOT say no. That would be akin to saying that I know everything, and there is absolutely nothing I am interested in finding out from you. Before coming to the interview, you should already prepare one or two questions that can pique the interviewer’s curiosity.

For example, you may even flip the question and ask what made them join the organization in the first place. If you can make use of the opportunity to build rapport with the interviewers, the chances are that you have increased your interview success rate dramatically.

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Practice, practice, practice

Find out what is required and write down several pointers for each of the questions. Begin practicing by recording yourself on video and playing it back.

Take note of the following few points;

  • Eyes - Are you making sufficient eye contact with each of the interviewers? Ensure that the duration of eye contact with each interviewer is relatively equal. After all, you do not want to come off as a weirdo!
  • Volume - While you do not want to sound as timid as a mouth, you do not want to be too imposing or loud. Attempt to keep your voice at a low tone which displays greater confidence
  • Body language - Are your hands fidgeting, playing with a pen or distracting the interviewers? If there are presentation slides, you may use your hands to emphasize certain portions of the illustration. If there are none, try to keep your hands above your waists and minimize the number of hand movements which may be very distracting.

The truth is, presenting, communicating or marketing yourself is a skill that requires practice. There are countless studies and theoretical knowledge on how to become more persuasive but focus on the above few pointers, and you are sure to see significant improvements in the way you handle interviews.

We wish you all the best in your job interview!

If you need any additional help, don’t forget to seek the help of your tutors or a professional! Alternatively, you may watch videos such as the one linked:

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