Most Asked: Top Job Interview Questions and Answers

Wearing crisp clothes and telling the interviewer sitting in front of you how you are a perfect fit for the company, confidently while you are shaking inside is not an easy job. But don’t worry. Because even the ‘Interviewer’ was an ‘Interviewee’ once. So at the end of the day, even they want you to do well because they want to hire you. All they are asking is for you to be prepared.

Before we get into details, let’s understand this. There are 3 different types of interview questions. Technical, Analytical and Behavioral. If you are applying for an I.T. job then technical questions are related to coding, programming… Analytical questions will be like.. ‘How many ping-pong balls can you fit in a Boeing?’ or ‘After you cut a slice from a cake, how will you divide the rest of the cake in equal parts?’ because through these questions they want to understand how are your problem-solving skills. And finally, there are behavioural questions. Through these questions, the interviewer wants to know…’ What have you done in life?’ i.e how have you handled work situations in the past or about your education? In my experience, around 65% to 70% of the questions will be behavioural because, through these questions, the interviewer decides whether you will be the right fit for the job or not. And that is what we are going to nail today.

So let’s discuss the 8 most commonly asked behavioural questions in a job interview, analyse these questions based on a) What the interviewer wants to know, b) Common Mistakes we make while answering them and c) How to answer these questions?

99.9% of the times, this is how the interview starts. Why? Because before anything else, the interviewer wants to know 2 things.. 1. Can you communicate well and 2. What is most important to you? So please don’t talk about your favourite movies or your favourite cricketers, don’t talk about your life story from the beginning. “Hi, I am Raj, I wanted to be a Roadie.. but my parents wanted me to do engineering, so..” Nobody is interested. The only thing the interviewer is interested in is if you are the right person for the job or not. And for that, your answer needs to have 3 elements. Element #1: Summarize your experience or your education, in a single line while you use an adjective to define your personality. For example, in case you are a fresher, then you can say something like. For the second element, you need to talk about your best work or your education and training. For example… The way you answer this question can make or break your first impression. What a useless question! I want a job because…money. That is what you are thinking. But let me tell you now, what the interviewer is thinking. Money is important but if that’s the only reason why you want this job then you will leave for somewhere else for a better salary. Why will I want to waste my time and effort into training you then? So through this question, the interviewer wants to know why you want this job in particular? So tell them, what motivates you to work for this company? Don’t give a general answer…”ABC is a great company, that’s why I’d love to work for it.” It says that you have not done your research. This is how you answer the question correctly.. 1. Research about the company. Check their website, follow their media coverage, talk to friends who are working there and figure out what is it about the company that appeals the most to you. For example.. 2. Align your skills with the role. Now your next statement should highlight how your skills go along with the vibe of the company or the role. For example. See, it’s like going out on a date. Before you date someone, don’t you stalk their FB, Insta, ask your friends about them? Same thing. Put half of that effort in reading about the company. Find out what is common between the company and you because after all, getting a job is like getting into a relationship..with the company.

Now, why are they asking this question in the job interview? Simple. They want to know 2 things.. 1. Do you know your strengths, so that you have the focus to do what you do and 2. Do you acknowledge your weaknesses so that you can work on improving them? Now don’t be too pompous and say things like.. “I am too perfect” or “I work too hard” because nobody will believe that’s your weakness. If you hide behind strength and present it as a weakness, then you’ll come off as being fake. So how do we answer this? Let’s start with strengths. I am good at this. I am great at that. Anybody can say it. But to make it more believable, you also need to tell ‘How’ or ‘Why’. Suppose being a quick learner is your strength. Then this is how you answer it. Some other strengths that you can talk about are Adaptability, hard-working, flexibility, persistent, self-motivated… Coming to weaknesses. First, think about the things that you are not good at. Maybe it’s delegating work or attention to detail or public speaking. Now think about the initiatives you have taken to overcome that weakness. For example. See, it’s okay to have weaknesses. The interviewer sitting in front of you has a job probably even after deleting the entire production database. I am not asking you to delete the database. I am asking you to accept that you are human and it’s okay. What’s not okay is to not take initiatives to improve. See, the interviewer has very less time to decide whether you are fit for the role or not. So they ask tough questions. By asking what are the challenges you’ve faced at work, they want to know How you solve problems? How do you work under stress? Your way of getting things done. So what they are looking for, is a story. The most common mistake is to take it personally and get emotional about it. “There was this one time, this team-mate got jealous of me. So, he told lies.. and turned the whole team against me. I wanted to take revenge so..” No. If you want to nail this answer, then here are the 4 elements that you must include. Talk about the challenge, briefly. Focus more on how you overcame the challenge. Talk about what you learnt from the challenge. And here’s how you hit the nail on the head. Talk about how you are helping your teammates, who are facing the same challenge. For example… Did you see how the 4 elements together, turn failure in your favour? I don’t know what I will do tomorrow, you are asking about 5 years?.. is an answer you should keep to yourself because, through this question, the interviewer wants to know if you are ambitious and if your long-term goals align with the company. So when you are answering this, don’t say..”In your place”….sounds too arrogant or as “The CEO of this company”….sounds too unrealistic or “At a better opportunity somewhere else”….sounds too true. So how do we answer it? Stress that you are interested in a long-term career and showcase your enthusiasm. It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do 5 years down the lane but you need to demonstrate how eager you are to join this job. For example. I’ll be honest with you. It makes me terribly angry when somebody asks me this question.

Any questions related to gender, race or religion are illegal in the job interview. But they do get asked. The children or marriage question is maybe to understand how committed you will be to the company. So don’t take it too personally. Everybody makes mistakes. Even the interviewer sitting at the other end of the table. So the best way to answer it is to gracefully avoid the question and bring the conversation back to the job or your skills or your experience. This tells your interviewer that you are committed towards your professional growth and lets you direct the conversation back to the job-related topics. By asking you to ask questions, the interviewer wants to know if you are really interested in the job. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to find out if this is the right job for you or not. So don’t say, “No, I don’t have any questions”. It shows that you don’t care. Don’t ask, “What’s in it for me?” or “Can I work from home?” because it says that you are self-centred and are not really interested in the job. Don’t bring up questions related to salary. You can negotiate once they make you an offer. Instead, you can ask questions related to the job…”What does a typical day look like?”, “What are the qualifications you are looking for in an ideal candidate?” You can ask questions about the company. “What is the company culture like?” or “What are the different career paths in your department?” You can even ask questions about the interviewer. “How long have you been working for this company?” or “What’s your favourite part about working here?” Don’t ask too many questions. Wrap it up and leave on a positive note. And finally, the most dreaded question…Why should we hire you? It is one of the most crucial questions where you need to talk about yourself without being too humble or without sounding too desperate.