Classic interview questions and the perfect answers to them


So you have decided on the perfect outfit for your big interview. You are ready with your best smile, fully confident that your skill set will impress your potential employer. But are you prepared to answer the classic interview questions that interviewers take pride in boggling candidates with? Here’s a sneak peek into what to expect and how to emerge out of such tricky situations gaining an edge over other candidates. (Psst… make sure your interviewers haven’t already read this one!)

Why should we choose you?

Here is your chance to show why you are the best choice for the position. Tailor your answer in a way that the research you have done about the company is evident. Be the candidate they are looking for and speak about how your skillset matches the requirement of the position and how your value system coincides with the company’s work culture. While you are trying not to be too modest, keep in mind not to boast too much or come across as too arrogant.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Yes, we know, it is a clichéd question and it has only one answer—in the position you are applying for! Rather than taking a materialistic approach, talk about your motivations in life, how you hope to achieve them on this job and what you want to accomplish as a goal or dream. Organisations look for candidates who are motivated and driven rather than ones who have huge, unrealistic future plans.

What is your greatest strength and weakness?

They want to know your biggest strength because that is why they will hire you. You might have many skills, but focus on the one that the employer needs the most at the moment. It could be expertise in a particular technical skill, managerial skill, interpersonal skill or any other. Your greatest weakness, however, is a trickier question to tackle. Most people say something snobbish like “I’m a perfectionist”. Stick to a more realistic answer. This will make you sound more genuine and earn you brownie points for the honest approach. Being humourous could also work if you think your interviewer has a sense of humour. You may start with something funny like “I wish I was better at pool”, but make sure to follow it up with a serious answer.

Have you ever been in a conflict with your boss/colleague/teacher? How was it resolved?

Let’s face it. We have all been there and had fights with our seniors. The key is to present it in a constructive way. Say something smart like: “I believe in resolving my conflicts with a face-to-face conversation with the person” or “I try to find out a mutual solution” and quote real examples. This will help you earn their trust and confidence in your ability to take wise decisions in tense situation.

Why do you want to work with us?

Don’t be too boisterous with this one. They know their organisation better than you. Talk about the growing opportunities, how the role given to you is best fit for you and how the working environment in the company is better. However, do not indulge in gossip about your previous/current employer. No one wants to hire a gossip monger, who could be a potential threat to their reputation in the future.

Although these questions will help you prepare better, remember that originality is the best way to tackle any interview. Feel free to use these suggestions, but make sure to develop unique answers for each one of these classic interview questions. Good luck!


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