Top 21 common interview questions – Useful for practice

interview questions

Interviews can be daunting especially for young career aspirants. However with adequate preparation, practice and a composed mind it’s possible to crack interviews. In the previous post we dealt with how to handle a job interview with some useful tips.One important aspect was anticipating the possible interview questions that one is likely to encounter and be prepared to answer them convincingly and confidently. Other than the job related interview questions and questions to test subject matter knowledge, there are some typical common job interview questions that one can face. For subject matter knowledge and job related questions one has to do requisite study and research. For the common general questions one has to formulate answers that are candid, intelligent, properly thought out and stem from personal experience, common sense or beliefs and thoughts.

Practicing mock interviews always helps and in that case it is essential to prepare responses to common interview questions, such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Why do you want to work for this company?” As I have stated in my previous article : Practice your interview skills with a friend or family member. This can help you identify areas where you need to improve and build your confidence.

Here are some common interview questions that you might encounter:

  1. Tell me about yourself. – Rehearse this question well and time the answer – it should not exceed 2 minutes else people lose patience
  2. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  3. What do you know about our company?/ Why are you interested in this job/company?/
  4. What relevant experience do you have?/ What unique qualities or abilities would you bring to this job?
  5. How long do you plan to stay at our company? Where do you see yourself in five years?
  6. How do you handle stress or pressure?
  7. How do you handle conflict or difficult situations?
  8. How do you handle failure?/ Tell me about a time that you failed at something, and what you did afterwards.
  9. Why did you choose your stream of study/ the course you pursued/the school you enrolled in ?
  10. What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  11. How do you keep yourself organized and focused on work?
  12. What motivates you in your work?
  13. How do you handle criticism?
  14. Can you tell us about a time when you demonstrated leadership?
  15. Can you tell us about a time when you had to solve a complex problem?
  16. Can you tell us about a time when you had to work in a team?/ What was your role in the team? Were you satisfied with your contribution? How could it have been better?
  17. Tell us about a project you handled in school/college/previous workplace and how you executed it.
  18. What do you do in your spare time?
  19. What salary are you expecting?
  20. What other types of jobs or companies are you considering?
  21. What questions do you have for us? – This question possibly seems innocuous but is very significant. The questions you ask will indicate your interest and your understanding of the profile and the company. So do not ignore this question.

It’s important to prepare for these questions before your interview and to have specific examples and stories to illustrate your answers. Preparation is the key to staying calm. Research the company, the position you’re applying for, and practice common interview questions. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel. As has been specified by Nabarupa Banerjee :” With every question – “I would pop in an interesting tidbit about a personal interaction demonstrating leadership, common sense, problem solving – which would generate curiosity and further lead to a line of questioning that was right up my alley. “

Your objective is to persuade the employer that you have the skills, background, and ability to do the job and can comfortably fit into the milieu of his/her organization. The interview is not really an objective process in which the employer offers the job to the best candidate based on merit alone. Instead, it is a highly subjective encounter in which the interviewer offers the job to the qualified person whom he/she likes best. The most impact creating factors that can make a candidate stand out are : Personality, confidence, common sense, analytical thinking, presence of mind ,enthusiasm, a positive outlook, and excellent interpersonal and communication skills. As our mentor Nabarupa Banerjee has mentioned in her article – “It is important to learn to think on your feet 

All the best!

Member - Board of Governors at CYGNUS CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE | Website

An entrepreneur, voice over artist, communication and soft skill trainer, HR professional,writer and amateur actor, Rajrupa thrives in her people-connect skills. She has been a faculty at several institutes and colleges teaching communication and soft skills. She has handled several portfolios in the corporate sector and has headed HR function for several years.
She is an alumnus of St Xavier's College, Kolkata and a post graduate in English Literature from the University of Kolkata. She is the recipient of the proficiency medal along with several other awards from National Institute of Personnel Management

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