General Interview Questions

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So you got an interview but that is not the end. The key to clinching the job lies in how well you perform during the interview. Here are 15 general questions and tips to prepare for the interview with.

1. Tell me about yourself.

Prepare and highlight about five of your job qualifications and work habits as well as possible hobbies that may be in line with the company's culture. But be careful not to sound too rehearsed.

2. What are your strengths? Also, what relevant experience do you have for this job?

Share some specific attributes related to the job and quote an ex-colleague or ex-boss if they praised you for your job attitude and work. For example, your ability to focus on projects, to work under pressure, and your leadership skills.

However, if you do not have experience that is directly related to the position you are applying for, share some insights on how other stuffs you have done will be an asset.

3. What are your weaknesses?

Point out some minor weakness and a strength to compensate for it. But do this subtly; do not be pretentious and say something like I work too hard.

4. What do you know about the company?

A brief positive summary of the homework done on the company. It's your chance to show how well-prepared you are by providing details like I read that the company won the prestigious xxx award last year and recently, it was on the headlines for yyy.

5. Why do you want to join us? (Also, why should we hire you?)

Don't just say things like because it is a great company. Say instead why you think it is a great company and how you can contribute in terms of skills, experience and/interest.

6. What major challenges and problems did you face in your previous jobs? How did you handle them?

This is not a complaint session. In fact, never criticize your past employers or jobs as it reflects badly on you as an employee or ex-employee.

7. Why did you leave your last job?

Similarly, do not speak ill of your previous employment but instead give a forward-looking reason. For example, you were seeking an attribute that exists in the job you are now applying for but missing in your previous job.

8. What motivates you? (Also, which is more important: Money or Work?)

Money is important but work is even more important. Do not ever say money is the most important. It sets the warning bells off for the company not to hire you as you may flock to the next company that pays better.

9. Can you handle stress and pressure?

Say yes, and give examples of how you handled stress if you really can. But if you can't, skirt the issue by saying how stress is important in becoming more productive and how you can channel it to become a source of motivation instead.

10. Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

Make sure your answer is relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, I see myself with new skills and experiences that will make me an essential member of the team and hopefully, to have advanced in my career to take on more responsibilities.

11. Are you a team player?

Have work-related examples to illustrate why you are a team player.

12. Are you willing to put in more hours? Also, are you willing to relocate later if required?

Be honest here, or suffer later. 

13. Tell me a time when you helped resolve a work situation.

Give examples of past experiences. If you do not have any, give an example of how you help the team survive a crisis instead. Concentrate on your contribution to improving things instead of concentrating on the problem or crisis.

14. Describe your dream job and/or boss.

Give generic answers like a job that I will look forward to everyday or somewhere I can develop my career skills. Avoid giving specific answers just in case your future boss might not meet your "expectations" and be offended.

15. Do you have any questions?

Always have some questions prepared and avoid asking about your salary until the job offer is made. It shows your interest in doing the job rather than just getting it. It also says much about your work attitude as a person. Some examples are: What type of projects will I be working on? What are the career advancement opportunities? Are there employee development training provided? How is the company culture like?


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