20 Common Job Interview Questions (and How You Can Answer Them)


    Your chances of success in any job application rely heavily on how well you answer those job interview questions. More than the quality of your answers, what will spell the difference is the kind of impression you leave on the interviewer.

    Here are surefire answers to the 20 most common interview questions that any job applicant ought to know.

    1. Tell me about yourself

    Use the Present-Past-Future formula. Start with what you are doing at present. Then, backtrack to significant job experiences. Lastly, express your career plans in connection with your current job application.

    1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Your career objectives should support not only your growth but also contribute to the company’s bottom line.

    1. Why do you want to work for us?

    Show the employer your belief in the vision and values of the company. Stress that your skill set and past experiences can help the organisation achieve that vision.

    1. How do colleagues describe you?

    Gather examples to support the positive comments given to you by colleagues. If your workmates say you are a team player, let them recall a situation where you stood up for a tough group decision.

    1. What is your greatest strength?

    In identifying your strengths, mention those you think will be of most benefit to the company like your organisational skills or ability to understand big data.

    1. What is your greatest weakness?

    You demonstrate maturity when you admit your weaknesses and present a plan to overcome them.

    1. What sets you apart from other candidates?

    Manifest your enthusiasm for the job role by actively researching about the company, its business and how you will fit into the system.

    1. What are three positive things your last boss would say about you?

    Reconnect with your former boss and find out how he or she would answer this question. Or you can also refer back to your past performance appraisals.

    1. What salary are you seeking?

    After referring to authority sites like Payscale and Glassdoor, select the highest possible salary figure (from the range) that you can reasonably justify based on your skills, experience and education.

    1. What is your greatest achievement?

    Pick a significant achievement that will highlight qualities or skills that the employer highly values. For instance, you were assigned to lead a special project while concurrently heading the logistics team.

    1. What’s your dream job?

    An ideal job is one that allows you to apply your favorite skills, immerse you in engaging tasks and shares your values, like for instance, continuing education.

    1. Why did you leave your last job?

    Whether you resigned, got laid off or was fired, it’s important to always phrase all reasons, whether good or bad, in a positive light.

    1. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.

    Recall a concrete situation at work and the specific task that you were required to undertake. Then, describe the actions you took and the positive outcome that resulted from those actions.

    1. Narrate an instance where you exercised your leadership.

    You may narrate episodes that display your project management skills or details that manifest your ability to motivate your subordinates.

    1. Tell me of a time when you disagreed with a decision that was made at work.

    Show the interviewer that you can resolve conflicts or differences in a  professional manner. Recall incidents that reveal your tactfulness, diplomacy and listening skills.

    1. Can you explain why you changed career paths?

    Highlight transferrable skills and experiences common to past job positions and show the employer how it can be beneficial to the new job role.

    1. Why was there a gap in your employment?

    Focus on how you spent your employment ‘breaks’ with self-enriching activities like taking up skills courses or being engaged with volunteer work.

    1. How do you deal with stressful situations at work?

    Again, concrete situations (with sufficient details) will speak well of your composure in the midst of unexpected dilemmas.

    1. What can we do better or differently as a company?

    Cite any critical observations that can benefit the company. It may be about the designs of their current product line or the quality of their after-sales service.

    1. Do you have any questions for us?

    Evaluate if this is your ideal job and company. You can ask the employer questions related to company training, performance appraisal or employee benefits.

    The job interview portion is equally important as the credentials on your resume. Once this is clear in the job applicant’s mind, he or she will devote the necessary time to sufficiently prepare.

    With adequate amount of practice, one can develop the confidence in facing the interviewer, leave a positive impression and boost the chances of nailing that much desired job position.

    Increase your career opportunities with valuable transferable skills. Visit kaplan.com.sg and learn more about Kaplan Singapore’s Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Programmes.

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