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Job interview FAQs

May 18, 2009 15:59 IST

Go to any interview and the most common questions that you will face are: Why should we hire you? Why do you want to join our company? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are you salary expectations? Tell me about yourself etc, etc.

But do you know what answers the interviewers expect from you for these most commonly asked questions.

Amit Bansal of PurpleLeap hosted a chat with GA readers on May 13 where he answered queries on how to crack your job interviews.

For those of you who missed it, here's the unedited transcript:

nicky asked, Hi Amit, cau u tell me whats d best answer for "why should company hire u?" thanks

Amit Bansal answers,  at 2009-05-13 14:44:07Hi Nicky first you need to understand why interviewers ask this question. The objective is to have the candidate speak about two things:

1. your key strengths and achievements and 2. how are they aligned to the requirements of the job so first you research about the co. and the job you are applying for and then figure out which of your strengths and/or competencies closely map to fulfilling the job reqs. the interviewer is interested in knowing whether you will be able to do the job. the kind of answers that I have seen in the past that definitely dont work are like: I need the job bcos the company has openings in the field I want to make a career in this field I hv heard that your co. is a good place to work

inn asked, Hi Amit Can u tel Whts the ideal answers for our strength and weaknesses ??

Amit Bansal answers, there are no ideal answers! each inidividual is unique in terms of his/her strengths and weaknesses. You must do your own SWOT analysis. The interviewer is interested to know
a) whether you know yourself well enough or not
b) whether you can project those strengths which will help you do well in your professional career (to that extent, dont be generic about the strengths like "I am good in chatting up with friends" instead something like " I enjoy great working relationship with friends or co-workers"
c) your weaknesses - are you aware and are comfortable talking about them. NEVER SAY I DONT HAVE ANY. however keep in mind that when you talk about the weakenesses they should not be alarming (like laziness or quarelsome nature). Also, the interviewer would like to know what you have done or are doing to improve.
d) substantiations or examples where you have demonstrated the strength or weakness. PurpleLeap recommends a very powerful tool for the same. The tool is called STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

aqgl asked, Hi Amit, I get very tensed at the thought of an interview itself. Any tips to keep my calm?

Amit Bansal answers, I need to understand why you get tense

vivek asked, currently i am working from last 3 year in stock market what you suggesting about my career

Amit Bansal answers, Hi Vivek Anything specific to interviewing that you would like to ask?

arvind asked, heelo amit, can u tell me the perfect answer of "TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF"

Amit Bansal answers, Hi Arvind just think about PPF to prepare for a question like this. P - what have you done in the PAST P - what are you doing at PRESENT F - What would you like to do in FUTURE this is the perfect opportunity for you to direct the interview on specific aspects that you are strong in.

TEst asked, how to get dressed in an interview?

Amit Bansal answers, just be neutral in your dressing sense. a safe for a male is - white/light blue shirt with dark colored trousers and black shoes. similarly for female candidates - Churidar Kurta/Saree nothing tight fitting no loud colors no flashy jewellery no strong perfumes (mild deo is fine) I ve seen quite a few candidates who come unshaven or unkempt hair or in chappals!!! a clear no no

Murali asked, hi can u suggest an answer for "why you are changing your job?"

Amit Bansal answers, give the right reason. however be judicious in the choice of words. so if the reason is higher salary the way to put it across is "I am an ambitious person and would like to get into a role which can offer me professional growth as well as reward me well for my contribution. If someone is fired, don't shy from saying so. Interviewers understand the market. However you need to project that it was not your incompetence but circumstances that led to the same

ashwini asked, HI Amit , how important for a professional to update there skills and after how time?

Amit Bansal answers, it is all the more important to be on top of the requirements of the job that you are doing or aspire to do.

bin asked, hi,wat is the ideal salary jump one should ask for so that the new employer feels justified about da candidate??

Amit Bansal answers, interestingly I have come across standard mailers from candidates saying expectations: 30 per cent or more; this is ridiculous. If the co. has decided to hire you, let them make an offer. now in many cases the co. asks for your expectations. you could keep it generic like " in line with the market" is good enough. let them make an offer first

rolen asked, Hello Amit, PLEASE answer sir!. How to negotiate salary during HR interview at offer time

Amit Bansal answers, there are various negotiation strategies like:
a) take time to think and get back. dont commit anything upfront
b) let them make an offer first and if the same is not satisfactory, let them know of your expectations. however pl put the confidence in the co. that you are looking at the opportunity holistically and not just immediate salary increase. do understand that no company worth its salt would like to hav a disgruntled employee from day 1.
c) if the window is small for any change in cash component, explore the benefits (like reimbursements, insurance plans etc) or
d) ask for a review out of turn after 3-6 months there are many more but would be very contextual.

Rishi asked, I'm an IIM-L grad. I lost my job last month. I've been to five interviews since and the highest offer I've got so far was a package of 3.15 lakhs. This is less than half what I got at my last job. What do I do? Is there any way I can get a better offer? Don't these headhunters know how important an IIM qualification is? I'm frustrated and thinking of starting my own business. It's not possible to depend on these companies anymore.

Amit Bansal answers, get out of that qualification mindset. to be fair to you, you may not be even getting across to the right organizations. hiring is on a slowdown rightnow and it is important that you keep yourself gainfully employed. make sure that the role you are doing adds enough value (read skills) to your resume so that when markets improve you are able to move to a much better position. you may explore working with smaller orgs/start-ups with lower salary but stake.

rao asked, Hi, I have been asked in Manager Interview, "What is my ambition ?" I am a software proff. 8 years exp

Amit Bansal answers, so have you thoght about it? if you ahve not, i strongly recommed that you think about your long term goals. with 8 years experience you are in the middle management and understand that the pyramid is getting steeper. with this kind of experience base the organization expects you to share with them what you would like to do and how you/orgn can make it happen

VIK asked, Sir, i have a bad past academic record of failing once in 12th. However after that once i joined engineering(ECE), i have tried to improve to get a good job.I have undertaken residential network management course in IIMC, embedded system and Highspeed PCB design in IIIT,pune. along with that i am incharge of sponsorship for my clg events and also co-head of robotics group. DO you think i am employable?

Amit Bansal answers, you are absolutely employable however you need to justify why you failed in 12th and how life has changed since then. what specific changes you have undergone so as to compensate for the gap.

kanak asked, Can I sometimes lie in my interview?

Amit Bansal answers, plain white lies dont work. like if you have not worked on a certain project then dont claim it. however you can always project your work and achievements positively. you have to be smart about your answers.

soham asked, Hi Amit,does being smart sometimes overlooks the lack of knowledge?How should we read the mind of the interviewer?Should we speak more or should we maintain a dignified silence?

Amit Bansal answers, it is extremely important to be PREPARED for any interview. you have to know the details of the position, the kind of people who are working in similar positions in that co. a part of preparation is to anticipate the kind of questions that interviewer could ask and understanding the "why?" behind the question. speaking more or repeating yourself reflects lack of confidence or uncertainty on part of candidate. typically speak for 2-3 minutes after which if you still see an inqusitive look on the face of the interviewr, pl make it a point to ask whether you have answered the question adequately or if the interviewer is looking for something else.

Vir asked, Hi, I am in to IT. I have faced a question sometimes that what would you do in an organisation where staff is not ready to work on a new application. How will you convince them to work on that.. I normally answer it that "I will explain them pros and cons of the application, how will it help for company as well theri work..etc" I am right or should I take some different approach to this question
Amit Bansal answers, I assume you are in a managerial position your apporach is right and you can strengthen it by first understanding why the staff is unwilling to work on the new application and if something can be done to overcome that, make a genuine effort in the direction. Also, it is important for you to make the team realise that at workplace one needs to undertake assignments which are sometimes interesting an sometimes mundane as well.

Amit Bansal says, It was nice interacting with all of you. Thanks for your active participation which made the session very engaging.

Amit is the founder and CEO of PurpleLeap (, an employability and skill enhancement initiative of Educomp Solutions [Get Quote] Pvt Ltd.