10 interview questions freshers should expect
With exam season almost at an end, thousands of youngsters across the country are on the lookout for that all-important first job. But the going can be tough (and stressful) for freshers looking to catch a break in the hyper-competitive corporate world.
So to help all you freshers out there make the best impression at your first job interview, we present the 10 most commonly asked questions fresher face and guide you on how to answer them.
Tell us something about yourself.
This is the most common first question you can expect at your interview. The purpose of this question is to initiate a discussion and put you at ease. What it also does is give you the opportunity to steer the rest of the interview in your favour. You should know the right place to put a full stop to provoke the next desired question.
You can answer this question by talking a bit about any work/ project experience you may have, your educational qualifications and a bit about your family background. If you did a project in college where you took the lead role, talk about it -- "We organised an annual cultural event for the college and I was the head of the team responsible for generating sponsorships. We did a lot of new activities to generate interest about the event in local companies and got the maximum sponsorship since the event was first started".
The very next question you provoked here is "What activities did you undertake?"; for which you need to be prepared.
What are your strengths?
Interpret this question as "Why should we hire you?" or "What relevant skills do you have for this position that make you a good fit for this role?".
To answer this question well, you need to do your homework before appearing for the interview. Analyse the role, gauge the qualities that are required in a person taking up the role and sell your personal qualities accordingly. For instance, if you are appearing for a position as software development trainee, sell your learning skills and logical abilities.
To make sure that you are able to convince the interviewer, present examples of each quality you quote.
The author is a contributor to www.CareerRide.com, a website that offers answers to questions asked in an IT interview.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
What are your weaknesses?
Consider your answer carefully and make sure it does not ruin your chances of getting you the job. For eg, if you are appearing for a technical position, mentioning that your computer skills are weak will only reduce your chances of getting hired. Instead, try to identify a weakness that is not directly related to the position you are applying for or the role you will be playing in the organisation.
What are you doing to overcome your weaknesses?
Many freshers might find themsleves in a situation where their 'weakness' is actually a matter of concern to the company. If that is the case, this question might just save you. For instance, if you state a short temper or lack of patience as your weakness, what you are doing to overcome it is important. You might have started practicing yoga or meditation to keep your cool. Tell this to the interviewer.
This gives the interviewer an insight into your personality and says that you are a person who is capable of identifying problems, analysing them and solving them.
Why should we hire you for this job?
Again, the same question as no 2 but in different words. Interviewers often ask this questions in order to put your consistency to test. Analyse the job role properly before you go for the interview and match your personal and educational qualities/ project experience with the requirements.
Are you ambitious? Where do you see yourself five years down the line?
The purpose of this question is to see how big you can think and what career plans you have. The other purpose of this question is to see if you are a serious, focussed individual.
So, answer this question in a manner that communicates that while you are ambitious, you also value stability and you expect your prospective employer to offer you growth and stability.
What is your greatest achievement?
I stood first in class V." Do you think this is an achievement that an employer might find impressive or relevant? An answer like this also suggests that you have not achieved anything big since you passed class V.
The best way to answer this question is to find an answer in the recent past and offer that as an achievement. This also means that you need to undertake creative, extracurricular activities that add value.
How do you feel about doing repetitive work?
Repetitive work bores everybody. What you have to understand is that any job will have an element of repetition.
So saying something like, "While I like to do new things, I understand that every role has an element of repetition and I am happy to discharge my responsibilities on each front" should improve your chances.
What is your expected salary?
Now this question is of interest to anybody who is working. However, you do not want to just blurt out a figure as soon as you are asked this question. Ask friends and relatives what the industry standard is for freshers in your particular field of interest. You could also try to put the ball back in interviewer's court by asking, "What does the company offer for a position like this?"
If at all you have to mention the monetary gains you expect from this position, state a range rather than an exact figure. Make sure that the range is not too broad either, otherwise you might be offered something towards the lower end of the range.
Do you have any questions for us?
This is usually the last question of an interview. Remember: the last impression is as important as the first. So, find out about the company before you appear for the interview and ask some intelligent questions when given the chance.
You could also ask about your growth path in the company if you are hired. You need to show that you are genuinely interested in the job you are applying for and in the company you are applying to.