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A job applicant is typically interviewed by at least two or more persons. These interviewers have different backgrounds and different skills in their fields. For a candidate, in order to get a job offer, he/she must impress most, if not all, of the interviewers. Having a complete command over your area of expertise will get an applicant 90% close to the goal of acquiring the job. However, the other 10% depends on the other “softer” side of the candidate that is explored during the interview.
1. Tell us about yourself.
Usually this could be an initial question, as the interviewer can ask this question for different reasons. One, he did not get a chance to review the candidate’s CV beforehand and this will give him time to peruse through the candidates CV while he is talking about himself. Another reason is because he wants to know as how good a communicator the candidate is. A concise 2-minutes answer to this question hitting all the main points is enough to impress the interviewer making him confident that the candidate is a good communicator. Honestly speaking, this question may be asked more from those candidates seeking not-technical jobs, or those seeking higher positions.
2. What do you know about our organization / company?
You don’t need to spend hours researching each company that calls you for an interview but you should at least visit their website and obtain basic information of their products offering and or the services they provide. This will leave a very good impression upon the interviewer that you are genuinely interested in their organization.
3. Why should we hire you?
This is typically asked to get right to the point. What will you bring to the company that other candidates do not? Why are you better than others candidates? Think about what is being asked for a moment and try to link your abilities to the job duties. You must establish that you have the qualities that will meet all the job requirements.
Impress the interviewers and tell them about your completed targets. Establish that your skills and interests and a result oriented history make you a valuable candidate. A 3-5 minutes answer is something that the interviewer is typically looking for. Conversely, the interviewer may lose his interest in the candidate if the answered is exaggerated.
4. Why do you want to work for us?
A good answer comes from a good practice to articulate a prompt reply in terms of company’s requirement. You can say that according to your research the company is working on projects that greatly interested you. For instance, if the organization is known for quality management, your answer should be based on facts which shows that you would like to be a part of the team for new things and that company is a great place for such activity. Basically your answer should be a combination of what the company does and what you want to do or what you are good at doing.
5. What do you look for in a job?
Focus your answer to the opportunities available in the company you are interviewed for. Tell them about your desire to perform acknowledging for your contributions. Emphasize on opportunity rather than person security. Tell them that you value opportunities for career development where you wall learn new concepts.
6. What are your interests outside the work?
Tell them about your one or two favorite past times keeping in mind the job nature. This is more of a filler question where interviewer is interested to know the nature of the candidate or he is asking you this question while reading more details in your CV, or he is almost done with his questions but wants another parting shot before he calls the interview. Your answer should supplement the job nature. If it is a sales and marketing position, maybe you can say that I am keen to meet people outside of work. If you are applying for Customer Relation position, you can say genuinely that you like to read more about people to help in your communication skills.
7. What is your salary expectation?
Salary is a delicate matter so do not sell yourself short, but continue to stress the fact that the job itself is the most important thing for you. The interviewer may be trying to know just how much you want the job. Do not leave an impression that money is the only thing that is important to you. Link questions of salary to the work itself.
Whenever possible, say as little as you can about salary unless you reach at the final stage of the interview process. At that point, once you know that the company seems genuinely interested in you then that could be an appropriate time to negotiate about the salary.