Have a Job Interview? Here Are the Most Common Questions

Every interview is different, but there are some questions that almost every interviewer likes to ask. They’re essential for employers to understand whether or not you will be a good fit in their organization. So, before you go for that interview, make sure you have prepared some talking points for each of these questions, so you can answer confidently.

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Interviewer: Tell me something about yourself?
Key points to keep in mind while responding
Be relevant

Try to talk about aspects of your education and work experience that are relevant to the job you are applying for. What you say should help interviewers assess how well you will fit in their organization.

Be brief

Your answer should give the interviewers enough information, but be brief to avoid them losing interest. A good thumb rule is to share 3 items of relevant information. For example: your name, your educational background, and your work experience. If this is your first job opportunity, you may talk about an area of interest or passion that you think is relevant.

Be logical

Do not ramble. Prepare a logical flow for your response. Remember to speak clearly and at a normal pace.

Be prepared

If you have noted down your thoughts and said them aloud while practicing for the interview, you are probably ready to make a good first impression!

Sample response

“My name is Mark. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. During my college years, I completed 3 internships with different organizations. In two of the internships, I had the opportunity to interact directly with customers. I enjoyed the experience and realized I have the aptitude and communication skills to make customer service my career.”

Interviewer: Describe your previous job profile?
Key points to keep in mind while responding
Be specific and talk about your skills

If you have worked previously, the prospective employer will want to get details of your role or the nature of your previous jobs. If you are from another industry, the interviewer will attempt to establish if any skills developed previously will offer you an advantage as you transition into the new role.

Sample Response

“In my previous role, I worked as a receptionist at an upmarket restaurant. This required me to attend customer calls for table reservations and cancellations. I also maintained a log of all our incoming supplies. I had to update inventory data on the restaurant’s computer based material management system and also confirm supplier invoices by cross checking against supplies logged in the register. I feel my communication skills and knowledge of technology based business process will help me successfully adapt to this role.”

Interviewer: Why did you leave your last job?
Key points to keep in mind while responding

Isn’t this a question you would ask if you were meeting a job aspirant who is in a job or has recently left a job? Of course, you would want to know why the person wants to make a change. It is important to be truthful and direct. The hiring party wants to know if you left for acceptable reasons. People are always leaving jobs and taking up new jobs. As long as they are not doing this too frequently, this is not a problem. However, if you had to leave a job for poor performance or issues like integrity, that will fall into the ‘unacceptable’ category and make the potential employer wary of hiring you.

Sample Response

“I was doing well in my last job. However, there was a reorganization and our division was relocated to Liverpool. The company encouraged me to move to the Liverpool office but I cannot move out of Manchester for the next two years due to some personal reasons. They generously offered me another role in London but I am not interested in working in that function. They know about and support my current job hunt.”

Interviewer: What do you want to do three years from now? What are your goals?
Key points to keep in mind while responding
Don’t be vague

An answer such as, “Let’s see…” or “I’m not quite sure yet…” will not make the interviewers comfortable. They want to see that you have some clarity of thought and direction – that you are applying for this job because it fits into your long term career goal.

Don’t say you want to be somewhere else

Employers like to hire people who they believe will stay with them for a long time. It takes a lot of time, money, and effort to hire people, train them, and integrate them into the company. If your interviewers feel that you will simply use their organization to prepare for another job elsewhere, they may not offer you the job.

You will notice, the questions can end up with overlapping answers. This is not by accident! Employers use this technique to check for consistency. As you reflect on career goals, do remember, ideally your long term objectives should be supported by the job you are immediately applying for.

Sample response

“Since I will be entering the BPO industry as a fresher, my primary goal for now is to learn as much as I can about the industry and customer service. Over the next 3-5 years, I hope to develop my skills here and grow to take on more responsibility in customer facing roles.”

Interviewer: How do you think your educational qualifications will help you in this job?
Key points to keep in mind while responding
Don’t create connections where they don’t exist

If your qualifications are not directly relevant to the job for which you are applying, be honest and clear about it. It is better to be honest if you are thinking of changing fields at this early stage in your career. Of course, you can focus on some skills you have developed because of your education – such as improved communication skills – and talk about how that will help in your job.

Focus on the positive

Even if your qualification is not directly relevant to the job, talk about other experiences that might have helped develop relevant skills for this job. For example, you may have been involved in some extracurricular activities in college. Employers are looking for people who are not shy to interact with others and who have demonstrated they can be successful in various situations socially, at school and college, and at work.

Don’t be vague

An answer such as, “I’m not really sure how it will help because I’m still exploring different options,” is not a good idea. What your employers really want to know is whether you are thinking of a logical career path or not. If you are applying for this job because you can’t think of anything else to do, they will not offer you the job. They are looking for serious people who are planning to make a serious, successful career.

Sample Response

“I have a B.A Pass degree from A.P.X University. Since that is a general course, I did not learn any specific customer service or BPO related skills. However, my college experience, where I was involved in the College Students’ Union, did help me improve my public speaking and people skills. I believe this will help me now, when I work in a team and will be required to speak with many different types of customers.”

Interviewer: Do you have any salary expectations that you would like to talk about now?
Key points to keep in mind while responding
Do not state a fixed figure

Most companies have fixed norms regarding salary structures based on the amount of work experience and skills offered. They may or may not be able to offer you the exact amount you request.

Sample Response
If you do not have prior work experience

“At this point, I’m looking to enter the industry and start developing my career here. I would be happy to be paid as per industry norms and company policies.”

If you have prior work experience

“I have shared my current salary with you. I would be happy to get an appropriate raise over that figure.”

Remember – preparation and practice goes a long way! For more content that can help you do well at an interview, visit EnglishBolo.com. This spoken English course will let you practice with live teachers and study relevant topics. These topics will help you advance your career and prepare well for interviews and meetings.

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