Let us try to understand some of those interview questions one by one that appear general to most of you: Interviews often start with an exchange of pleasantries like ‘welcome to…’, ‘how are you’, ‘how do you do’, etc., to make the interview comfortable for employers as well as candidates. Candidates should appear cheerful and enter the interview room with a pleasant and genuine smile and they should attempt this situation positively and briefly. Always remember, —smile relaxes the candidates too, and brief responses are what employers expect here, since they are just trying to make the situation comfortable for you. Lets see one by one HOW TO ANSWER DURING INTERVIEW – PRO TIPS


Tell us about yourself—candidates here get an opportunity to explain their story, i.e. their background especially with regard to why they are at the interview. You need to suitably answer and explain your educational background and training, if any, along with one or two achievements highlighting quantifiable evidences; justifications as to why you call them achievements will help the interviewers.

Keep yourself brief as you will have further questions on your education, training and achievements, in due course. In fact, it will be better if you could ask back— it will help both of us if you could tell me what exactly I should talk about in response to your question. Interviewers will like your forthrightness and will be happy to guide you there.

Probably they would not like you to talk about your family, particularly your parents and their achievements. Please decide if you should mention your parents’ achievements. Keep your response simple and brief while describing yourself. This will help you in building rapport with your interviewers.

Although this appears to be a harmless question without any challenge, your response may inspire them to ask more questions further. For example, while talking about yourself, when you say: I am Katrina Kaif from Mumbai…, be prepared to hear: Aha! Mumbai, what a place! Recommend me 3-4 things to do if I am in Mumbai.


What are your key strengths and weaknesses? This appears to be a very common and popular interview question across sectors. Interviewers want to understand whether you analyse your conduct and understand yourselves, besides actually wanting to know your strengths.

While describing strengths, keep yourselves brief, and describe two of your strengths that interviewers could easily relate to the key responsibilities of the said job position. Substantiate your response with examples from your life. Idea is to clarify why those characteristics are your strengths. Simply saying you are a very positive person won’t help unless you explain how being positive has helped you in resolving your issues. You need to analyse beforehand and prepare a list of your strengths. When you say: I learn quickly or I communicate really well…, please consider if these could be part of the job profile you have applied for. This is another area of concerns. Great communication skills should not be mentioned as strengths unless these directly affect the job performance in the organisation; employers often find that out from the interview itself.

Basically you are required to understand the company and its goals and objectives, its mission and vision, and so on, and analyse whether you and your strengths are in sync with them.


Even when you say—I am a perfectionist, I tend to take up many things at a time, or, I always say yes to people who ask for help, you cannot say these could not negatively affect the organisations; if you think these are good for organisations, better call them your strengths.

Be honest as dishonesty never pays in the long run. When you know you have a weakness, you must have worked out a plan to come out of that. And you should already be doing something methodically about them to remove that from your persona. So talk about your weakness while explaining your eff orts to get rid of them. You don’t need to deceive.


Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years from now? Responses to such questions help employers in knowing your professional aspirations and realise if their organisation will be able to retain you while dealing with those aspirations.

By preparing a response to this question in the context of an organisation, you will discover how the organisation could support your aspirations in future. And, this will help you decide in accepting the offer if you get one. It is a win-win process as both you as well as the organisation will get to understand each other in terms of your aspirations and their fulfilment.

When you articulate your professional vision, you in a way inspire your interviewers to explain how the organisation could help in actualisation of your aspirations.

You do not need to mention any position, i.e. I want to be the CFO or COO of the company, since this actually speaks about your attitude to work—what you are bothered about is a position and not learning. On the lighter side, imagine if the organization’s CFO or COO is present in the interview. So, it is better to talk about your performance and learning curve—what you want to be good at, how you would contribute to the organizational goals, and so on, so that you would communicate your drive to grow on the one hand and you will not appear selfish or just a grabber on the other. Also be logical about your vision keeping in mind your present professional standing—how you would professionally grow. Whatever, you should be able to logically defend your standpoint.


There could be questions on your interests and hobbies that give you an opportunity to talk about non-professional aspects of your life, i.e. what you like doing when you are free. Hobbies and interests reflect on your attitude to life. You can very well talk about your hobbies irrespective of your degree of expertise in them, e.g. this could be I like listening to songs… to I like singing songs. Be genuine, so that you could handle cross questions if the situation arises so. Dishonesty, if discovered here, will be fatal.


  1. Your approach to your dress and your overall appearance reflects on your approach to the interview time if you are casual or careful about the interview.
  2. Your appearance will communicate that. Your punctuality also communicates. Wear a dress that doesn’t take the organisation’s attention away from you. It is better to avoid a perfume since in most of the cases, people have very strong tastes, either they love the perfume or they hate that.
  3. Communicate what you also believe to be true. Do not tell a lie. You are before experts and your lies if discovered could be very embarrassing, besides being fatal for you. Do not get into arguments with interviewers; if you feel strongly for something, convey that once and drop the topic from your side. There has to be more than one side of a story. You may not be aware of that. This will reflect on your flexibility.
  4. Just because compensations and positions appear lucrative, and you can perform, you should not apply for them. Check your life examples to understand what actually suits and interests you, as these will help you in sustaining yourself in job with passion.
  5. Finally, before you apply for a job—analyse the profile and draft that on the basis of job description given in the job advertisement. This will enable you to identify the personal characteristics and qualities that would be required to carry out the duties and responsibilities at that position. Once you identify the characteristics and qualities, tally them with your own and see if they describe you. If not, the job probably is not meant for you. This will never be your dream job. Do a little homework to understand your dream job.

“Jodi Glickman recommends—start by identifying your strengths and the things you enjoy.”

  1. So if you want to be a successful candidate who responds effectively, you should first listen to the interviewers’ question (and do not avoid if that appears difficult; just accept the reality), and answer what has been asked in brief without giving out unnecessary details (and keep your answers relevant and brief). Experts say that among many other things in a candidate, not listening to questions irritates interviewers the most.

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