26 Most popular interview questions and answers – compiled for freshers
Purpose of an interview- from interviewee’s standpoint
An interview is a practical session (one-one, between an interviewer and an interviewee) to showcase your strengths and caliber to affirm and establish that you belong to that workplace.
What are the interview questions aimed at?
Every interview question is not only directed to seek information, but also, aimed at assessing your professional integrity and approach, based on different scenarios.
Here is how this matrix (with an example) helps in making snap, yet, rational decisions while answering.
A tip: There is no right or wrong answer to a question. Every question is situation and personal experience-based. It’s about how you own it, resonate with it, and convince the interviewer, that, makes or breaks the deal.
Popular Interview questionnaire for freshers (with answers):
1. The most important question of all! When asked about something you are totally unaware of, what would you do?
Please say “I don’t know”, no one fires you for saying that. Do not try to justify, fabricate or manipulate to cover up your ignorance. It is acceptable to not know something, provided, you are willing to learn about it later. Your sincerity will be remembered and appreciated.
2. Tell me about yourself.
A brief intro just about yourself, not about your family, unless specifically asked by the interviewer. Your academics, projects handled, any work-related tasks. Everything you say must be in sync, in relation to the job skills they are looking for.
3. What is your weakness?
You can mention a weakness that does not damage your chances to be hired. Not just acknowledging your weakness, you must also demonstrate some signs of fixing it.
Example 1: I usually get impatient when I have too many tasks at hand. But by applying the urgent-important principle I could prioritize and focus on one task. Gradually, this stress from impatience reduced and I was merrier at work.
You are a fresher and you can relate this to your pre-exams scenario too.
Example 2: Inexperience in XYZ (because you are a fresher). You can turn your lack of experience into a coping strength with your quick learning abilities and higher motivation levels.
Example 3: It is safe to mention out-of-context weaknesses, silly addictions, online games, obsession with technology etc.
4. What are your strengths?
Mention your strengths by considering the job requirements here (be prepared to answer the real situations in which you demonstrated that strength- when asked by the interviewer).
5. What are your expectations from this job/role?
Do some research on the job responsibilities of the role you applied for. Most of this would be available from the job description. Mention about the personal value this job adds, like learning.
6. Why did you leave your last job/internship?
In case, you’ve been associated with any company for a short time, for internships and the like, mention that your target was to work with their company.
The internship was a good value addition, to gain practical experience before you work for your first dream job (with them).
7. What do your co-workers (at internship) say about you?
Use the question to turn into an opportunity to express your strength. Think about the general appreciation from your friends, mention the tasks you do well. Do not overdo/ overstate.
8. Why should we hire you?
Articulate your value to the company (Business value through your technical expertise + personal value through your valuable traits. See this to get more ideas to relate yourself.
Give your own personal reasons. Organize your answer well by including both business + personal attributes.
9. Do you consider yourself a successful person?
Success, is a subjective term. Success is doing better than yesterday. Setting goals for yourself and working hard to achieve them, that is success. “If I am progressing, learning and improving constantly, I consider myself successful”. Yes!
10. If hired, how long would you stay with us?
I will work for as long as I am able to add business and personal value to the company. And until this value addition brings learning and growing opportunities in my career. I need to be challenged at work.
11. Are you willing to relocate?
There is no perfect answer to this. It needs to be answered per your personal preference. However, if the job you applied for requires travel. Relocation, you might have to consider your choice. Your answer can put you on or off that position.
12. When required, will you work for extended hours?
Your flexibility and accountability are tested here. Often, working for long hours is NOT a sign of efficient wok.
However, in some cases, a team will be required to contribute more due to heavy inflow of work. What choice would you make? Consider personal preferences or be responsible and prioritize organizational goals? Your answer defines it all.
13. How well do you work in teams?
Explain how you operate in groups. Give real examples, when you were involved in group activities and your role in it. When you work in teams you need to have qualities like accountability, appreciation for others, co-operation, a win-win strategy.
14. What position do you prefer on a team working on a project?
This question is to analyze if you possess the contributor or leadership qualities. As you are a newbie, you are not really expected to have leadership traits at this stage. Come across as a doer/achiever.
15. How do you prefer to work, in teams or individually?
This is to test, your collaborative team mindset. Even if your job is an individually contributing role, there are many situations where you will be depending on other people/teams’ efforts or results.
Hence, mention that you are appreciative of team set up and believe in collective effort. Even if you are a great solo performer, mention that you prefer learning and performing better in teams.
16. What do you hate in people?
Never give a list of things. Say that there might be many things that upset us momentarily however you are self-composed and these things will not affect you or your performance. You must appear to be focused on your work not irked by petty behavioral problems of others.
17. Have you faced any real challenges at work/college?
This question is to assess, if you are a go-getter or a person with give up attitude. Think of a situation where you had to go beyond your routine activity to finish a task. Also, self-evaluate, the strengths you had to demonstrate in that situation.
18. What is more important to you, money or growth?
Practically, everyone needs both. Money is also a passive acknowledgement of the progress you make at work. Mention that you need both. Your decisions are based on balancing growth and perks but not necessarily in favor of one!
19. Tell me about your ability to work under pressure/stress.
Although you do not have situations to quote exactly about work pressure. You can certainly relate your experience in organizing events, or any other activities where you were required to maintain your cool, while focusing on task completion and giving directions to others.
Mention that you put all your focus on the task at hand, and your self-controlled nature enables you to be calm under pressure.
20. How do you propose to compensate for lack of your work experience?
If you are a quick learner, it should help you in grasping things faster and replicating them at work better. Your motivation levels, efficiency in any work you do, team spirit all should enable you to be an achiever.
21. Are you willing to put the interests of the organization ahead of your own?
Yes in all aspects! You understand the objectives and the values of the company and embrace them. Your work and interests align with the company’s core values.
22. What qualities do you look for in a boss?
You look for a mentor who can guide you in performance management and give constructive criticism. Someone who is approachable, encouraging, supportive and renders a great learning factor.
23. Where and how do you see yourself five years from now?
No one really is going to keep a track of you in for the next 5 years, this is to understand if you are visionary and if you challenge yourself to achieve goals.
Mention about your growth prospects in your field (do your research) and say that is where you expect to be. Give a realistic answer, like you would be looking forward to be an SME of your department, enhance X Y Z skills in your area. Don’t just say I would like to be a manager or vice president.
When you have a successful learning-portfolio with great performance, promotion is inevitable.
24. How do you handle criticism?
Show that you are open to constructive criticism. Criticism helps you identify your areas of improvement if it is directed to your progress and not to you personally. You need to stay calm and composed and not get defensive or aggressive, while trying to deny the feedback.
Click on this visual image The best way to respond to feedback (particularly negative feedback)
or this detailed article on “How to respond to negative feedback constructively”
25. What are your expectations from the company or the job?
Apart from the regular job, you expect to have learning opportunities, mentoring, and free to exercise your creative brain.
26. Do you have any questions for me or us?
Make sure you are ready with intriguing and information-seeking questions like,
- what career/ learning opportunities they have for freshers?
- how is the performance measured?
- the company’s hierarchical growth process
- if the company supports any employee educational programs and certifications etc.
These are modeled answers, compiled and developed to exemplify the state of mind one should maintain. However, all interests and intentions of the interviewer might not have been captured and expressed in them.
These questions and answers are only aimed to help you organize and craft your answer in your personalized style.
Finally, a key point to note here is that, you answer well, when you
- you understand what a question is intended for
- you can perceive the employer’s perspective/think of the organization’s interests
Recruiters would like to know the aspects that are not evident from your resume. For ex: If you are ethical, passionate and committed to work, etc.
Simply be, genuine, truthful and respectful, above all be a natural and all this comes with tremendous practice!
All the best!
Here is a Step by step guide to land your first job – Specially compiled for freshers.