While we all wish that we could foretell the exact questions that a hiring manager would ask us in our next interview, the truth is that most of the interview questions can be expected and prepped for in advance. Sans the ability to read the minds of the HR Managers, here's a list of the 5 most commonly asked interview questions and ways that you could answer.
Plan your answers in advance, so that you would be comfortable to answer confidently at your interview and nail the dream job that you have always wanted!
1. What are your salary expectations ?
Before you start talking pay (and salary negotiations) with a prospective employer, you need to find out how much the job (and you) are worth. You will need to take the time to research salaries. That way you will be prepared to get what you're worth and to get a job offer that's realistic and reasonable. If you're asked what your salary requirements are, say that they are open based upon the position and the overall compensation package. Or tell the employer you'd like to know more about the responsibilities and the challenges of the job prior to discussing salary. Another option is to give the employer a salary range based upon the salary research you've done up front. Once you've received the offer you don't need to accept (or reject) it right away. A simple "I need to think it over" can get you an increase in the original offer.
2. What are your career plans for the next five years?
If asked this question, be honest and specific about your future goals, but consider this: A hiring manager wants to know a) if you've set realistic expectations for your career, b) if you have ambition, and c) if the position aligns with your goals and growth. Your best bet is to think realistically about where this position could take you and answer along those lines. And if the position is not necessarily a one-way ticket to your aspirations, it is perfectly okay to say that you are not quite sure what the future holds, but that you see this experience playing an important role in helping you make that decision. Alternatively, you could also break it down into intermediate and long term career plans that sees alignment with the new job opportunity that you are going for, and demonstrate a clear vision of how you would like to grow with the company as well.
3. Tell me about a problem you've faced. How did you solve it?
These are behavioral interview questions designed to discover how you handled certain situations. Here, the interviewer wants to know if you're a good problem solver and that you can show initiative.They also want to see what kind of decisions you consider difficult. The logic behind these types of questions is that how you behaved in the past is a predictor of what you will do in the future. When answering these questions, give one or two concrete examples of difficult situations you have actually faced at work. Then discuss what decisions you had to make to remedy the situations.You want to come across as confident and capable of making big decisions. Avoid examples that make you seem indecisive or uncertain and remember to keep you answers positive!
4. What is your biggest achievement?
A question like this gives your potential employer a sense of your work ethic, your goals, and your overall personality. In your answer, you should be cognizant of the type of job you're applying for. Try to say something which shows that you have initiative, leadership skills, perseverance or creativity and try to give work-related examples that demonstrate such qualities and how it led to your biggest achievement.
5. What didn't you like about your last job / Why did you leave your previous job?
This is a bit of a trick question. You can't say 'nothing' as that is not only unbelievable, but you have to tread carefully and not be deemed overly negative either. Practice your responses so you sound positive, and clear, about your circumstances and your goals for the future. For e.g. “I am interested in a new challenge and an opportunity to use my technical skills and experience in a different capacity than I have in the past.”
Regardless of why you left, don't speak badly about your previous employer. The interviewer may wonder if you will be bad-mouthing his company next time you're looking for work.