Every job interview has some common questions that you should be prepared to answer. Having good answer for these questions shows your confidence and communication skills, as well as you can guide the interview by focusing on the areas of your strength. Most of these questions are asked at the start of interview to know you better and make you feel comfortable and at the end to conclude the interview.
With 9+ years of experience and as an interviewer I have asked these questions numerous times and usually the interview is guided based on the answers I get. So it’s crucial to answer these with confidence. Since these are generic questions, there are no definite correct answer and the response depends on person to person and job description. So I will be providing answering tips for these questions to help you in preparing for them, but you should evaluate it according to your job details and your profile.
Tell me about yourself?
Almost every interview starts with this question. You should provide short answer for this question focusing mainly on your work related topics, unless asked about anything else. It’s good to start with your highest qualification details and then provide details about different projects and companies you have worked for in order. If you are a fresher, you can provide details about your college projects or any summer training jobs you might have done.
You can start guiding the interview by throwing some adjectives like “When I was working for XYZ Company, I worked on ABC project that was quite interesting and challenging”. Also focus on your past work that relates to the job you are applying for.
What are your responsibilities in the current project?
Make sure to prepare some points ready for this, such as “gathering requirements”, “project design decisions”, “time and effort estimations”, “client interactions”, “people and project management”, “QA and production support” etc.
Why are you looking for a change or why did you leave the last job?
Usually this question is asked to understand what you are looking for and are there any potential issues at your current or last work place. Regardless of the situation, you should answer it positively. You should never refer to problem with team, management, work schedule etc. It’s simple, nobody wants to hire a trouble maker and even if the situations are bad, there is no point of discussing them at the interview.
A good positive answer could be “better role”, “exciting opportunities”, “preferred location” etc.
What experience do you have in this field or how much experience do you have in this area?
Provide specific answer that relates to the job description. If you don’t have experience in this area, try to get close to it. For example if someone will ask me about my experience in PHP, I would answer it as “I run a blog on WordPress, so every now and then I do minor changes in it’s theme, design etc. So I have some experience in PHP and I can learn more about it by the time I will join.”
Do you think you are successful in your professional life?
You should answer it positively and YES with confidence. You can point out the goals set by you and how you achieved them, and what are the current goals in your professional life. Try to relate the job description to your one of the goals. For example, if the job position is “Tech Lead” and you are working as “Senior Software Engineer”, you can mention that “Being a Tech Lead by the time I have 5 years of experience is one of the goals of my professional life, and it looks like I will be able to achieve it soon”. A gentle smile while you explain these will show your confidence.
What are your recent achievements, mainly in last 6 month to one year?
Be prepared to add some technologies related to the job description that you learned recently. You can mention trainings, certifications or even social work done recently, such as organizing Books collection drive, blood donation camp etc.
What do you think about your current team?
You should always praise your team members, give credit to them for your quick learnings of the project and technologies. You could also mention about team lunches and outings, this will show that you are a good team player.
As a developer, you must have bitter relationship with Testing or QA team?
This question is usually asked if you are applying for developer position. You should praise your current project QA team for doing great work and raising bugs on time and making sure that there are no bugs in production environment. If I asked this question, I always quote “Trust me, it’s better to have 10 bugs in QA phase than 1 bug in production.”
If you are giving interview for Testing position, then also this question is important. You need to praise development team for quick resolution of bugs and providing clarification for ay queries.
What do you know about the Company?
This is one question that needs some research before interview. Read about the company, their geographic presence, domain expertise, number of employees, any recent awards such as best places to work etc.
Are you applying for jobs in other companies too?
You should answer it truly, there is nothing bad in looking for all the job options and choose what is best for you. However, keep it brief and don’t go into much detail.
Do you already have an offer in hand?
Answer truthfully, there is no harm in letting them know if you already have an offer. If they are interested in you, this might add some extra perks in your compensation offer. 🙂
Why do you want to join this company?
Make sure you have some good points ready for the company, that will help you in moving forward your career. The points made here should be in line with your goals in professional life. Some examples are large organization, good company to work for, exposure to latest technologies etc.
Do you know anyone who work for this company?
If you have some family member working for the organization, make sure to mention it truthfully. Most of the companies policy requires to disclose this information, so there is no point in holding it. If you have some friends working in the company or project, depending on your position and reputation, you can mention it or skip it.
Are you a team player?
Obviously you are a team player. Keep some points ready for this. If there are some employees reporting to you, make sure to mention how you helped them in learning new technologies and move forward their career. You can also mention how you helped your senior team members or other teams with your expertise in the area.
What are your salary expectations from this company?
Always avoid to give a concrete number for this question, because still your interview is not over. They are not 100% sure whether you are the right person for the job. Tell them that it depends on the work and ask them what is the salary range for the job?
Most of the companies offer average hike from your current salary, so it’s best to get their offer first and then negotiate with the HR team.
If we hire you, how long you will work for us?
Don’t give specifics, say that you are looking for long term and settle down with a good company. You can mention that it depends on the work, as long as you are getting good and challenging work, why do you want to change.
Are you flexible to work late night or weekends?
Don’t lie outright just to impress your interviewer. Nobody likes to work late night or in weekends. Say something like it depends on the situation. You can also mention some earlier events where suddenly a major production issue happened and you worked late night to fix it quickly. Mention that it’s okay for once in a while but not regularly.
What would you do if you win a jackpot of one million dollar?
Never say you will quit your job. You answer should show that you take work seriously and it’s not only for money. You can mention that you will pay loans, buy you a house etc, but never quit your work.
Have you been asked to leave any job earlier?
Answer yes if you have been asked to leave earlier, or else no. If yes, mention that it’s because your work was over or because of recession etc. Never blame your managers, team members or say negative things about your company.
Why should we hire you?
This is you chance to highlight your best qualities and your experience that the company needs. Don’t compare with anybody else, highlight your technical skills as well as soft skills such as people management, growth of the team, technical seminars etc.
Tell me any suggestions made by you in past projects?
Keep couple of suggestions ready, and how it helped the team, project and the company. It should be realistic and not very generic one. If it relates to the current job, it will be a major plus for you.
Which of your team member you don’t like?
Never point out someone from your team, it will show that you are not a team player. You are a professional and you might not like someone from your team for various reasons, but interview is not the right time and place to show it. Mention that you like to get along with everyone and there is nobody that you don’t like. Everyone has something special and you try to learn from them.
What are your strengths?
Keep some points ready for your strengths, also some scenarios to prove it if asked. Some good points are – time management, quick learner, leadership skills, problem solving skills, positive attitude etc.
What is your biggest weakness?
Mention something that will ultimately work in your favor. For example, I am a workaholic and can’t sit idle. Or I am not good in XYZ technology, but I am thinking to take training and improve into that.
Tell me about your dream job or dream company?
Never mention specific job or company, give generic answer such as where you get challenging work, great team, good support from seniors etc.
Tell me about a problem with you earlier supervisors?
Don’t fall for it, stay positive and don’t mention anything negative about your previous supervisors. Even if you had any issues with your supervisor, you should discuss it with them. Job interview with other company is not the right place for discussing it.
Do you have any disappointments in your current job?
Don’t go into negativity about your project, however some common points can be “not challenging enough”, “repetitive tasks”, “missing opportunity to learn new technologies” etc.
Are you willing to relocate if required?
You should be very clear on this, some jobs require a lot of travel. So answer it truthfully to avoid any issue after you get the job.
What have you learned from your previous mistakes?
Everybody does mistakes at some point of time, so if you will answer that you haven’t done any mistakes, it will hurt your credibility. Keep couple of points ready, small mistakes and what you learned from them. One of the example could be, you developed an application and at the time of client review, they asked for so many changes. So you learned to give application demo to your client every few days to make sure everybody is on the same page.
How would you overcome inexperience in XYZ?
There are high chances that you don’t know every technology required for the job. You can point out that you are a quick learner and you will learn these technologies by the time you join the company.
How do you manage multiple tasks?
This question is related to your time management skills. You can mention that you maintain a diary of all the tasks. At the start of day, you prioritize them and choose some of the tasks that should be done by end of the day and some non-priority tasks that you can work on depending on free time. If you are involved in multiple projects at once, you can mention that based on your time commitment, you divide hours for each of the projects and keep a TODO list for the tasks at hand.
Tell me a time when you felt proud of being in a project?
You can mention about a project that was huge success and everybody loved it. You felt proud of all the appreciation received and being part of a successful project and team.
Tell me about the challenges you faced in your last project?
Most of the projects have some requirements that takes time to figure out, you should take a note of them and resolution ready for the interview. For example, the application was going down every few weeks and we were not able to figure out what’s going on, then we analyzed complete project using thread dump and application profilers to find out the bottlenecks in the application. Once everything was fixed, there was no memory leak and application was running fine. It was a time taking task but very fruitful at the end of the day.
As a team lead or project manager, how do you react when someone resigns from the job?
You should be positive in answering this question, every now and then people resign and move to other companies. You can mention that you talked to the team member to understand what was the reason for resigning and is there anything you could do to help him stay in the organization. Even if he left, you learned some problems that other team members might be facing too, so you tackled them to avoid more resignations from other team members.
Where do you see yourself in next five years?
Your answer should reflect that you are looking for growth in the organization itself. Don’t mention that you see yourself opening your own company, even if you intent to. For example, if you are team lead, you can mention that you see yourself as project manager and handling multiple projects in this company.
How comfortable are you in working in different roles?
Sometimes we need to play different roles based on the situation, here you can point out your expertise and work experience as team member, team leader, project manager etc. Your answer should show that you are committed to the work and willing to change roles for the good of company and project.
What are your hobbies? How do you spend weekends?
Answer truthfully about your hobbies as you might be asked some questions related to that. If you have a hobby that can be fulfilled at your organization, it will be a plus point. For example, you can point out that you play cricket and you are part of the cricket team at your current organization.
What are your expectations from a supervisor?
Avoid specifics and keep your answers generic. Safe qualities that you can mention are knowledgeable, a sense of
humor, fair to team members, good listener etc.
Do you prefer Working from Home?
Some organizations provide work from home but some don’t. So keep your answer generic and aligned to the organization policies. However if there are some constraints that requires work from home sometimes, you can clearly point it out. For example, once a month doctor visit or something similar.
Do you have any questions for me?
It’s better to ask couple of questions related to job description, technologies involved, any project or technical trainings etc. Listen to the explanation given by interviewer carefully, you can get some insights of your initial days in the organization, however avoid to counter question or go into longer discussions.
That’s all for common job interview questions and tips from my experience, I hope it will help you in preparing for upcoming interview. If you are asked any other questions, please comment and help others too. [no_toc]