General interview questions and answers can be divided into two categories; the traditional questions and the brain twisters.
The traditional questions test the knowledge and abilities of the candidate. They are based on the educational qualifications and experience of the candidate and determine whether the candidate will make a useful employee or not.
The brain twisters are those questions which are not linked to the educational qualifications or the job requirements and are only to judge the mental alertness and responses of an the candidate. These questions are more of a test of character and judgment and check how a candidate may react under unusual circumstances.
Preparation is Vital
To ace general interview questions and answers you need to be fully prepared. A big part of the general interview questions and answers comprises of specific questions; an employer can easily tell if the candidate has prepared for the interviews or not. Unconvincing answers show incompetence and creates a bad impression (Click here to read how to make a good first impression) on the employer causing you to lose the job.
1) Tell us something about yourself
This general interview question gets the ball rolling for an interview but it does not mean that you start rambling about your entire life. You only need to tell about your academic achievements, your hobbies and your aim in life.
2) What has been your greatest achievement in life so far
Most people mention their university degree but a unique answer would be an accomplishment which is related to the skills required for the job; let’s say you organized a successful charity function at a short notice etc.
3) Why are you looking for another job?
You may say that you want to grow as a person and as an employee and your present job does not allow you to do so.
4) Why do you want to work in this company?
Your research of the company will come handy here. You can mention your career goals and how the company with its vision and goals can help you achieve them
5) Where do you see yourself in next five years
Ridiculous as it may be, this question actually tests how long you want to stay with the company. The fresh graduates should say that “I want to build my expertise in my field” whereas the response of the experienced should be that “I see myself in the management role, leading others”.
6) Where else have you applied?
You should respond to this general interview question by saying,” a couple of other places but your organization is my first choice”.
7) How much salary are you expecting?
O.K now this is a question which tests your skills and diplomacy. The best advice for a first timer would be “My priority is gaining experience and establishing myself as a useful employee. I hope that keeping in view my dedication and efforts, you will offer a good salary package”. If the salary you are being offered is less than your expectations, ask the interviewer what benefits are being offered besides salary. Also ask them if they would revise the pay scale after ninety days as some companies first assess the abilities of the worker and then raise their salaries. Experienced persons can name a figure and negotiate; remember that if you want to switch jobs, you would like to work on a salary 20 to 25% more than what you were getting.
8) Are you willing to work after office hours?
Here you have to be honest; only say “yes” if you are willing to do so.
9) Why should you be selected for this job and what can you do for this company?
Again if you have researched the job requirements, you will be able to answer this question easily. You can blend your expertise and skills with the job requirements and add the main qualities which the employer is looking for and which you can offer.
10) What motivates you
Challenges is the best answer for this general interview question, do not mention money at all. Think of your qualities and how you have used them. For example those applying for customer support can say “helping others”.
Brain Twister – Prepare These Tough General Interview Questions Also
As mentioned earlier the brain twisters check the responses and the reaction of the candidates. These general interview questions are most unexpected and thus quite tough and judge the behavior and personality of the candidate. The interviewers use different tactics to see how a candidate would react under pressure. They may interrupt you when you are answering the question with another question or a comment or their tone may be aggressive.
In the former case you must respond by saying that “let me finish my answer and then I’ll come to your question or comment” and in case of the latter, remain calm and do not take it as a personal attack. You need to use all the tact and diplomacy you have to face these brain twisters. You must stay positive and do not let your confidence falter. If you cannot think of an appropriate response, just smile and refuse to answer that question.
11) Why did your previous company make you redundant?
An employee is made redundant because the company was downsizing or was relocating or maybe moving in a different direction. Whatever the reason be, blame it on circumstances and express your enthusiasm about the position you are being interviewed for.
12) Why have you not been able to find a job yet?
To answer this important general interview question you can say that you were offered jobs but they did not offer a chance to grow in the field you desired. This job however maximizes my qualifications and skills and like other things in life, it takes time to find a perfect job.
13) What sort of people you do not like to work with and why?
This is one of the trickiest general interview questions and requires diplomacy. You can either candidly state that you do not like bossy people or those who take credit for other’s work etc but it will only open the Pandora’s Box of tricky questions. You can say that you do not like working with racists, thieves and peddlers.
14) Did you have problems with your last employer?
This is a tricky question and even if you have had any issues just say no. Speaking ill of others especially those who sign your paycheck is never considered good.
15) What is your biggest strength?
Think of job related strength and elaborate it.
16) What is your biggest weakness?
Again think of a job related weakness and also state how you are trying to overcome it.
17) What would your co-workers say about you if they were here?
Interviewers often ask this question and you have to prepare for it earlier. You need to get the opinion of your co-workers and state it.
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