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Rehearse For Interviewers’ Favourite Questions

Rehearse for an interview with you ready in all specificities, suited in best formal clothing and ready with a copy of your résumé and other related stuff which you may want to carry to the interview. Ask your friend to seriously play the role of the interviewer, with that inscrutable hiring-manager face, and with purpose to conduct a serious interview to help you. It is advised, if it is possible, to record your entire interview on a video camera, possibly capturing every move so that you can work on it later.
It will be interesting to note that this rehearsal will be giving you a lot of stuff you would like to work on. Importantly, both you and your friend have to be serious about the purpose of this mock interview. Please understand that this video is for working out various aspects such as your body language, your communication skills and your mannerism during the interview. It is advised that a series of such videos are made and you playback these shots to see how you are learning the winning ways to interviews.


Many recruiters ask questions that are a bit more specific than “Tell me about yourself” and that are likely to come up in many interviews and it’s best for students to prepare for them. What other kinds of questions do recruiters ask? Following are ten questions, plus ideas on how to answer them or the kinds of competencies the interviewer is seeking.

1. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?


“I want to hear something related to retail,” says Rohit Bajwa, HR Manager of a major soft drink manufacturing company. “I don’t want to hear ‘I want to be an astronaut’ or ‘I want to win the Academy Award’.”

Rohit says, the question is designed to help the ­interviewer know if the job seeker will be happy in that position, or if he or she wants to work in it only as long as it takes to find something better.

2. How do you make yourself indispensable to a company?


“We are looking for both technical and interpersonal competence,” says Doris J. Samuels, Recruiting and Advertising Manager for Brackmen Softwares Ltd., in Pune, Maharashtra.

Samuels explains that students who have interned or completed co-operative education assignments ­generally answer the question best because they know what working for a company entails.

3. What’s your greatest strength?


“Don’t just talk about your strength—relate it to the ­position,” Keshav Singh of Lottery On-line says, “Let them know you are a qualified candidate.”

4. What’s your greatest weakness?


“Say something along the lines of, ‘I have difficulty with this thing, and these are the strategies I use to get around it’,” Keshav Singh says. “For example, you could say, ‘I’m not the most organized of individuals, so I always answer my e-mails and phone calls right away. I’m aware of the problem and I have strategies to deal with it’.”

5. Tell me about a time when your work load was heavy. How did you complete all your work?


“We generally are looking for an answer like, ‘Last quarter I was handling logistics as well as inventory planning for my branch, so I made sure I had a day-planner and mapped out all my assignments’,” says Karman Avasthi, who is a senior staff recruiter of a reputed courier and air-freight company in New Delhi. “We’re looking for a plan-ahead kind of individual; not someone who just flies by the seat of his pants.”

Avasthi says, recruiters at courier and logistics companies like DHL, Blue Dart, etc., use the STAR method of interviewing, that involves getting the interviewee to describe a situation that includes a task that needed to be accomplished, the action taken to accomplish the task and the result of that action.

“We actually tell the candidate, so they’re aware of what we’re looking for,” he says, adding that the approach can help candidates focus on their answers.

6. Tell me about a time when you had to accomplish a task with someone who was particularly difficult to get along with.

“I want to hear something that shows the candidate has the ability to be sensitive to the needs of others but can still influence them,” Rohit Bajwa says, adding that he has heard plenty of wrong answers to that question. “Don’t say ‘I just avoided them’ or ‘They made me cry’.”

7. How do you accept direction and at the same time, maintain a critical stance regarding your ideas and values?

Samuels repeats that internship, summer trainings or co-op experience can give candidates the experience to answer that question, pointing out that candidates with good interpersonal skills honed on the job can ­understand how to walk that fine line.

8. What are some examples of activities and surroundings that motivate you?

“Most of our technical disciplines are teamwork professions and require getting along with and motivating other people,” Samuels says.

9. Tell me how you handled an ethical dilemma.

“Suppose you worked at a bank and a long-time customer wanted a cheque cashed right away but didn’t have the fund balance in her account to cover the cheque,” Sameer Singh of ICICI says, explaining that if the bank’s policy prohibited cashing cheques in that manner, the teller would have a choice of either violating bank policy or alienating a good customer.

Sameer says, the best way to handle such a ­situation would be to go to a supervisor, explain the situation and ask for advice. He adds that candidates who can’t offer a situation that they handled correctly the first time can explain how they learned from making ­mistakes.

“Explain that the next time, this was how you handled it,” he says.

10. Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a problem with no rules or guidelines in place.

“I’m looking for a sense of urgency in initiating action,” Rohit says, explaining that the question probes a candidate’s ability to overcome obstacles. For Rohit, candidates offering the best answers to the question describe a retail related problem. “I’m looking for the right thing in terms of customer service,” he says.

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