Every jobseeker looks forward to an interview call. Regardless whether you are a fresher or veteran in your field, an interview will be conducted by any prospective employer, before hiring.
Sometimes, questions asked can be predicable. However, an interviewer can occasionally toss an odd or awkward interview questions that can overwhelm an experienced jobseeker too. Hence it is vital to know the significance of an interview and what it entails.
What is an interview?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Language defines interview as: A formal consultation usually to evaluate qualifications as of a prospective student or employee.”
Chambers 21st Century English Dictionary describes it as “A formal meeting and discussion with someone, especially one at which an employer meets and judges a prospective employee.”
From these definitions, two words stand out- ‘evaluate’ and ‘judge’. This is exactly what will happen with you during an interview: One or more interviewers will evaluate and judge your educational skills, personality, work aptitude, socio-economic status and much more.
Regardless of what you mention on your Curriculum Vitae (CV), Resume or Bio-Data, every employer will conduct an interview to assess whether you are worth hiring.
Are interviews tough?
A job interview is not a test of your skills. It is a test of your abilities to use these skills at the right time and place. “Job interviews are like first dates. Good impressions count, awkwardness can occur, outcomes are unpredictable,” says an unknown author.
Job interviews are not necessarily tough. As fresher, you will be asked a few basic interview questions during interview. For professionals and experienced applicants,interview questions will focus more on past and current employment.
To help prepare better we present a list of common and off-beat HR interview questions and answers for fresher and experienced.
HR interview questions & answers for fresher
Mostly, interviewers do not ask very complex questions whereas they just ask basic interview questions to a fresher. Understandably, a fresher cannot possess in-depth knowledge about the work, since this would be their first employment.
Regardless, a fresher can face some truly tough interview questions for a job. Here are some examples how to answer HR interview questions:
Q-1: Can you tell us something about yourself?
A: Answer this question by describing your family background and academic achievements briefly. Read this to know how to answer this.
Q-2: What do you know about this job?
A: Some research into profiles of the job applied for will give you a good idea about tasks you may have to perform.
Q-3: What do you know about this company?
A: Again, doing some basic research about the company, its business, products and services as well as history will help you answer some Top hr interview questions.
Q-4: Why are you applying for this job?
A: You need to convince yourself first about the career you choose. This will help you assure the interviewer you are serious about the job.
Q-5: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
A: Stick to only those strengths and weaknesses that are relevant to your job and can impact your career. Highlight your weaknesses that will work in favour of your career.
Q-6: Can you define your career goals?
A: Here, it is best to stick to short and medium term goals that you expect to fulfill while working for the employer. Keep your career goals simple and achievable. Provide a deadline by which you expect to attain them.
Q-7: Are you willing to work extra hours, late nights and on weekends/ holidays?
A: Answer affirmatively. Saying yes increases your prospects of getting the job. As fresher, you also get to learn more, test your skills independently. You can also earn more by overtime work.
Q-8: Why should we hire you?
A: Speak about your skills that can be best utilized by the employer. Highlight that you are willing to go the extra mile to make a career in that organization.
Q-9: Can you work under pressure?
A: Yes, why not? Remember, every job entails pressure regardless whether you are fresher or experienced. Such pressures are occasional and allow you to improve your skills.
Q-10: What family commitments do you have?
A: Be frank enough to tell your interviewer about commitments you have towards your parents or spouse and kids. Speak of how a career in that company will help fulfil these family obligations.
Q-11: Do you have any vices or bad habits?
A: Should you be consuming alcohol occasionally or smoking, say so. If you answer negative but arrive someday at work reeking of booze, you can lose the job. The odour of tobacco smoke cannot be concealed. Stains on teeth will clearly indicate if you chew ‘paan’ or tobacco.
Q-12: Can you travel at short notice?
A: Of course, yes. Traveling for work is exciting and interesting. It allows you to test your skills in new locations. Further, you also get an opportunity to develop a network of contacts in your field of work.
Q-13: Are you willing to relocate to another city or town?
A: Once again, accept the challenge. Relocating to another city or town for work can provide you better pay and work conditions. Understandably, you will develop better skills on your own capabilities and make friends in new places.
Q-14: Are you a good team player?
A: For a fresher, some job HR interview questions may be tough to answer. However, you can speak about how you studied or played in teams during school and college days. Point out that you enjoy working in teams since it allows you to learn more about the work.
Q-15: What motivates and inspires you?
A: Speak about your short and medium term ambitions and dreams. Speak about the extra efforts you are willing to exert to attain them. Be careful and skip talking about long-term goals since the company might not be able to offer you much career development avenues.
Q-16: Can you tell us about other career options you are eying?
A: Once again, as fresher hoping to embark on a career, you can be honest about other options you are considering. However, ensure these options are in line with your educational qualifications and personal aptitude.
Q-17: Will working with us help fulfil your career objectives and goals?
A: Respond to this most common HR interview questions with utmost caution. With some prior research into the employer’s profile, you can assess how rapidly you can grow in your career. Reply affirmatively to this type of typical interview questions. Tell your interviewer how you can use and develop skills while working for them.
Q-18: What is the guarantee you will not leave us soon?
Point out to the interviewer you are not merely looking for money. Instead, you are more interested in developing a career, acquiring new skills and developing your talent. Also highlight that jumping jobs frequently will reflect poorly on your CV, Bio-Data or Resume.
Q-19: Why should we hire a fresher instead of experienced candidates?
Never deride an experienced candidate. Instead, you can point out that as fresher, you are open to new ideas, can adapt easily to the work culture, handle extra pressures and work load. Point out to your educational and extra-curricular achievements that can be useful for the employer.
Q-20: How would you handle criticism from teammates and seniors?
Say that criticism does hurt. Yet it teaches some vital lessons. Show that you are open to positive, justifiable criticism as long as it helps you develop as a better person and make a good worker.
Q-21: Do you have any hobbies and interests?
You can safely mention your hobbies and interests even if they include something as mundane as collecting stamps and coins or watching movies. Also talk about extra-curricular activities you took interest while studying such as sports, story, poem and essay writing or joining Scouts and Guides, National Cadet Corps, National Social Service and other similar organizations.
Q-23: What were your favourite and hated subjects while studying?
Here, you can briefly answer which subjects in your field of study interested you and assign reasons. You can safely discuss which subjects you lagged and why you loathe them.
Q-24: What are your salary expectations?
Some employers indicate what salaries they are willing to pay. Others do not. Some research into existing pay scales for fresher in your field will indicate the size of your remuneration. You can ask for a pay package in line with prevailing market rates.
Q-25: Would you like to ask me any questions?
This question opens up several vistas to display your skills. Ask the interviewer about your job profile. Seek more details about the company, the size of your team, managerial structure and the current market share for its products or services. You can also enquire about future plans of the company and its expansion, forthcoming launches and information related to your industry. Avoid speaking about your prospective employer’s competition and rivals.
As fresher, you may also be quizzed about your family, especially parents, their educational qualifications and work. Some interviewers may ask about your daily routine. Yet others can ask about your political and religious beliefs. If such questions do feature in your interview, answer them with utmost honesty but without being judgmental about anything. We include some such questions later in this article.
HR questions for experienced
Understandably, jobseekers with previous work experience will face tougher questions at interviews. However, some questions that will feature during an interview can be similar to those asked to a fresher. HR questions for the experienced will mainly revolve around work skills, past and current employment and work conditions. Some common list of interview questions and answers for experienced all the answers to interview questions are mentioned blow.
Q-1: Can you describe your employment history?
A: It is vital to remember what you mention on your application. Give a concise yet accurate account of your past employers- beginning from the first to the latest or current. Mention the approximate period you worked at each job, designations held and your responsibilities.
Q-2: Why are you looking for a new job?
A: Take care not to criticize your former and current employers. Instead, speak about how your skills can be better utilized by the place where you have applied for work. Point out areas where your skills were redundant you could not use to optimum in previous workplaces.
Q-3: Why do you believe our company can fulfil your needs?
A: Harp on your skills. Tell your interviewers, the new job will help you develop and fine-tune your skills that can prove beneficial to the company and add value to its products, services and functioning.
Q-4: How do you rate job satisfaction at previous workplaces on a scale of one to 10?
A: It is best to give an honest assessment of your job satisfaction levels at previous workplaces. The interviewer can interject and ask you more questions about some workplace where you rate job satisfaction as low. Be ready to provide answers without criticizing any employer, its policies, management and colleagues.
Q-5: What additional skills have you acquired from your previous employment?
A: You can answer this question best, since you will have definitely gained vital experience, developed new skills and learnt a few tricks of the trade during your tenure with past and current employers. Highlight how these skills can benefit the interviewer’s company.
Q-6: What roles do you foresee for yourself in this company?
A: Talk about your short and mid-term goals and skills you offer. Talk about how to intend to achieve these goals and progress in the company by optimal use of your education and skills. Shun talking about specific designations. However, you can speak of various functions and departments where your skills are useful.
Q-7: Can you briefly explain reasons for leaving your past employers?
A: Once again, do not run down your past employers or their staff. Point out to your application and highlight that it shows an upward move in your career. You can explain you switched jobs for progressing in your career.
Q-8: What problems do you face in your current (or past) job?
A: Here too, stick to your objectives of career development. Speak about areas where you could have done better in your current or past job. Cite reasons such as lack of opportunities or unavailability of technology to develop and utilize your skills. Once again, shun criticism.
Q-9: You seem to change jobs frequently. Why is that?
A: Understandably, this question can unnerve anyone who has a history of frequent job changes. It does not disqualify you automatically from the new job. However, you will have to provide valid and acceptable reasons for frequently switching jobs.
Q-10: Why are there are several periods of unemployment in your career?
A: Regardless of your great qualifications and unbeatable experience, patches of unemployment indicate something may be wrong with you. It could include anything from domestic problems to illness, addictions to inability to cope with work pressure, strained relations with seniors and colleagues. Answer this question very truthfully. Remember, you are called for the interview, meaning the employer would be willing to overlook this flaw.
Q-11: How long would you work for us?
A: Honestly, no mortal can foresee the future. However, you can respond to this question in a tacit manner. State that you are looking for a prolonged career that offers you high job satisfaction and allows you to utilize your experience and skills for the employer’s benefit.
Q-12: Could you describe your former (or current) manager and management style?
A: You will have to answer this skill with great tact. Any criticism about your previous or former boss should be presented in a positive manner. Highlight their achievements and good character or qualities. Speak about how they helped you and your great experiences while working with them.
Q-13: What is your working pattern and style?
A: Give a brief description of your daily routine at work. Provide details about your work and how to go about executing it effectively. You can also speak about how you collate between tasks and coordinate with colleagues. Also include details about any work related assistance you provide juniors.
Q-14: Does anything prevent you from performing better?
A: Please be very honest about factors that impede you from utilizing your skills and experience to the maximum. This could be anything from lack of sufficient opportunities, technical snags, long commutes, family problems and issues at workplace such as obsolete technology. Shun speaking about irascible bosses and uncooperative colleagues.
Q-15: What would you require from us to excel at work?
A: This is a question you should welcome. It signifies the company wants to enhance its performance and looks forward to you for doing so. Be modest in your demand and ensure that existing staff will be able to cope with any new technology you are likely to introduce. State that cooperation from all levels of staff at the company will help you work better.
Q-16: How would you approach a problem at work or in life?
A: Indubitably, you would have done a lot of troubleshooting in your previous jobs and at home. We all have our own unique ways to approach problems and solve them. You can talk about these methods you derive from experience.
Q-17: How would you rate your professional success and failure a scale of one to 10?
A: A detailed answer is best for such questions. You will have to sort your skills and rate your achievements at work on this scale. At the same time, describe instances where you skills proved useless or were redundant causing you to fail at some tasks. Honest self assessment is always treasured by interviewers. It leaves a good impact and furthers your chances of bagging the job.
Q-18: Would you be able to cope up working with a younger team?
A: Of course you would be. Younger employees are more energetic and open to newer ideas. They also have their own ideas about how a particular task can be best executed. Working with a younger and often lesser or inexperienced team is great fun. Accept this challenge whole-heartedly.
Q-19: Do you have any issues in reporting to a younger boss?
A: None whatsoever. Younger bosses have better grasp of modern technologies and other skills, thanks to newer trends in education. Indeed, you can learn loads of new stuff by working with a younger boss. Further, you will also be able to chip in vital information with your experience.
Q-20: Could you tell us something about harassment at your previous jobs?
A: Regardless whether you were harassed or adored at your previous jobs, never speak anything negative about your former seniors and colleagues. However, you may cite a couple of instances where you felt you were overburdened with work without valid reasons.
Q-21: What value can you add to this company, if employed?
A: You will need to do some research into the company on Internet or other sources to prepare yourself for this common question. You can point out areas where you believe the company could fare better and maximize its profitability. Feel free to discuss any changes that you wish to see or can bring about, without harming existing employees or drastically altering its corporate culture.
Q-22: How would you point out to wrong decisions taken by your boss?
A: The answer is fairly simple. Say that you would meet your boss in total privacy, indicate the reason you are there and provide solid reasons why you believe a decision is wrong. That you would do it in a very positive manner, bereft of criticism and for better of the company.
Q-23: Are you a member of any organizations, clubs, political parties or trade unions?
A: Generally, companies are wary of hiring people with strong connections to political parties or are members of trade and labour unions. However, if you are a member or affiliated to such groups, it is best to disclose. Remember, it does not mar your chances of getting the job since such choices are generally considered personal and do not have any bearing upon the company.
Q-24: Are you willing to join us for this amount of salary?
A: This is purely your decision. We have no suggestions to offer. You need to base your decision upon your liabilities, monthly expenses and other costs. If you are jobless, the salary can prove a boon. You may wish to settle for less if offered a good designation or for better career prospect in a large corporation. However, the decision about your remuneration is at your sole discretion.
Q-25: Can you tell us something about the projects you are working on and plans of your current employer?
A: Avoid answering this question at all costs. It is tantamount to leaking information to a competitor. In any case, you should safeguard any sensitive information about your past or current employers. Say you cannot divulge this information since it would mean breach of trust of your former employer. An interviewer may ask you this question for two reasons: To assess your integrity as an employee or to gain some insider knowledge about a competitor. In both cases, never disclose such information.
Offbeat HR interview questions
Often, interviewers toss off-the-cuff questions at jobseekers. These HR questions during interview do not come under any specific topic and are unrelated to your educational qualifications or work experience. Instead, they are asked to judge your presence of mind, wit and quick thinking as well as problem solving abilities. Or they could be asked to test your general knowledge. A few such questions while are:
Q-1: How do you view the current political scenario of this country?
Q-2: What is your assessment of our national economy?
Q-3: Where would you go on a vacation?
Q-4: Can you describe an ideal spouse?
Q-5: How would you spend a million dollars won in lottery?
Q-6: Who are your favourite film stars and why?
Q-7: Would you return home if your dress got stained while going to work?
Q-8: Do you think you are too old for this type of a job?
Q-9: How many hours you spend on mobile, TV, Facebook etc?
Q-10: Can you describe your in-laws and their habits?
Q-11: How much money you need to become rich?
Q-12: If there is a fire in this building, what would you do?
Q-13: Can you describe your circle of friends?
Q-14: In your opinion, who is an ideal employer?
Q-15: How would you select the best employee for promotion or an award?
Q-16: What makes you jealous about your colleagues?
Q-17: Do you believe that life exists in outer space and why?
Q-18: How many days can you go without food and sleep?
Q-19: What goals you wish to fulfil before retirement?
Q-20: How would you invest this much amount of money and why?
Q-21: Which of your dreams you wish to see fulfilled?
Q-22: Do you believe in environmental protection?
Q-23: Can you drive a vehicle when drunk?
Q-24: How often do you pray?
Q-25: How important is money for you?
Above is the list of top offbeat hr interview questions for which u should be prepared before interview.
Firstly, never expect an interview to be easy. Unlike in the past, interviews nowadays do not focus only on your educational qualifications and skills. Interviewers are also trained to assess jobseekers upon their body language or non-verbal communications. They are quickly able to judge whether you are speaking the truth or pulling a tall one.
Furthermore, your confidence and demeanour during an interview also count. Over-confidence is harmful and diffidence is suicidal. Pre-interview stress and panic are common among jobseekers, especially those who are currently employed or were working earlier. Such stress and panic levels are lower in a fresher, who views an interview as an adventure of sorts. Prepare well for an interview by learning more about the prospective employer.