Every jobseeker on this planet looks forward to call for an interview. Reasonably so, because an interview call or letter signifies you are in the shortlist of potential candidates.
An interview call brings elation, anticipation and of course, a sense of apprehension. Elation because the interview call means your application has passed screening and is successful among other competitors.
Anticipation since you will expect several new vistas to open in your chosen career. Understandably, there is some apprehension, because an interview is the final or acid test of your personality, education, skills and experience.
Keep panic away
Millions of jobseekers fail during the interview, despite possessing educational qualifications, skills and experience a job demands. Admittedly, job searches are stressful, especially if you are unemployed.
This stress gets acute when you get an interview call. This pre-interview anxiety is normal and to some extent, healthy: It keeps you alert and helps prepare better.
However, left unchecked, such stress and anxiety can burgeon and manifest as panic during an interview. Such panic bars you from aptly answering questions from interviewers and severely mars your prospects of bagging that dream job.
Undue fears about questions you will encounter at an interview add to the panic.
Here we provide some most common interview questions for freshers & even for experienced that feature during an interview and ways and means to answer them astutely.
Common Interview Questions and Answers for Freshers
We have divided these common interview questions and answers for freshers in 10 different categories. Let’s see how to answers these question effectively
Personal Interview Questions for freshers
Of course, your Curriculum Vitae, Bio-Data or Resume will have undergone some basic screening by one or more interviewers. However, they will try to glean more details from you.
Interview Question -1: Can you tell us something about yourself?
For some reason, this question features with alarming alacrity at almost every interview in India. This question signifies two things: The interviewer is unsure about further questions or wants to put you at ease.
Answering this most common interview question is indeed complex since nobody wants a lengthy reply.
Hence, you will have to summarize your family details, educational qualifications and work experience if any, in three to four sentences to answer this question.
Interview Question – 2: What are your interests and hobbies?
Respond to such interview questions by briefly mentioning your hobbies and interests. Emphasize on any extra-curricular activities you engage in or were associated with while studying.
You can back up your reply by providing copies of certificates and awards you got for these activities. Sports indicate you are a team player while essay, story and poetry writing points towards your creativity.
A certificate from the National Cadet Corps (NCC) generally signifies good discipline. Club memberships denote your socio-economic status and social responsibility.
A word of caution: Companies are extremely wary about hiring people affiliated to trade unions or are active members of political parties.
Interview Question-3: Please tell us something about your family?
Seems like an innocuous interview question for fresher but indeed, it is a loaded one. Interviewers ask this question to find out how many dependents you have.
This enables them to estimate your expenses and liabilities. You can briefly mention what your father and mother do or did and give details about your spouse and kids, if any.
Also mention their educational qualifications. Your family details also help them know whether you can spend extra hours at work and travel when needed.
Your answer will also help them decide if you can be relocated to another place easily. Generally, this question is asked to gauge your family’s socio-economic background and its impact on you.
It also helps interviewers to assess the remuneration you are eyeing.
Interview Questions for Fresher on Academic qualifications
Obviously, your interviewers will want to know more about your educational qualifications and academic achievements. Common interview questions that feature in this category include:
Interview Question-4: How were you as student?
Be astute in replying this interview question because your mark sheets will reveal the truth. If you were adept at particular subjects, emphasize it.
In subjects where you were weak, point out exact reasons for the deficiency. Since student life is during formative years of an adult, interviewers will try and assess your passion in a chosen field.
Interview Question-5: Why did you choose this field of study?
This interview question for fresher pertains to the last degree you attained at college or university. It will be asked to find out your interest in your chosen field.
Unfortunately, most of us tend to follow the flock or cede to demands of parents to enter engineering, medicine, architecture, law or other streams despite lacking aptitude.
However, you need the job. Hence, you need to find good reason to tell interviewer the reasons what you find interesting in the chosen field of study.
Interview Questions on Work experience/ aptitude
Regardless whether you are fresher or have work experience, there are some questions that interviewers will often ask. These are to assess your capabilities for the job.
A fresher does not face as many challenges in this category of interview questions. However, it is a totally different ball game for experienced or working applicants.
Some common questions that can arise during an interview can be:
Interview Question-6: Why are you looking for a job/ new job?
A fresher need not toil much over answering this question. Simply state, you are eyeing a career in the sector where your prospective employer operates.
As fresher, you will have to back up your response with sufficient knowledge about the sector, its growth potential and your own capabilities.
Jobseekers with previous experience will have to be cautious before answering. Offering a typical answer like “better prospects” puts off most prospective employers.
It indicates you can leave them anytime. Instead, speak about how your skills can help your prospective employer to gain an edge over competitors or add to profits.
Interview Question-7: What are your achievements in this career?
Speak about your positive experiences at your past or current workplace. Brag a bit about achievements and special projects you executed or were actively associated with.
Highlight your skills by speaking about your contributions towards a project or reasons for a specific achievement. Try and discuss with the interviewer, what you can contribute should you bag the job.
Interview Questions on Previous/ current employer
Obviously, any interviewer would be interested in knowing your employment history. If your career graph has shown an upward move, indicating changing jobs for better prospects in bigger companies, it is fine.
Otherwise, you will have to find some very good reasons for switching jobs frequently. Some frequently asked interview questions about previous and current employment are on these themes:
Interview Question-8: Can you describe your former/ current job?
Describing your former or current job is quite easy, as long as you stick to facts. Speak about your daily routine at workplace, responsibilities you handle and projects, if any, upon which you are working.
The golden rule here is, never complain about anything at your workplace or about your job profile. The very fact that you are at an interview is sufficient proof you are dissatisfied with your previous or current job.
It is best to speak about the value you gave to your previous or present employers. Additionally, you can tell interviewers, how this experience can benefit their company by hiring you.
It is best to stick to brass tacks to ensure you do not face any embarrassment at work later. Undue boasting can land you in trouble before or after getting the job.
Interview Question-9: How are your relations with seniors?
Understandably, at some point of time, there could be differences over work between you and your seniors in a company. However, such a question is not licensed to wash the proverbial dirty linen in public.
Instead, you can answer very truthfully by speaking about the good times at work with seniors. Rather than concealing any differences with seniors, present them in a positive light.
Do this in a manner that does not denigrate your seniors. At the same time, highlight reasons why you feel things could be done differently.
Interview Question-10: Can we refer to your previous/ current employer?
Agree to this immediately. Avoiding reference to your past or current employer is clear indicator of unpleasant relationship or problems at workplace.
However, also emphasize that any such reference can be made only after you have taken new employment. Highlight the fact that seeking your details from a current employer prior to taking a new job can severely mar your career.
For past employers, the case is very different: They seldom bother about where a former employee works, unless they have a very strong and valid reason to object.
Interview Question for Fresher on Interpersonal relationships
Indubitably, interpersonal relationship at work- between colleagues, juniors and seniors- plays a major role in defining your career and length of service with any employer.
Nobody wants trouble makers at workplace. Nor do they want gossipers and people who indulge in petty politics. Here are some typical interview questions for freshers they may come across from interviewers.
Interview Question-11: How was your relationship with colleagues?
Be very truthful while answering this interview question. Everyone knows that all humans have difference with one-another. Rather than dwelling on shortcomings of your colleagues or criticizing them, speak about your achievements as a team.
Talk about how you helped one-another overcome their deficiencies to create a great project or achieve set targets. You can also highlight your contributions towards training juniors and newcomers at your previous or current workplace.
Interview Question-12: How do you handle criticism?
Frankly, we all hate criticism of any sorts. For obvious reasons, you cannot say so at any interview. Though criticism hurts, it does serve to make us better.
Be honest in your response. Admit that criticism does hurt, adding you analyze why a person criticized you and take steps to avoid such situations in future.
Be true to yourself by admitting that you are not perfect and hence, prone to mistakes and errors. Remember, nobody is above criticism and you are no exception to claim it has no adverse impact upon your thoughts.
Interview Questions on Personality checks
Every employer would like to gain a brief insight into your personality. Hence, you will be asked a few common interview questions pertaining to your character.
Nevertheless, it is best to answer these questions with utmost honesty as well.
Interview Question-13: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Since we all have inherent strengths and weaknesses, you can mention them fearlessly to any interviewer. Nobody is a saint or angel.
The best way to answer this question however is to undergo a Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) test- which is a form of honest self assessment.
While answering this question, you only need to mention those strengths and weaknesses that can have direct bearing upon your job and performance, relationships with peers, seniors and juniors.
Talk about things that irritate you as well as those that bring you happiness at work.
Interview Question-14: How do you look at yourself?
Once again, give your honest assessment about yourself. However, avoid giving an impression you are over-confident or diffident, overtly strong willed or timid.
Similar to other interview questions, it is best to adhere to your personal characteristics that can have a direct impact on your skills, performance, relationships at workplace and employment.
Interview Question-15: How does this job suit you?
Questions of this nature are meant to assess your personality and not qualifications. Hence, answers for freshers should be based upon your aspirations and ambitions.
You may safely talk of prospects you believe await you with this particular employer, in line with your overall character, qualifications and skills.
Sounding over-ambitious can prove disastrous. Being too modest or humble can imply you are meek and pliable to unwarranted harassment at workplace.
Interview Question-16: What motivates or inspires you?
Money is the greatest motivator of all. That is the main reason you are on a job search. We all want to be immensely rich. You can talk about pursuing your dreams to achieve a specific career objective in the chosen profession.
Additionally, you can also speak about how some role model inspires and motivates you to perform better at work and in life. Such a role model can be anyone, from a legendary inventor, famous business personality or even your past or current boss.
There is no harm in speaking about what lights that fire within you as long as it relates with the job you are seeking.
Interview Question & answers for freshers on Future plans & goals
An employer will pay you salary for working. However, every employer incurs hidden expenses in hiring new employees.
These costs are incurred on training and grooming a new employee to fit into the company’s corporate culture while meeting its specific needs.
Hence, they have every right to know whether such investment upon you will pay rich dividends or will be lost. You can expect some questions over your future plans and goals from an interviewer.
Some such common interview questions and answers for freshers are:
Interview Question-17: What are your expectations from this job/ company?
Be realistic while answering this common question. For obvious reasons, you cannot tell interviewers about some high expectations, if your prospective employer is a small or medium sized company.
It will be evident that you are lying. Doing some research on this prospective employer will help you assess how much career growth can be expected within a reasonable period.
Realistic response will also indicate you are willing to go that extra mile to fulfil your ambitions with this employer. At the same time, it signifies that you are not willing to settle for anything less than the best in your career.
Interview Question-18: What role do you see for yourself in this job/company?
This is a very positive question. Hence, it merits a great, positive response from you. Feel at ease to describe your short and medium term goals with this employer.
Talk about your skills and how you intend to use them at work, acquire more knowledge and indulge in a healthy competition for higher positions.
Also speak about the various roles you can play at different levels in the company. Preferably, speak of timelines within which you can play these roles by enhancing your skills and adding value to the company’s business.
Interview Questions on Work environment
Regardless of their size and areas of business, all companies differ in their work ethics and corporate culture. The size and nature of business defines work environment.
For example, a small company with vast business can have a frenetic work environment. Or, a large corporation with limited and exclusive clientele can have a relaxed atmosphere.
Nevertheless, interviewers will want to know how adept you are at various issues like troubleshooting. Common interview questions related to work environment can be somewhat of this nature:
Interview Question-19: How well can you work under pressure?
Very well, is the only answer you can offer, during the interview. We recommend this positive answer since all of us face pressure in daily life.
Pressures are inescapable and inherent feature of our frail human life. For a fresher, work pressure will impart some vital training to build a career.
Professionals have nothing to fear from work pressures since have been there already. Remember, every job involves some pressure. On some days, work load tends to be heavier than the others.
Hence, it is best to reply that you adapt very well to work pressure, Indeed, millions of people around the world love work pressure since it leaves them with a sense of fulfilment at the end of the day.
Interview Question-20: Can you work late nights and weekends?
Why not? Companies are generally compassionate towards employees while giving them extra work that stretches late into the night or involves working on weekend holidays.
Managers usually tend to allot such work to people who have fewer or no family obligations to fulfil. Generally, all companies will pay you extra wages for working beyond regular hours and for sacrificing your weekend leave.
Additionally, it will also earn you brownie points vital for increment and promotion. Moreover, such work provides you with ample opportunities to fine-tune and test your skills without much supervision or interference from others.
We recommend you accept the challenge of working late nights and on weekends.
Interview Question-21: Can you travel at short notice?
Sure you can. It does not mean you keep a bag packed round the year. Traveling at short notice is enjoyable. It adds to your experience and enables you to test skills at newer locations.
Such travel also helps you build a great network of contacts and professionals in various places across the country or even abroad. As we mention earlier, you also earn brownie points for increments and promotion.
Interview Question & answers for freshers on Remuneration
Broadly speaking, the talk about remuneration or salary and perks you expect from the applied job, usually herald the end of an interview.
In most cases questions about the expected pay package indicates you are selected for the job. However, your interviewers will ask you some common questions about the anticipated compensation.
Interview Question-22: What are your salary expectations?
This question is fine for professionals and experienced applicants. You would have a broad idea about how much any peer with similar qualifications and experience would earn.
Hence, you can give a fairly accurate answer. Something you should assiduously avoid is stating that you expect salaries ‘in line with market or industry standards’.
With this kind of a response, you can end up selling your services cheap. Additionally, it also leaves a poor impression among interviewers.
Worse, it means you have no confidence in your skills and are willing to bargain. Unfortunately, this question puts a fresher at disadvantage.
In their eagerness to bag the job, a fresher can end up working for salaries much lower than the industry standards. Should you be a fresher, do some research into prevailing pay scales in the employment market for your industry.
Interview Question-23: We can offer you only this much salary. Are you willing to work?
Answering this interview question requires precise judgment on part of the experienced applicant and fresher. If you are experienced yet jobless, the amount your interviewer mentions could be your sole lifeline.
If you are employed, you retain the liberty to bargain. In any case, accept or decline the salary offered based solely upon your financial needs.
Taking a smaller package in hurry can over prove counterproductive to your professional career. Future employers may want to know why you settled for less.
Again, a fresher will be confronted with two choices- take the job or continue searching. This question is among the most trickiest to answer for any jobseeker.
We recommend you perform an in-depth analysis of your expenses, spending and other financial needs before accepting or rejecting an offer or even negotiating salary.
Other common questions and answers for fresher
Most interviewers also offer an opportunity to jobseekers to ask questions. They reverse their role to determine whether an applicant is serious about employment with the company or just searching for more pay.
Typical interview questions of such nature are:
Interview Question-24: What would you like to know about this company?
Thanks to the Internet, you may know the entire background, business and financials of the company.
However, it is best to ask the interviewer a few questions such as their anticipated growth over coming years, unclassified business plans and your future prospects, should you find employment there.
You can also ask about the number of staff and the size of the team you would work with.
Interview Question-25: Is there anything you would like to ask me?
Seize this opportunity to enquire about profile of the job you are seeking and prospects for promotion. You can also ask about departments or areas for which your skills are best suited.
Enquiring about the company’s current situation and position in the market is also recommended. We also suggest you ask about the employer’s closest competitors and what steps are being taken to meet these challenges.
Importance of preparation
As we have seen, it is vital to be well prepared for an interview to avoid stumbling over any question. Preparing well will also prevent you from any undue stress, anxiety and worry related to job search and interviews.
Of course, you can be asked a question that is “straight from the blue’ or unexpected. Your demeanor when asked such unexpected questions helps interviewers assess your abilities to deal with sudden problems.
Overcoming job search related stress and anxiety before an interview to avoid last minute panic is fairly simple. Remember, it is only a brief, passing phase of your career.
One of the topmost motivational speakers and author from the US, Dr. Stephen R. Covey said: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.”
In these few words, Dr. Covey not only summarizes human nature, he also points out the key to success in various spheres of our life.
You can apply Dr. Covey’s axiom to every interview: Comprehend the question and what the interviewer is saying before rushing to reply.
Do not be among the “most people” he implies, by attending an interview with an intention to reply. Instead, listen attentively and give smart answers.
The employer’s side
While you are seeking suitable employers, a large number of companies are hunting for people with your skills or fresher applicants.
Nowadays, all companies are exerting extra efforts to ensure they retain staff. Despite, staff attrition rates in India remain fairly high- at around 13.5 percent across all sectors of the Indian industry during the financial year 2017-2018, a study by KPMG, one of the Big Four audit, advisory and tax consultancies of the world, reveals.
India’s e-commerce industry accounts for the highest voluntary staff attrition rates- at 20.4 percent while the energy sector has the lowest, with only 8.1 percent staff leaving their employment voluntarily.
Among key findings of the study are: About 28.1 percent Indians resign from their employers voluntarily for better pay while 23.4 percent employees leave for better careers.
About 19.6 percent employees leave their jobs on personal grounds including marriage, relocation, health and children, among others. The KPMG study is worth reading, regardless whether you are an employer or jobseeker.