Top 10 General Interview Questions and Answers

Did you land that interview call you had been looking forward to? You'll be happy to know that you belong to the top 2% of candidates who applied for the job! As Robert Meier, President, Job Market Experts, reveals, "98% of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening, and only the top 2%" of candidates make it to the interview". 

So, now that you have bagged that coveted interview, how do you nail it? Before you start with the prep work, you need to understand what questions to expect during the interview. Being prepared with your responses well in advance can give you a leg up in the process. 

Here are the top 10 general interview questions that candidates get asked regardless of the industry. We also discuss the best responses.

1. Tell Me About Yourself

Your response to this straightforward question could reveal a lot. While introducing yourself, highlight the aspects, like being a member of the school soccer team, that indicate valuable qualities like discipline, resilience, and teamwork in you. So, think this through, and present your education, interests, and experience in such a way that brings out your merits. However, be mindful of not going overboard with the details. 

The next under general interview questions is as follows.

Stand Out From Your Peers this Appraisal Season

Start Learning With Our FREE CoursesEnroll Now
Stand Out From Your Peers this Appraisal Season

2. What Are Your Strength and Weakness?

The interviewer wants to see your self-awareness level through your response to this one. Whether you understand where your strengths lie, if you can isolate the weaknesses and turn them in your favor. You can talk about your flexibility, team spirit, attention to detail, etc., as your positive attributes. But please stride the thin line between confidence and arrogance carefully.

Talking about your weaknesses, present a trait that can be considered positive with a change in perspective. Let's say your tendency to pay attention to the minutest details leaves you with time management issues. So how do you correct that, the interviewer may ask. An ideal response will be that you try to balance your meticulousness as per the time assigned for the project in hand.  

The next under general interview questions is as follows.

3. Why Do You Want This Job?

The question can be rephrased in so many different ways, but the underlying query is what you know about the company and the job. This is the opportunity for you to show how interested you are in the company and how knowledgeable you are about the position. Don't bungle with the company facts; talk about the aspects of the job that have you most excited and also how you think you can add value to the role. 

The next under general interview questions is as follows.

4. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

In case you were handed the pink slip by your previous company, the best way to answer the question is to be honest, and own up. Don't forget to add your learnings from the situation and how you have worked on the problem areas. 

In the scenario where you left your job voluntarily, you can say that you wanted to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Add to this how you envisage that the open position offers precisely the kind of challenges that excite you. You can also say how you had been waiting for a chance to work for the company you are interviewing at. 

Take care not to speak ill of your former employer, colleagues, or the job. Your attempt should be to make the answer as positive as you can. 

The next under general interview questions is as follows.

5. What Is Your Greatest Accomplishment at Work? or Describe a Difficult Work Situation and How You Handle It?

The best way to answer this question is by selecting an achievement that showcases your efforts in alignment with the company values, or that fits with the open position. Back your answer up with solid figures. Say your initiative helped your previous company cut down significant promotional costs. Name the cost for maximum impact.

Asking about a difficult situation at work, the interviewer wants to know how you face a challenge. Let's say you had to deal with an aggrieved client on the brink of abandoning a project; explain how you pacified and retained the client to finally complete the deal. Your response will successfully display your spontaneity in problem-solving.

The next under general interview questions is as follows.

6. How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure?

Realize that every job has a varying degree of pressure element associated with it. Please do not boast that you never feel the stress. This is not what the interviewer wants to hear from you. Explain how you have found yourself to be highly motivated to give your best when working under pressure. Speak about your habit of planning a schedule that helps you stay ahead in your project, thus showcasing your positive approach to convert stress into action.

The next under general interview questions is as follows.

7. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years? or, What Are Your Future Goals?

This is where the interviewer wants to understand your career objectives, how well you have mapped your ambitions to your career. Your response will also indicate if you are a free-floater or in for the long run. Please do not state unrealistic career goals like wanting to be the CEO of the company in 5 years. The best way you can answer this question is to break up the 5-year time frame into parts wherein you first master the job and skill up, and then proceed to be in a team-handling position where you can utilize the knowledge and skills that you acquired in the initial years. 

Your response to either general interview question should reflect your perception of how the open position can help you achieve your career goals.

The next under general interview questions is as follows.

8. What Can You Do For Us That Other Candidates Can't?

In other words, why should you be hired? Do not fall into the trap of comparing yourself with other candidates. Talk about your strengths, highlight any special skills or certification that you have acquired that can assist you in performing your role, any prior industry experience, etc., Explain, what you bring to the table that can benefit the team/ company, how your key skills match with those required by the job. Sell yourself, your qualities, and your enthusiasm.  

The next under general interview questions is as follows.

Add Another Star to Your Performance Evaluation

Learn from industry experts for FREEStart Learning
Add Another Star to Your Performance Evaluation

9. What Salary Are You Seeking? or, What Are Your Salary Expectations?

This question is to assess if your salary expectations fit with the company's budget. To be able to respond appropriately to this question, you need to run a search on industry standards of compensation for similar roles. Stating a figure that is either higher or lower than the standard reveals your lack of knowledge. So be careful of what you ask for.

Alternately, you could also ask the employer the package range they have in mind for the position or someone with your background. You can frame your expectation around the interviewer's answer.  

10. Do You Have Any Questions for Me?

At the last leg of the interview, this is your chance to get all your relevant queries answered and prove yet again your seriousness about working with the company. Ask questions regarding the job role and performance parameters, the company culture, professional advancement opportunities offered by the company. The answer to these questions will give you clarity regarding the growth prospects of the role, and you can decide whether you would like to go ahead with the opportunity or not.  

With these top 10 interview questions and the guidelines to frame the best answer, you can prepare and practice for the final day and give the interview your best shot. What also helps you shine in a job interview is having the relevant skills and certifications appropriate for the desired role. Being equipped with an industry-recognized certification such as the ones from Simplilearn can often help you stand apart in the crowd. Take advantage of free courses offered by Simplilearn's Skillup and boost your success rate at job interviews. You can also deepen your knowledge and gain more expertise on a subject with the help of Simplilearn's advanced certifications. 

About the Author

SimplilearnSimplilearn

Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.