The 33 Most Common Interview Questions [And How to Confidently Answer Them]
Common interview questions are a big key to landing your dream job when you can deliver answers the hiring managers want to hear. While they can’t change your education, skills, or experience, they can help you make a good enough impression to get the job. Carefully analysis, and study of the 31 most common interview questions and answers illustrated below can make you sound like a seasoned professional who is about to begin their dream job next week.
In Singapore interviewers can ask any question they desire as long as it doesn’t violate the Tripartite Standards. These important guidelines were devised by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to prevent discrimination in recruitment and other workplace activities. In general, interview questions typically fall into three broad categories regarding your:
- Position-related Fitness
Regardless of subject matter, you need to answer each question intelligently with poise, and a pleasant yet professional demeanor. Employers have seen enough of your statistics and background online or on paper, they need to see how you perform in terms of critical thinking, problem solving, and other important tasks. They also look forward to learning what kind of personality you have and how that can blend with the workplace team.
Common Interview Questions to Expect About Your Personality
Questions about your personality and personal characteristics are among the most common raised in hiring situations. Prospective employers want to know what type of person they could be working alongside every day. The following are some routine interview questions regarding personality and how to best answer them to showcase the best of you.
1. Can You Please Tell Me About Yourself?
While this seems to be a rather harmless question on the surface, much of your prospective supervisor’s impression of you hinges on its answer. Don’t merely run through your biography from birth. Instead, launch into two or three experiences or accomplishments that have helped shape you into the ideal candidate for this role. If possible, deliver these highlights beginning with the past, progressing to the present, and finishing with the future. This ends the reply on an optimistic note.
2. What Are Your Top Workplace Strengths?
You’ve most likely heard the slogan, “What’s your superpower?” Since your potential boss wants to hire the best employee, you need to amaze them with some kind of superhero-like strengths. Don’t feed them a pack of lies. Share strengths that are real and most relevant to this job. Describe how this strength was helpful during a real-life experience you can share from a previous position. Beyond describing it, your main task is to ensure they understand how indispensable your superpower is to their organisation.
3. What Are Your Weaknesses?
While employers are searching for the top candidate, they realize they’ll eventually need to settle for a mere mortal. So, they expect some flaws. That said, now is not the time to share your fatal last warning or to fake being perfect. Hiring personnel are measuring your self-awareness and ability to be honest. As a result, you need to share an area of struggle and how you’ve been actively working to correct it. Be sure to include a short comparison describing you before and after your own self-designed transformative programme.
4. What Kind of Workplace Environment Do You Prefer?
Of course, the answer is a workplace environment nearly identical to the one in which you are interviewing. To research this area, consult company social media, talk to current employees, or arrive early to observe employees interacting. After all, there is nothing like spending actual time in the environment to determine what it is like. While you should strive to portray a very similar environment to the one at your prospective company, you may wish to vary a few minor details to make your reply more realistic.
5. Can You Describe Your Management Style?
High quality managers seamlessly weave strength and flexibility to successfully lead each individual employee. Therefore, your answer needs to show that you are able to give everyone on your team clear direction and let them go their own way until they ask or demonstrate that they need your guidance or assistance. Providing a strong example of your managerial prowess will help the hiring manager see you as a successful workplace leader.
6. How Would a Current Coworker or Supervisor Describe You?
Think about positive reviews or praise you’ve received from fellow workers or superiors. Distill these into a few coveted traits and pretend you’re telling them about a valued colleague. If you struggle to find the right words to describe yourself, refer to previous performance reviews. It’s likely that your current boss has written at least a few words of praise in your quarterly or annual review. Most people find it much easier to give someone else a glowing review, so adding someone else’s words to your statement will make it sound sincerer.
7. Can You Tell Me How You Cope with Stress-inducing Events?
We live in a pressure cooker world so this is one of the most common interview questions. Demonstrating that you can calmly handle challenging situations will make you a worthy worker for your target organisation. Prospective bosses are especially keen to know your most proven stress management strategies. Share them and show you have proven tools to prosper despite pressure.
8. What Activities Do You Participate in Beyond Work?
This question is another example that your potential supervisor wants to get to know you. Having a hobby or two in common with other workers will quickly make you a part of the workplace community. Just be careful with what you choose to reveal. Sharing that you enjoy dancing at city centre night clubs is acceptable. Telling your prospective boss that you post stories of funny drunken persons on STOMP is not. If this is you, then it’s time to stop being a “citizen journalist” and focus on your day job.
9. What Animal (or Other Non-human Entity) Would You Like To Be?
At first glance, this question may seem random or a way to add some colour to a long day of interviewing. While your answer may be rather entertaining, the interviewer is really assessing how you handle the unexpected. Don’t hesitate to stall by asking questions such as, “can the animal be an imaginary one or does it need to be real?” The most important thing about your answer isn’t its content. It’s delivery. You must appear calm and collected at all times.
10. How Many Football Players Have Been Part of The S. League Since it Started in 1996?
This is simply another demonstration question. This time around, the questioner wants to watch you problem solve. A correct answer is not at all important. They want to see you exercise systematic and rational thinking skills when faced with an unusual task.
11. Do You Plan to Have Children?
Be advised that such a question violates the fair and progressive workplace that the MOM describes in the Tripartite Standards (links above). If faced with such a challenging question, state that you would rather not answer it because you don’t want to increase the company’s chances of facing non-compliance penalties from the MOM. After the interview is over, continue your search. You deserve to work in an equitable workplace.
Top Interview Questions Regarding Your Past
Questions about your past have the potential to help you into or haunt you out of a position. Everyone makes mistakes. Well-designed answers can highlight your capacity for self-reflection, learning, and moving forward.
12. Of Which Professional Accomplishment Are You Most Proud?
If you’re not so good at self-praise, it’s time for a change. Reflect on your past achievements and be proud. Select a situation in which you gained measurable results for your company. Whether you increased revenue, streamlined operating procedures, or boosted morale in your unit, focus on how your efforts led enhanced your workplace environment.
13. Would You Please Share One Instance When You Coped With Challenge or Conflict at Work?
This question is fairly similar to sharing your greatest achievement. The difference lies in the beginning of the situation. An achievement may happen during prosperous times. Challenge or conflict represent pressures and precarious happenings. Sometimes, minimising loss is the best possible outcome. Your potential boss will appreciate your honesty, perspective, and how you worked for the best possible outcome for the company.
14. What Prompted You to Move On From Your Current Position?
This can be a very challenging question to answer. Even if you hate your current position, never say anything negative about your current workplace. Instead, focus on the future and always remain positive. If possible, describe how your interests have taken shape in your current position, yet you yearn to expand and further develop your repertoire of professional skills. End with some of the opportunities you look forward to having in this new position.
15. Why Were You Fired From a Previous Position?
Since background checks are so stringent and networking so widespread, do not ever try to cover over or hide getting let go. If you were fired for poor performance, misconduct, or some other negative reason, you need to focus on the lessons you learned from the experience and how you’ve become a better person. Your goal is to persuade them how your strengthened character can benefit their organisation.
16. Can You Describe an Instance in Which You Were the Leader?
While your current role may include mentorship or supervision, your interviewer wants to hear about a particular incident. Chose a compelling situation and describe it in detail. Be sure to paint a complete picture so that they can feel your sweat mingled with the sweet tears of victory as you led your team to the kind of success they’ll want to see in their company. Take them there and give them good reason to bring you aboard.
17. When Did You Disagree With the Way a Matter Was Being Handled in the Workplace?
Everyone has at least one example of a matter they believe was handled improperly. More than the specific matter, your potential supervisor is searching for how you can constructively handle such situations. Don’t dwell on when you acted against your leanings without question or when you later admitted to the boss you were wrong. Present a situation in which your actions positively impacted the situation or your professional relationships.
18. Will You Explain Your Period of Unemployment?
While this can be a very intimidating question, you can prepare to answer it with confidence. So, how? Be honest and brief. Focus on the good volunteer work or study you’ve done during the lull. Do everything you can to show your industriousness, resourcefulness, and commitment to self-improvement.
19. Why Did You Change Careers?
As long as you have a rational explanation for your career change, you’ll be fine. Spend your time focusing on any transferable skills, dispositions, and attitudes that make you an asset to your prospective company. Providing such a mature and carefully thought out reply will impress the hiring manager with your innovative and informed perspective.
How Interviewers Determine Your Fitness for the Position
Interviewers have many tools to determine how good of a fit you are for their position. Passion is the primary characteristic they seek. Those who are truly passionate about their work are usually much more willing to work hard to improve their fitness.
20. Can You Tell Me How You Heard About This Position?
While companies do compile statistics, this question is more than one for the books. Your potential boss wants to gauge your personal connections to the company, professional information resources such as journals or events, and job seeking avenues such as job boards or networking sites such as LinkedIn.
21. What Do You Understand of Our Corporate Mission?
Anyone can read and restate a mission statement in their own words. Hiring managers are more interested in the passion you have regarding the company’s aims and how much you are willing to invest yourself to manifest its mission. Recount at least one instance in which you acted in line with the organisation’s ideals. Demonstrate your ongoing commitment to a similar mission and you’re more likely to secure a position to uphold their mission.
22. Why Would You Like This Position?
As is the case with the corporate mission, answering this question is really more about communicating passion for the position. The best way to do this is to describe a few personal characteristics that make you ideal for this job followed by what you love most about the company. Then, connect these to your planned career path. Be enthusiastic as you emphasize how your employment can be of great mutual benefit.
23. Can You Tell Us Why We Should Hire You For This Job?
This question sums up the entire purpose of the interview: to determine if you’re the best person for the job. Therefore, it’s the perfect opportunity to directly tell them that you are capable of doing great work, harmonising with the team, and outperforming any of the other prospective hires.
24. What Kind of Five-year Professional Plan do You Have?
Interviewers want to know that you are goal directed and motivated. If you don’t already have them, create between one and three specific goals for the next five years. Be sure they are plausible and that they reflect your aspirations. If you need help with this, conduct an internet search or retain the services of a career coach.
25. Would You Please Describe Your Ideal Job?
Since your ideal position is one which advances your goals and fulfills your professional plan, your dream job should be identical or at least extremely similar to your prospective position. Carefully consider your skills, interests, and values. Then, align them with those needed for this position. Face it. This is your ideal job and you’re simply the most suitable candidate for it.
26. What Other Companies are Interviewing You?
The hiring manager asks this to determine how serious you are about their field and if there is much competition for you. If you’re lucky enough to have interviews within the same industry, name the other companies but be careful to tie in your trademark skill or goal and to state that you’re the most interested in this position. If you are interviewing across industries, there’s no need to give company names. Simply state that you’re considering a range of options but they all focus around your signature goal or skill. If this is your only interview, reveal that you’ve applied to a number of positions but this one can give you the opportunities you need to further develop your strengths and meet your goals.
27. What Would You Like From a New Job?
Simply stated, you want the position offered to contain what you want in your next job. Showcase your skills, motivation, and aspirations. Connect all three to the interviewer’s company with candor and consideration for the interviewer’s perspective.
28. Can You Describe What Will Happen During Your First 30, 60, or 90 Days in This Position?
Create a hopeful vision and realistic plan for your first few months in this role. Begin with gathering resources. Describe what people, knowledge, and materials you’ll need to create a solid professional foundation. Then, paint a picture of how your first few projects will improve the workplace environment, process, or materials.
29. What Salary Do You Require?
To give an appropriate answer to this question, you’ll need to do some research. Consult PayScale, Google, and the company website to search for salary ranges for someone in your prospective position with similar education, skills, and experience. Select figures nearer the upper end of that range but make it clear that you are open to negotiation. If you offer to work for a lower salary, you risk appearing unprepared and inexperienced. Requesting a higher salary than the company will probably offer is not likely to trigger such negative associations.
30. Can You Describe An Area in Which Our Company Could Improve?
While startups and newer companies tend to ask this question frequently, hiring managers from all kinds of organisations appreciate fresh perspectives. Be prepared to share your ideas along with some practical advice to put them into action. Carve a niche for yourself as you create a trajectory in which your skills and perspective are needed.
31. What Do You See as the Greatest Challenges of this Position?
Here the recruiter is asking the question to discover how you think and respond to a probing question to discover your suitability for the role. This is a good way to point the interviewer to your particular skill set and how you overcome challenges.
32. What Questions Do You Have for Us?
Asking your interviewer a few carefully selected questions is more than a way to learn about the company. Normal conversation throughout an interview usually provides answers to basic questions about a company. Ask questions that show you’re genuinely interested in the staff and workplace. Professional history or goals questions directed to the interviewer as well as questions regarding the company’s future plans are particularly effective at demonstrating such passion. Other beneficial questions to ask include:
- What are persons who were previously in this position doing now?
- Can you describe some of the projects I’d be working on, if selected for this position?
- What are some of the greatest challenges of this position?
- Will you please explain how evaluations are made here?
- What are some of the continuing education and professional development opportunities you provide employees?
33. When Can You Start?
Do you have to relocate to Singapore or do you have to give notice to your current employer? Be realistic with your time frame.
As you consider these important interview questions, take some time to write or at least outline your replies. To avoid sounding scripted or stilted, practise delivering your answers with a friend, coworker, or coach. Such persons can also provide useful critiques regarding your voice, posture, speech, and general manner. Revising these interview questions will also increase your comfort with answering questions, resulting in an easier, more relaxed interview.
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The 33 Most Common Interview Questions [And How to Confidently Answer Them]