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7 Common Job Interview Questions You Must Prepare For

Here are some of the most frequently asked interview questions and tips on how to answer them.

So, you finally got an interview letter from your dream company — they arranged a chat next week to learn more about you and how you can contribute to the company. All you need to do is be yourself and answer the questions posed to you as honestly as you can, right?

Alas, that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Nailing a job interview takes more than just some sincere and honest answers about how suitable you are for the role, and why you should be given the position. This means lots of preparation is needed so that you can land your dream job.

Why is job interview preparation important?

Preparation for the first interview is important because an interview is a perfect time to set an excellent first impression on your potential employers among other qualified candidates. It’s the most impactful part of the hiring process.

It showcases who you are as an individual and gives the interviewers some insight into how you can contribute to the company. Moreover, it gives the interviewers a brief indication about whether or not you’ll be able to fit in with their team and company values.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed and find yourself at a loss for words at job interviews, whether it is your first or your 10th. You are not alone.

Thankfully, practice makes perfect. Coming up with sample answers for common interview questions can make a world of difference! However, it is important that you do enough research and thinking to ensure that you do not use one-size-fits-all model answers that the interviewers have heard before.

In this article, we have compiled a list of the common interview questions in Singapore identified by HR experts for you to prepare for ahead of your next job interview. These are not model sample answers you can find anywhere on the internet because we’ll help you add your own spin.

We show you how to prep for an interview with tips and tricks from our experts. Learn to craft the best answers, with a touch of personality and professionalism, to make you stand out from the rest of the qualified candidates for all the right reasons.

However, be sure to do your own research about the company and what the job demands. This way, you can feel more prepared for the interview and impress the hiring manager.

Find out how WSG’s Career Matching Services can help you in your career journey.

1. “Tell me about yourself.”

This may seem like an innocuous question. However, these types of interview questions are a good chance for you to show your interviewer that you are the perfect fit for the job. Typically, this is one of the first questions every interviewer will ask.

What to say?

Tell your interviewer more about your academic history, employment information, including what you do in your current company, and interests.

For instance, if you are applying for a job in the fashion industry, give a background about how you first found your passion for fashion, and any work experience that is related to this industry.

Talk about your involvement in the industry and mention how familiar you are with the industrial lingo and jargon. This way, your interviewers will get a sense of how informed you are about the industry.

Do not limit yourself to just talking about your work experience and qualifications — your interviewer can easily find all that information from your Curriculum Vitae (CV). Instead, try to include examples of what you enjoy doing outside of work, but make sure these examples are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Suppose you are applying for a job in the technology industry. It may be helpful for you to talk about how you enjoy keeping up-to-date with the latest tech gadgets, and the various programming projects you take part in during your free time.

You can also cite the latest news you read on tech blogs and your comments and opinions about them. Try to get involved in the latest happenings to exhibit your proactiveness and interest in the field.

We cover sample answers to “Tell Me About Yourself” in this article.

What not to say?

Be careful not to waffle and, instead, align your answer to the position you are applying for as many as possible.

Also, avoid disclosing personal and private information that is irrelevant to the company and the role you are applying for.

Refrain from regaling your interviewer with tales of your primary school experience or your hometown, as these accounts do not add value to your resume. It might even bore the interviewer!

2. “What are your strengths/weaknesses?”

This is where research about the company and the job description comes in.  You also want to think about your previous roles, a challenging situation or two you faced and the soft skills you have, for instance.

What to say?

Begin by understanding the type of characteristics that would best suit the position you are applying for and pick two or three that relate to you.

If you are applying for a job as a business analyst, be sure to let your interviewer know that you can bring to the table critical thinking skills and problem-solving capability while being detail-oriented. Good communication skills will be important too.

Use evidence from past experiences to back up your strengths. Share how your skills as a team player helped you lead a team to victory and success in the past, or how you overcame a difficult situation with your skillsets.

When talking about your weaknesses, be as honest as possible and demonstrate self-awareness and a desire to improve yourself. Here’s how to positively answer common job interview questions about your weaknesses.

What not to say?

Make sure that you do not over-sell your strengths. It could come off as overconfident and boastful.

Bear in mind that your weakness should not be something that is critical to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job as a project manager, “multitasking” should not be one of your weaknesses.

Avoid coming off as desperate and over-apologetic, as it might make you look unprofessional and difficult to work with.

3. “What attracted you to our company?”

There aren’t any wrong answers to this common question, but you want to make it a compelling one. So, being near home or on your bus route won’t make the cut.

What to say?

Do your research about the company, focusing on things such as its working culture and its internal offerings like training programmes, opportunities for rotation, etc.

You can then show your interviewer how well-prepared you are by demonstrating knowledge about the company, and how its corporate values and interests align with yours.

For example, if the company has a reputation for technological innovation, you can talk about how you have been keeping up with news about its various projects. You can also dive into how you would like to work at a company that allows you to be at the forefront of technology, by creating industry-leading solutions.

While you do not have to come up with a very specific career path, it would be helpful for you to set realistic goals to show your interviewer that you are driven, ambitious and interested in a long-term career in this company.

What not to say?

We understand you may have salary expectations, but sharing that you know the company will pay candidates higher may not go down well with the hiring manager.

You want to position yourself as someone who is willing to learn and contribute, and not simply after good compensation.

4. “What are your goals for the next five years?”

The ideal candidate knows what he or she wants and can set realistic expectations to achieve goals.

What to say?

While you do not have to come up with a very specific career path, it would be helpful for you to set realistic SMART goals to show your interviewer that you are driven, ambitious, and interested in a long-term career in this company.

This would be beneficial to your long-term career plans, as well.

For instance, you could say that you hope to gain more expertise in your industry, and perhaps take on more managerial responsibilities within the next five years if you are a fresh graduate. This would illustrate your humility and willingness to learn.

In addition, it gives your employers an indication of how long you will be willing to commit to them.

These sample answers to where do you see yourself in five years can inspire you.

What not to say?

Outlining your goals according to salary requirements does not convince the hiring manager that you’re fit for the role. You will be compensated more as you gain experience, so avoid topics on salaries.

You may, however, briefly indicate that you look forward to a higher salary range while you meet your goals.

5. “What business challenge have you faced and how did you overcome it?”

A favourite interview question, interviewers are basically looking at how well you can solve problems relevant to the company.

What to say?

Pick a business challenge that you were able to overcome using a skill that best relates to the job you are applying for.

If you had managed to improve the workflow in your previous company to increase productivity, explain to your interviewer the approach you took, including your thought process and actions. Try to incorporate as many problem-solving skills as possible.

Even if you were not able to fully resolve the issue, tell your employers what valuable lessons the experience has taught you.

Also, give the interviewers some insight into how you took those lessons and applied them to other circumstances. In doing so, you showcase your sincerity, adaptability, and also willingness to learn from hardship.

Employers love candidates who have a Never-Say-Die attitude — so be sure to exhibit those traits!

What not to say?

Avoid claiming you never had a business challenge, to begin with. Even if the situation you faced was small, tweak it to show the competencies necessary for the role.

6. “What can you contribute to the job and our company?”

Some may find this humble brag, but it really is your final pitch to the interviewers. Be smart about it!

What to say?

Examples of previous accomplishments would be a great way to demonstrate what you could possibly achieve in this job, and add value to this company in the future. Try to align your contributions with the demands and expectations of the job description.

Statistics may come in handy here. For instance, you could let your interviewer know that you were able to increase your company’s sales by 50%, even in the midst of the Singapore recession in 2009.

Employees who are over 40 have a wealth of experience that is not just confined to paper qualifications. Highlight some traits like leadership skills that will make you an asset to the company.

What not to say?

Do not brag about your achievements, as this might come off as arrogant and egotistical. While there is nothing wrong with mentioning how you have helped the company, tread carefully and ensure that you do not blow your own trumpet too much.

Nobody likes working with a conceited fellow. Thus, be sure that you do not let your head swell in this aspect.

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7. “Do you have any questions?”

Interviews are not just a one-way street; you are there to learn more about the company as much as the interviewer is there to find out more about you!

What to say?

Take advantage of this opportunity to ask your interviewer thoughtful questions, such as how this position has evolved (if it is not a new position) or how the company defines success. Also, find out more about career progression, company culture, work-life balance as well as salary.

What not to say?

Having no questions at all might be a bad sign as it implies that you are not interested to learn more about the company. Be sure to ask intelligent questions that can help you obtain a better understanding of the corporation and business culture.

While there are no one-size-fits-all answers that can help you ace every interview, preparation and research will always come in handy. At the end of the day, being the truest version of yourself with professionalism and grace is the way to go in any job application process.

Make sure you wear the best traits on your sleeve but also be friendly, humble, and engaging. The next step of interview preparation is choosing the most professional attire that makes you look and feel confident.

Good luck!

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