1. Why did you leave the last position?
  2. I am concerned that you do not have sufficient experience required for this role.
  3. How would you compensate for it?
  4. Tell me something that you regret doing and are now a little ashamed of it.
  5. Aren’t you over qualified for the role?
  6. You seem to have been out of work for long.
  7. How do you feel about reporting to a younger person?
  8. Would you lie for the company?
  9. Looking back at your life, what would you do differently?
  10. Why aren’t you earning more at this stage of your career?
  11. What do you see as the proper role or mission of XYZ role, a good manager, an executive, a leading company in the industry?
  12. What would you say to your boss if he’s crazy about an idea, but you think it is not really up to the mark?
  13. Do you think you could have improved your career progress?
  14. What would you do if an executive of your same level wasn’t pulling his/her weight, which in return was hurting the department?
  15. You have been with your firm for a very long time now, wouldn’t it be hard to switch to a new company now?
  16. Where could you use some improvement?
  17. What is the most difficult part of XYZ position?
  18. What do you think was the toughest part of your last position?
  19. What makes you a worthy candidate for this position?
  20. Looking back on your last position have you done your best?
  21. Tell me something negative that you have heard about our company.
  22. Rate me as an interviewer.
  23. You seem to be drawing a good salary. Will you be alright with a salary cut?
  24. Did you ever have a problem with a peer in your last organization?
  25. What do you do to improve your knowledge?
  26. Why do you think communication plays a pivotal role in your job profile?
  27. If you were hiring for this position what would be the qualities that you would be looking at?
  28. Have you ever committed a mistake in your last job?
  29. Discuss the most stressful situation you came across in your last organization.
  30. Can you work independently without supervision?
  31. What is more important to you, money or success?
  32. What kind of projects interest you?
  33. How good are you at sticking to your deadlines?
  34. Are you willing to work long hours if the project demands?
  35. Do you have plans to opt for further studies?
  36. What will you do if you don’t bag this job?
  37. What do you think is the best part of working in a team?
  38. What is the worst part of working in a team?
  39. Describe ‘work ethics’ and how would you define yours?
  40. Have you ever been assigned a project without any assistance?
  41. If you could have done anything differently during your college career, what would it have been?
  42. How do you handle constructive criticism?
  43. Describe yourself in one word.
  44. What was the organization structure like in the previous organization?
  45. How is your absentee record?
  46. What makes you feel demotivated?
  47. If you are allowed to change one thing in your last organization. What would it be?
  48. How good are at maintaining time punctuality?
  49. According to you what is the vision of our company?
  50. If you are hired, do you think you will be able to work in cross-functional teams?
  51. While handling multiple projects, how do you keep yourself organized and on track?
  52. What kind of work environment do you like the best?
  53. Sell me this pen.
  54. What really drives results in this job?
  55. What is the biggest accomplishment you have achieved in you previous organization?
  56. Can you predict the changes in the next 3 years your current category of job will witness?
  57. If you were to rank them, what are the three traits your top performers have in common?
  58. How did you learn about the job opening?
  59. Will you be comfortable travelling for work?
  60. Which book are you reading currently?
  61. Interview tips

Standing in 2020, every interviewee's pain point remains the HR round of interview in every organization.

In this blog we shall provide 60 such basic interview questions and answers and interview tips to help you crack your next big interview.

Why did you leave the last position?

The point to remember while answering: avoid bad-mouthing your previous company as it puts you in a negative light.

Instead, cite aspects like better money, more opportunities, career growth, etc. Here is how you can choose to answer the question.

“It was really fun working in XYZ because of various reasons, encouraging boss and cooperative colleagues being a few.
But I am looking for a switch as I think the position you are offering has a better growth scope and can provide me with newer challenges.”

I am concerned that you do not have sufficient experience required for this role.

This is the most frequented statement in the HR rounds. It can easily demotivate any candidate in a jiffy.

Instead of going hard on yourself, try and answer the question in this manner:

"I understand that I may not have the experience you require in terms of the number of years in service.

However, I believe that I do possess the qualities required for this post.

And I strongly believe that these qualities can help me bridge the gap caused by the number of years' experience."

And in case you forget to point out any other factor, highlight your fast grasping power and back it up with an example.

Also Read: 10 Stress Interview Questions and Answers

3. How would you compensate for it?

This is the most common follow-up question and as discussed in the above question you can state your quick grasping power and how you are a fast learner to address it. Possible answer:

"I am a fast learner and have a curious mind. I am sure my knowledge will compensate for that."

4. Tell me something that you regret doing and are now a little ashamed of it.

Although interviews are meant to be kept professional, there may come times when awkward questions are asked, such as this one, which throws you off the chair.

Do not get flustered.

Instead, take some time to recollect yourself and the best way to answer such tricky questions is to avoid giving in.

You could answer the question in the following manner:

“I can’t really recall having any regrets. I would like to add that the best way to avoid regrets is to not cause them in the very first place.

So, as a practice I take time out at the end of each day and recall the day’s events and reflect.

I look at every conversation I had with the people I work with. This helps me to get a clear perspective and avoid regrets.”

5. Aren’t you over qualified for the role?

This question can be seen as another trick question from the employer’s end.

And it is very important to sound humble yet firm. Based on your judgement, there are two ways to address this question.

“I see the job market running similar to any other marketplace, running on the laws of supply and demand.

Given the tight condition of the same, I understand the relativity of the term ‘over qualified.’

But, given the experience I have gained over the years, I think I can bring better positive changes within the team/organization as compared to someone who is yet to acquire the same level of experience.”

Or,

“I honestly believe that you can never stop learning. You might feel that I possess a lot many degrees, but honestly, I think a person grows everyday with every conversation he/she has with number of people.

I believe there is something or the other that I can always learn which not only can help me grow but also bring up better ideas for the team/organization.”

6. You seem to have been out of work for long.

This is one of the basic interview questions often asked to candidates who had taken a few months or a year’s break from work.

Make sure to answer this honestly. But remember, your answer must not sound or project you as an escapist or one who is just lazy.

Possible Answer:
“I had taken a break from work to relax and spend time with my family for a while as working non-stop for ‘x’ years has been exhausting. I must add I am feeling much refreshed post the break.”

7. How do you feel about reporting to a younger person?

Although it is a question seldom asked, an answer if not carefully and level-headedly answered can disqualify you as a candidate.

Possible answer:
"I understand your concern. However, I would like to acknowledge how much as an employee I find it worth admiring when the company recognises extraordinary talents and promotes them. And working for such an amazing company and under such talents will indeed be a great opportunity for me."

8. Would you lie for the company?

Basically a trick question to test a candidate’s choice between loyalty and integrity, the question must be answered very carefully.

Possible answer:
" I understand that every company has their own privacy policies and I will totally abide by it as long as it does not affect my personal integrity."

9. Looking back at your life, what would you do differently?

Possible Answer:
“I believe every experience is enriched in learning, helping one to grow both personally and professionally. I would not want to change a single thing about my journey till date.”

10. Why aren’t you earning more at this stage of your career?

Such a question can often throw a candidate off his/her chair. Points to note: You do not want to show that money is not important, yet defend the dip in your salary as per industry standards.

Possible Answer:
“Making money is important to me and one of the reason why I am here is because I want to make more of it. However, money is not the sole reason for which I work. Throughout my career I have enjoyed my work in companies I have liked and respected.”

Follow up with specific examples to seal your answer.

11. What do you see as the proper role or mission of a good manager in a leading company in the industry?

This is a basic interview question often asked in the HR rounds. Her's how you can answer it.

Possible answer:
" I believe that a manager is one who is looked up to by all the team members.I understand the huge responsibilty that rests on a manager's shoulders, and to handle it with ease he/she must be calm, level-headed, unbiased, polite and knowledgable. As a junior, I would like to learn the most from him/her, so going by it he/she must be a good trainer."

12. What would you say to your boss if he’s crazy about an idea, but you think it is not really up to the mark?

Once again, whenever pitted against loyalty and honesty go for integrity.

Possible answer:
“Well before anything else I would like to look at the positive aspects of the ideas and give him/her an honest opinion because that is what my boss will be looking for. Then if permitted we can discuss the changes to make the idea better than before. But in case not, then I would follow what my boss tells me to do.”

13. Do you think you could have improved your career progress?

Possible answer:
" As I have already said, I do not regret the way my career has shaped up as it has enriched my years with optimum learning opportunities. And I have truly cherished my journey till date."

14. What would you do if an executive of your same level wasn’t pulling his/her weight, which in return was hurting the department?

Try to understand the firm’s political style and fall back on it. Another option is to rely on the universal policies of human relations, communicate the problem the way you would want the same thing to be communicated to you.

Possible answer:
"Relying on my good human relations with my colleague I would try to communicate the problem and try to find his constructive assistance. However, in case I feel a resistance from the opposite side, I would rely on my persuasive nature and cite the issues affecting the team's performance and in turn the organization."

15.You have been with your firm for a very long time now, wouldn’t it be hard to switch to a new company now?

Possible answer:
“True I have been working with my previous organization for a long while now. But I have been learning throughout the journey, handling tasks more challenging than the last one. So, I don’t think there will be any difficulty in switching to a new company as I am willing to learn more.”

16. Where could you use some improvement?

Similar to all other answers, keep this one positive as well. Try to identify a branch (one which your interviewer would not require) as an area of your curiosity, which you would like to explore in the upcoming few months.

Possible answer:
"I believe in upgrading my skill as per the technological advancements. However, I would like to work on my time management skills as I scramble to balance time."

17. What is the most difficult part of XYZ position?

Discuss the most challenging aspect in your experience and follow it up with how you tackle the problem.

Possible answer:
"I don't think there is anything difficult about the position. But the most challenging aspect for me was maintaining a perfect work-life balance."

18. What do you think was the toughest part of your last position?

This is one question which is difficult to turn to something positive. The interviewer will naturally assume that whatever you found difficult might be a hurdle in the job you are interviewing for.

Possible answer:
"I did not find anything that was overly tough.Rather I actually enjoyed tackling the challenges that had come my way."

19. What makes you a worthy candidate for this position?

Possible answer:
“You naturally want to strengthen the department to the optimum, for which you want a strong candidate. I believe I fit the bill because (mention your strongest qualifications, which match up to the interviewer’s demands).”

20. Looking back on your last position have you done your best?

To strike the perfect note while answering this questions, state that you always try to do your best and that you are hitting your career strides due to several factors. Recap those factors, followed up with your strongest qualifications.

Possible answer:
"I have always tried to do my best in every task and believe that I am only getting better with every passing day."

21. Tell me something negative that you have heard about our company.

This is usually the interviewer’s way to get the gossip on what the outside world is talking about the company. Trust me you do not want to be bearer of not-so flattering news.

Possible answer:
"There is always something or the other being said about every organization in the market. Honestly, I can't recall hearing anything negative about the company."

22. Rate me as an interviewer

There are two things to consider while answering this question. First, avoid numerical to rate, as it can lead to a double sided trouble for you. Second, avoid negative answers and just praise the interviewer on his/her methodology.

Possible answer:
" I appreciate how you kept the interview thoroughly professional and how methodically you conducted it."

23. You seem to be drawing a good salary. Will you be alright with a salary cut?

Possible answer:
“I think after a certain point in your career, job satisfaction takes a front row seat than salary. However, while taking up any job I prioritize work culture and chances to contribute and grow are at par with the salary paid. Also, I believe good companies which care about its employees ensures that they are paid well.”

24. Did you ever have a problem with a peer in your last organization?

Possible answer:
"No, I never had any problem with my peers in my last organizations."

25. What do you do to improve your knowledge?

Possible answer:
" I believe it is very important to keep oneself updated as changes are taking place very fast. So, in order to keep myself abreast I try to read as much as possible on the subject and also subscribed to the online course on the same."

26. Why do you think communication plays a pivotal role in your job profile?

Possible answer:
"I understand that my profile requires me to have good communication skills, which I have developed over the years. I believe I can communicate very clearly across the teams in a thorough professional manner."

27. If you were hiring for this position what would be the qualities that you would be looking at?

Closely look at the qualities required for the position and match them with yours. Establish it with a confident body language and you should be good to go.

Possible answer:
"If I were hiring for a Senior Sub-Editor, I would be looking at her knowledge on the subject, his/her grammar sense and also how level-headedly he/she can handle multiple tasks and yet submit quality work."

28. Have you ever committed a mistake in your last job?

Although it is only human to commit mistakes, what needs to be remembered is the magnitude of it and the damage it caused the company. So, mention the mistake but keep the major focus on the measure you took to fix it.

Possible answer:
"Mistakes are an inevident part of human nature. However, none of my mistakes have ever been of the magnitude that my team or organization ever faced a severe brunt."

29. Discuss the most stressful situation you came across in your last organization.

Keeping a positive tone, discuss the stressful situation that you had faced. Do not mention of a situation which you never overcame.

Possible answer:
"Having worked in a print media organization, we have always been bound by time. A single delay in any department would automatically lead to a delay in production. Although this was initially an issue in my initial days, I have over time learnt to tackle the situation and get the work done on time."

30. Can you work independently without supervision?

You would not want to sound like a person who is not a team player. So, mention a project which was given to you only to complete with a lot of trust.

Possible answer:
"Given my previous experience in covering events, my boss had entrusted me with the responsibilty of covering my company's annual event without any supervision, since others had to be engaged in different tasks."

31. What is more important to you, money or success?

Possible answer:
"Money and success both are equally important. But for me success is more important as it will ensure money automatically."

32. What kind of projects interest you?

Good employers know that a happy employee will always do a good job.

Possible answer:
"I like projects where the whole team can work together, where everyone has a part in completing it. Also, a project which provides a good challenge at the team."

33. How good are you at sticking to your deadlines?

Time plays a crucial role in today’s fast paced life. Employers not only want quality job, but they also need it on time as a lot is at stake for the company based on it.

Possible answer:
“I always submit my work on time because I understand that the company is liable to its clients. Any delay in submission can lead to face loss in front of our clients, resulting in loss or fall in business.”

34. Are you willing to work long hours if the project demands?

This is possibly the most basic interview question asked the maximum number of times. Her's how you can answer it.

Possible answer:
"I understand the importance of matching up to dealines as a lot is at stake for the company. So, I would not mind working long hours if the project demands."

35. Do you have plans to opt for further studies?

Be transparent with your answers. If you are planning to opt for further studies be clear as to why the course is important for you. And if you are taking any distance course, you need to keep them interviewed as leaves will be required for exams.

Possible answer:
"No, I do not have any plans for further studies in the next few years."

Or,

"Yes, I am currently enrolled in a distance course for the subject as I think it is an important part of my career."

36. What will you do if you don’t bag this job?

Possible answer:
"If I don't bag the job today, I will continue looking for jobs and take a learning from this interview."

37. What do you think is the best part of working in a team?

Possible answer:
"For me the best part about working in team is producing a better result faster. With everyone putting forward their best ideas and bringing in their expert talents, it is bound to produce better results than working solo. Also, working in a team means better encouragement at any given point."

38. What is the worst part of working in a team?

Possible answer:
"There are pros and cons to everything.But I prefer looking at the positive aspects of working in a team as they are greater in number than any drawbacks."

39. Describe ‘work ethics’ and how would you define yours?

Possible answer:
"I am a very dedicated and loyal employee.I read on your website that you work with honesty, transparency and go the extra mile for your clients. My work ethic is also similar and I like to work hard for better results."

40. Have you ever been assigned a project without any assistance?

Possible answer:
"Yes, in my last organization, my boss had entrusted me to cover the annual budget without any assistance."

41. If you could have done anything differently during your college career, what would it have been?

Possible answer:
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my college days as it gave me a lot of opportunities to learn and put those learnings to use. So, no I would not have changed anything."

42. How do you handle constructive criticism?

Possible answer:
“I have weekly meetings with my team lead and discuss my work. Critical criticism helps me to learn and improve in areas which I am probably weak in.”

43. Describe yourself in one word.

Make a note of the important qualities required and back it up with reasons. Take for example you are interviewing for a marketing profile, your possible answer could be,

"I think the word that would go with my personality the best is focussed as I always succeed in completing my targets."

44. What was the organizational structure like in the previous organization?

Here you basically need to explain the hierarchy which was prevalent in your last organization and where you were situated I fit in it.
Take for example, you were a Senior Sub Editor in a media organization, you can mention your Skip level boss (Editor) followed by Senior Associate Editor(s), your team lead and subordinates if any.

45. How is your absentee record?

Possible answer:
"I understand the importance of discipline and lead my life on the same principle. Hence, I do not skip work until and unless there is an absolute emergency."

46. What makes you feel demotivated?

This can easily be considered a trick question to which you can answer by turning the attention from demotivation to what motivates you at work.

Possible answer:
"I do not get demotivated as such. But I strongly believe in encouraging healthy communication in order to avoid unnecessary gossip."

47. If you are allowed to change one thing in your last organization. What would it be?

Once again, try and avoid any negative comment and opt for a diplomatic answer.

Possible answer:
“I believe every organization has its own characteristics which makes it different from the other. Therefore, I would not want to change anything about my last organization.”

48. How good are you at maintaining time punctuality?

Possible answer:
"I have always believed in living a disciplined life, and practice the same in my work life. Therefore, I always maintain punctuality."

49. According to you what is the vision of our company?

To answer this question you must have a good research about the company. So, research well about the company before appearing for the interview.

50. If you are hired, do you think you will be able to work in cross-functional teams?

If you have had experience in handling cross-functional teams then the answer will be in the affirmative. But in case not, then you could state that it can be taken care of with your excellent communication skill and teamwork.

Possible answer:
"In my last organization also I was required to work in cross-functional teams. So, it will not be a problem for me."

51. While handling multiple projects, how do you keep yourself organized and on track?

It is common for employers to want to know how you stay on top of your game. So, explain your way of handling the multiple tasks in detail, whether you make a calendar or a to-do list to keep track or any other way.

Possible answer:
"Since my last job role required me to multitask, I used to mark down the tasks completed throughout the day and put up a list of tasks that needed to be addressed. This helped me to keep track of the amount of work done and what needs to be done."

52. What kind of work environment do you like the best?

Research about the company’s environment, be honest and relate your answer accordingly. Avoid criticisms as it leaves a negative impact about yourself on the interviewer.

Possible answer:
"I think the best work environment is where there is encouragement to come up with fresh ideas and freedom to work on a project and also take responsibility of the same."

53. Sell me this pen…

This is a pertinent question in interviews for marketing-driven positions. And you already know, the best way to sell a product is by knowing what your audience wants and then showing them the way to achieve it.

54. What really drives results in this job?

Take some time and make a mental note of the factors you think are important in fetching results.

Possible answer:
"I believe that the best way to drive results is to be disciplined and doing smart work."

55. What is the biggest accomplishment you have achieved in your previous organization?

Make sure you can pinpoint on a specific accomplishment which you can explain with proper anecdotes.

Possible answer:
"In my previous organization I successfully managed to pitch a digital marketing idea which fetched approximately 75% revenue for their annual event."

56. Can you predict the changes in the next 3 years your current category of job will witness?

This question is basically to get an insight in your far-sightedness regarding your own. So, do put in some research into what are the target areas which are expected to rise in the upcoming 3 years and answer them with proper explanation.

Possible answer:
"Given that our work is heavily based on technology, in my opinion in the next 3 years we will witness the advent of AI. Our roles will change from creators to moderators."

57. If you were to rank them, what are the three traits your top performers have in common?

Once again, consider all the relevant qualities required for the role, tally it with yours and answer the question.

Possible answer:
"According to me the three common traits in my top performers are honesty, hard work and diligency. I believe these qualities are very important to reach the top."

However, be ready for a follow up question where you might be asked to justify the importance of the qualities.

58. How did you learn about the job opening?

You could simply state the source through which you found out about the opening such as job portals.

59. Will you be comfortable to travel for work?

Possible answer:
"I understand that my job role requires me to travel quite extensively and I have no issues with it."

60. What book are you reading currently?

Although this question might seem unnecessary to you, but looking from an interviewer’s point of view it holds relevance. An interviewer would want to know that you are intellectually curious.
So, even if you are not reading a book currently, talk about the book you last read.

Possible answer:
"I have been currently reading a thriller titled 'God Is A Gamer' by Ravi Subramanian. The reason I really like his work is the way he builds up suspense, his lucid way of writing and how he pays attention to intricate details. So, in a way his books can keep a reader hooked through out."

Interview tips

Apart from these basic interview questions and answers,follow these 8 interview tips for a lasting first impression.

  • Research about the company
  • Practice your answers to common interview questions
  • Prepare questions to ask them
  • Carry copies of your resume, a notebook and a pen
  • Prepare your attire for the interview the night before
  • Ensure you are properly groomed
  • Arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time
  • Treat everyone you encounter with respect

Further suggested reading:

Interview Advice