Popular Interview Questions

Human Resource Manager may ask many questions, and every question has an objective behind that. It’s not possible to discuss all such questions in this handbook. Nevertheless, some standard questions and their suggested answers are given here. These answers are for assistance purpose only; therefore, readers must not cram the same.

Sample Human Resource Interview Questions and Suggested Answers

Q.1 Tell me about yourself: (Asked in 95% interviews)

The most often asked question. You need to tell about yourself, family, college life, academics, achievements, skills, and competency. Answers should start from the oldest points and then reach on to the present topics.  One must be prior prepared for it but it should not seem like you have memorized the answer. Be careful, don’t bluff, because you might be interrupted by Interviewer to justify your answer, e.g., if you say I like social work, then HR may ask which kind of social work? You must try to relate your activities with the requirements of the job applied for, e.g., when applying for a job of management trainee, you should give an example which illustrates your managerial capabilities.

Q.2 What are your major strengths or Why should we hire you?

Both the questions have the common answer; introspect yourself and find out your real major strengths and relate them to the requirements of the job. For example following are some statements:

  • I have good persuasion and motivational skills
  • Good managerial and coordination skills, determined and hardworking
  • Good analytical and reasoning skills
  • Ability to work under pressure and consistency to meet deadlines and targets,
  • Good entrepreneurial skills, hard worker, team player and work under difficult stress.
  • These are some examples, which can be used as per the suitability. You can support your strength by a relevant activity or achievement. Or you can be asked by the interviewer to justify your strengths by some proven incident of your life. So be ready with that before talking about any strength.
Q.3 What are your weakness/ loopholes?

Caution, don’t be too honest to answer your weakness. Instead, you should explain it tactfully, for e.g., “I am short tempered but I am practicing meditation these days to overcome my weakness”. Many candidates answer it by saying that “I cannot lie to anybody” or “I believe in people very easily”. Actually, these are not weaknesses, while good moral practices. And this will simply indicate to the Interviewer that it’s not your own weakness and you are using standard answers to this question.  You should also not say that “Nobody is perfect in this world”, or “Everybody is having some weakness”. The interviewer is only concerned with you and this statement also indicates your philosophy that by making some mistake during the job, instead of accepting the same, you may say to your boss that “Everybody makes mistakes, perhaps you (boss) too when you were a fresher like me”.

Q.4 What are your interests and hobbies?

Tell them about your actual interests and be ready to have some queries based upon them. E.g. Candidate: “Cricket is my best past time”, the interviewer: “Ok, then, Who is your favorite player and why?”  Remember this is also a good chance to show your creativity to the interviewer. Don’t think too much to answer this question. It shows your confusion that you even don’t know your hobbies. But, if you don’t have one, and stuck somewhere during the interview, then use most commonly asserted hobbies like listening music, playing any game, spending time with family or friends, etc.

Q.5 What do you know about this organization?

Tell them, what you have surveyed about the organization. Including facts and figures will be admirable. For example “I have a brief knowledge about your company which I collected from its portal and some leading English dailies. Your company is among Fortune 500 companies of this world. It is India’s second largest software exporter to the world. And, with the recent merging and acquisition by search engine company Y, it will soon acquire the first position. The company’s slogan “Impossible says I am possible” itself depicts its vision and working strategy”. It is strongly advised to inquire about the company before appearing for the interview.

Q.6 Why do you want to work with our organization?

HR wants to know that whether you know well about this organization or just randomly sending your resume to many organizations. So, you have to tell them that you are inspired by the vision and mission of this company and it is among India’s leading organizations which will also provide great learning opportunity and exposure to you too.

Q.7 Why should we choose you over someone else? Or why should we hire you? Or Why do you think you would do well at this job?

Instead of criticizing the other candidates you should try to prove that you will add some extra values to this organization. So, talk clearly about problems that you have effectively solved during your college life or project. And, tell them about your skills which make you unique among the crowd. E.g. “I have strong web designing skill and creative thinking approach, which allows me to develop innovative web applications”.  Explain about your skills, knowledge, and experience. Try to bring the interviewer on your major strengths, or illustrate your out of the box thinking approach to solve any of the problems of the organization.  Actually, now a day companies want to hire people having creativity and potential to challenge conventional solutions to any problem.

Q.8 How long would you expect to work for us if hired?

Caution, don’t mention a numeric limit!  Novice says “at least one year otherwise it will bring adverse effects on my career”, but it’s a blunder. On the contrary, if you say that “I am looking for a long term career in this organization” interviewer knows that you are trying to gain favor by saying so. A real answer to this question is the fulfillment of mutual interests of employer and employee.  It simply means that the employer is getting the necessary qualitative output from employees and employee is also getting adequate opportunities for advancement in the career through promotions or benefits.
What is your philosophy towards work? Or your work ethics?

Caution! Be realistic; don’t exaggerate like “work is worship”. Instead, a concise and honest answer is appreciable. Like: I believe in team work, and I will finish my given tasks on time, if required I can devote extra hours to my work.

Q.9 Tell me about your ability to work under pressure or stress.

In today’s competitive world, one has to work under pressure and stress; it is believed that certain level of stress is imperative for the growth of any employee. Positive stress is termed as eustress (In Greek ‘eu’ means well) and negative stress is distress.

Q.10 Tell me about your dream job.

Caution! Don’t talk about ideal conditions as there are no ideal conditions in life. Don’t give the examples of other organizations or jobs too, it shows that you are not satisfied with this job and applying for time being. Your answer could be like: “A job where I can prove my mettle and having good people around, which provides a learning environment and a place which motivates honesty and integrity etc.”

Interview cartoon

Q. 11 What is your definition of a good job?

Use positive words like challenging, which update my knowledge and brush up skills, etc. Don’t prioritize money at the start of your professional career.  Shyam S. Rathore, CEO of Ready Bytes Software Labs suggests to the youth that in the start of their career, they must concentrate on learning skills rather than money. He adds that joining a start-up company is always a great learning opportunity. Steve Jobs, at a convocation ceremony, said “stay hungry and stay foolish” that means don’t settle in your life keep walking to explore new opportunities.

Q. 12 Why did you choose this career?

Explain about your interest in the career you have chosen. Don’t say that you were intending for another career option and unfortunately you have to satisfy with this option. Explain about the opportunities available in the chosen field. And be visionary to find your place after 5 years in this field. E.g. a Mechanical Engineering graduate in an interview said that India is a developing nation, and the current PM is a great visionary leader. He is planning to develop smart cities, metro trains, bullet trains, building, etc. In the coming time, India is ready to witness a tremendous boom in the Infrastructure sector, and that will require skilled and talented Mechanical and Civil Engineers.

Q. 13 What is the meaning of success for you? How will you evaluate success?

Everyone has a different definition of success so define it in your own words. The most common answer is “Success is a journey, not a destination”. You can consult some good motivating books to really know the meaning of success for you. Many philosophers’ quotations on success are available on the Internet. And, the way to evaluate success is by setting some targets or goals and reaching up to them within a set time frame.

Click to view very good  mock interview of a fresher candidate

Q. 14 Are you a goal oriented person?

Definitely, everyone should set goals and put their efforts in the right direction to achieve them.  You need to be ready with some of your goals. You should be aware of the hierarchy of promotion in the particular field applying for.  Because many times, an interviewer asks that where do you see yourself after five years? In IT companies, fresher, generally starts with Software Trainee, then promoted to Software Engineer, then becomes Senior Software Engineer, then encouraged to Team Lead or Project lead, then after rigorous experience and efforts, promoted to Project Manager. Candidate must remember that there is a difference between dream and goal. Your dream might be to become a writer but goal should be to become Marketing Head or Project Manager, etc.

Q. 15 What are your goals? And how will you achieve them?

At the beginning of your career, it is recommended to talk about short term goals instead of long term. E.g. “my immediate goal is to get <name the position for which you applied> in an emergent company and my long-term goals depend upon my efforts in the company”.

Q. 16 What gives you the most satisfaction in your life?

The answer may vary person to person, e.g. awards, promotion, recognition, spending leisure time with family and friends, etc.  Choose your own priority, but, use this opportunity to impress the interviewer.

Q. 17 What motivates you to do your best on the job?

The answer may be challenge, achievement, recognition, role model, etc. but don’t say money. Because you will realize that it only motivates for some initial years of a job.

Q. 18 Do you have plans to continue your education

Say no if you are looking for a job, if you have the interest to study further, you should say “I have planned to enrol in some distance learning courses which I can manage with my job” or “I would love to have any higher learning opportunity provided by my organization because learning is a lifelong process”.

Q. 19 Are you willing to put the interests of the organization ahead of your own?

Definitely yes.

Q. 20 Are you a team player?

Always say yes, because what organization is looking for is not hard work alone that’s hard work in the form of teamwork. Add some examples to prove the same.

Q. 21 How do handle failure? Or Have you ever failed?

Failure is an essential part of life. If you try to achieve something, either you will get success or failure. Almost all the legends faced failures while doing some innovation. Abraham Lincoln is an example who faced many failures but ultimately became President of the USA. If, still interviewer asked failure faced by you. Then, be ready to tell a good story, like: I organized an event in my college and due to indiscipline activities by a group of students; I had to cancel the event in between. But, next time, I was careful and constitute a discipline committee of students. Actually, failures are quintessential because we learn from them. A famous quotation is “by seeing the seed of failure in every success, we remain humble, and by seeing the seed of success, in every failure we remain hopeful”.

Q. 22 Do you drink liquor socially or smoke? (Mostly ask in army interviews)

Be honest, if you drink or smoke than say Occasionally, the interviewer may ask you some brand names. 

Click to view Best Defense Interview of a Mechanical Engg. for Indian Army

Q. 23 In what areas you need to improve your skills?

Be honest and mention the area where you feel yourself a bit week and also explain how you will overcome that weakness.

Q.24 Do You Have Offers from other companies? or are you applying for other jobs?

Obviously, when you are looking for a job, you must be applying to other companies as well. So don’t lie at this time. The interviewer might be checking your honesty.

Q. 25 What kind of salary do you need?

Normally, most of the companies have a fix starting range of salary for fresher candidates and interviewer will tell you about that, otherwise, you can say as per applicable rules of the company. Experienced candidates must survey the on-going trend of bottom rate as well as a maximum limit of the salary as per their experience in such fields. If still, insisted by the interviewer that you can tell them the range or ask them “what is the range offered by you to a candidate with my background”.

Q. 26 Do you have any questions for me?

It’s a last good chance for you to make one more good impression on interviewer but doesn't ask foolish questions for the sake of just asking something. Always have some logical or smart questions well prepared before appearing in the interview. Some sample questions are here under:

How soon will I get the project?

What kind of training and learning can I expect from this company?

What is the long-term vision of this company?

What will be my main responsibilities [if responsibilities are not mentioned in advertised job description]

What will be the way of promotion in this job?

Mostly interviewer asked experienced candidates about their last job. So one must be ready with a suitable answer that what the reason for leaving the last job was.

Now you are ready to appear for a personal interview. Click to know how to behave during an interview.