“You’re an engineer. Why do you want to be a teacher?” Can you answer this question skilfully if you were interviewed for a job at the Ministry of Education (MOE)?

Nowadays, job interviews are described as difficult, arduous, rigorous and extensive. It is the interviewers’ right to grill you intensively just so they can pick the right person for the job. The job interview is not only an opportunity for you to score the job, but also a chance for your interviewers to gauge your thought process and gain penetrating insights into your hopes, goals and ambitions.

Your responses should echo the requirements for the job position you are applying for and show ample proof as to why you are the best candidate for the job and would be a good contributor to the company.

An interview is the time where you can express yourself creatively and freely. You do not need to memorise an answer, but do give it a thought as to what you are going to answer so that you will not be put on the spot.

Sometimes, the interviewers will ask you routine interview questions, but once in a while, they will also throw you a curveball, catching you off guard and making you think on your feet and out of the box.

There is a wide variety of interview questions that can be posed by your prospective employers, ranging from your abilities, yourself, your employment history, your behaviour, your communication skills, company culture and salary.

How you present your answer will demonstrate to your potential employer what you are made of.

Here are some commonly asked interview questions.


Questions on Your Abilities

1)    What are your strengths and which do you display best?

2)    What are your weaknesses?

3)    How do you handle stress and pressure?

4)    Describe the pace at which you work.

5)    What are the applicable skills and experience you have for this job?

6)    How do you overcome disappointment over unachieved goals?


Questions about Yourself

1)    Tell me about yourself.

2)    What words would you use to describe yourself?

3)    What are you passionate about?

4)    What motivates you?

5)    What are your pet peeves?

6)    What do people most often criticise about you?

7)    Are you easy to talk to?

8)    Do you consider yourself a team player? Why?


Behavioural questions are usually challenging. They require you to think of a scenario or true events from the back of your mind within seconds. These are the questions that can usually help you stand out from the rest of interviewees if you answer correctly, so do think carefully and creatively as your interviewers are waiting for an answer that will blow their minds.


Behavioural Questions

1)    Give an example of an occasion when you used logic to solve a problem.

2)    Give an example of a goal you did not meet and how you handled it.

3)    Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure.

4)    Describe a decision you made that was unpopular and how you handled it.

5)    Have you ever made a risky decision? Why?

6)    With deadlines to meet, how do you prioritise multiple projects?

7)    What do you do if you disagree with a co-worker?

8)    Share an example of how you motivate employees or co-workers.

9)    Was there a time where you had to convince your co-workers or employees to do something they are not thrilled about?

10)  Describe a difficult project you had to undertake.


 “Why do you want to work here?”

This is a very important question, not only to your interviewers, but to yourself too. Do you know why exactly you desire to work in that company?

The following may be your reasons:

1)    You admire the founders/leadership

2)    You believe wholeheartedly in the products or services the company provides

3)    The company has impressed you in some way

4)    The company culture and working environment seems like a good fit for your personality or work style


A job interview will decide the path of your life. You either land the job or have to repeat the whole interview process with another company. Make the effort to do research on the company to ready yourself with knowledgeable answers. Take time to review the common interview questions and the sample answers to these typical questions.

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