Can You Answer These Interview Questions?

we have collated the top 10 most commonly asked interview questions. Each question discusses the objective of the interviewer’s question, a guide on crafting the best answer, and what you should not add in your answers!

Can You Answer These Interview Questions?

In this article, we have collated the top 10 most commonly asked interview questions. Each question discusses the objective of the interviewer’s question, a guide on crafting the best answer, and what you should not add in your answers!

Can You Answer These Interview Questions?

The reason you’re nervous for an interview is probably because you’re not (entirely) ready!

There are many questions an interviewer can ask in order to know your qualities for the job fit. Although you might not be able to memorize all of the details of your answers, it might help boost your confidence for your interview if you can prepare some answers to these commonly asked interview questions in advance.

There is only so much an interviewer wants to know about you, and as long as you respond to these 10 commonly asked questions smoothy and surely, you’re bound to impress the interviewer.

In this article, we have collated the top 10 most commonly asked interview questions. Each question discusses the objective of the interviewer’s question, a guide on crafting the best answer, and what you should not add in your answers!


What do interviewers really mean when they ask these 10 interview questions?

1. Where do you see yourself in five years?

The best answer for this is to think of the career progression of the role you’ve applied for, and mention how some of the skills and knowledge achieved through the role will ameliorate your job aspirations in future.

Be mindful! 
Do not lie. If you have not figured out your dream job, don’t worry! It is alright to be honest and let the recruiter know nicely that you are unsure of what the future holds, but you are willing to learn and gain new insights that would help you make an informed decision about your future career.

The purpose of the hiring manager’s question is to find out: 
Whether your goal aligns with the position’s goals 

2. How did you learn about the opening?

Basically, an employer doesn’t just want to hire someone who wants a job, they would love to find someone who has the passion and drive to work for the company.

Go on and explain how you've heard about the opening - either through a colleague, school fairs, career fairs, website, etc, and don't forget to pepper it with some wonderful things you've heard about the company through your research.

The purpose of the hiring manager’s question is to find out:
If you really want to work in their company and for their company.


3. Tell me a little about yourself

According to a very useful structure provided by Ms Lily Zhang (Career Expert in TheMuse), the best way to answer this question, is to apply the “Present-Past-Future” Formula. She identifies this open –ended question as the very first question interviewers love to ask!

Let’s break down this formula!

Present – Talk about your currentwork or education status/position 
Past – Share a little about the experiences and skills you have gained inprevious job roles
Future - Explain why this particular opportunity is valuable and interesting for you!

By abiding by this format, not only is it easier to remember. You will not leave out the important details reflecting your true abilities!

Be mindful! 
Do not recite your life story, and don't gloss over the work experiences that are in your resume. You should try to strike the balance between elaborating on the work that you've done previously, and yet not to the extent you're spending ages talking about that one bullet point.

For example: 
If you’ve already written in your resume “handles social media and designs”, 
during your interview, you should not just say “In my marketing agency, i handled social media optimizations and designs.”

Go on and explain further: “During my time in the Marketing agency, i was in charge of designing the posters and digital content of the social media platform. I also optimize marketing campaigns and advertisements on Google, facebook and Instagram.”

The purpose of the hiring manager’s question is to find out: 
-The relevance of your skills and experiences to job position. 
-More about you, APART from things you’ve written in your resume.


4. There are many candidates, why should we hire you?

This question may sound intimidating and there MAY really be MANY candidates if the company is large or the role is attractive enough. However, the general rule of thumb to answer this question lies in 2 main points:

  • Find out what employer wants 
    (View their Job description & their “good to have” requirements) 
    If you have that extra tick, the employer will be glad to find someone who has the exact skill sets, saving time on training employees who lack these skills.
  • Convey with enthusiasm! 
    Other than the skills and knowledge, a recruiter is interested in hiring someone who is passionate about their job. Highlight your soft skills to your interviewer – You are dedicated and determine. 

    TIP: It would be good to read up on the company’s history and weave it with how its growth has inspired you to make them your favorite company to work for. It may be the encouraging story of the CEO’s start up dream, or the passion of their employees, or even the future belief in the company. Having knowledge of the company demonstrates your excitement and sincerity in contributing to the company.

The purpose of the hiring managers’ question is to find out: 
How much you know about the company / the role


5. Tell me about the time you…. (overcome challenges/ resolve a team conflict/ handled a difficult customer, etc..)

Here’s the trick to prepping your story and making it concise yet constructive:

Step 1: Look through the job description and list down the soft skills required for the responsibilities. 
Step 2: Think of stories based on your previous job experiences that display such qualities. 
Step 3: Familiarize yourself with the stories, remember keywords!  


For example:

Job description: “Requires employee to work in a team” 
Soft Skill of this role:  Adaptability, team spirit, time management. 
Questions likely asked: Tell me about the time you had to handle a team conflict.

Firstly, all the answers you can prepare for, lies in the job description.  Thus, ALWAYS READ THE JOB DESCRIPTION. Secondly, you should be the one who is most familiar with your own story! You don’t want to stutter and sound like you made up the stories! Brainstorm on the potential soft skills and link them up with an experience/story.

Lastly, end off with a bold statement of what you’ve learnt and talk about how you would have approached the situation differently if something similar happens again.

Be mindful!

If your memory fails you, RELAX! It is not wrong to ask for a few seconds to think and recall before you speak!

The purpose of the hiring managers’ question is to find out: 
Your soft skills, what have you learnt and how you handle/ react to change or failures or even success.


6. How would your boss and co-workers describe you?

Be mindful!


Your interviewer/ future supervisor might give your previous/current employer a call to find out about you.  So, how should you answer this question?

Quote an official report 
It is always good to obtain a testimonial from your supervisor, performance review and back it up with a short example.

For example:

“Based on my recent performance review, my supervisor mentioned that I was someone who is detailed oriented. My role involves mass data accumulation, and very often, a minor mistake can snowball into a huge concern. Thus, I was trained to always be reminded of the consequences one action can lead to and that every little detail matters. I know that my supervisor often take praise of this trait I possess.”


7. What do you like to do outside of work?

Purpose of the hiring managers’ question is to find out: 
if you’ll be a good cultural fit to the organisation. 

By providing you the opportunity to discuss about your hobbies help employers identify your personality. 
It is alright to tell the interviewers about your hobbies outside of work. However, make sure it is not too controversial. I’m sure everyone has hobbies!

Be mindful! 
Avoid giving one worded answers. Go on and share about why you enjoy doing these activities and how it helped you enhance your mental and physical well-being! This is actually a good chance for you to share qualities that would impress your interviewer.


8. What are your greatest professional strengths and weaknesses?

We have put up an acronym, so you can remember / structure it much simpler!  

Choose a strength that is……..“DARE” – 

Distinct: Organisational planning, working under pressure, Flexibility etc.

Accurate: Share something real, not just something that an interviewer wants to hear

Relevant: Smartly share strengths that would be useful for the role you’re applying for.

Example: Give an example of how you displayed such strengths


As for sharing your weaknesses, it goes without saying that you should NOT say: 
“I am not punctual”. “I have poor time management”, etc.

The purpose of the hiring manager’s question is to: 
review your honesty and self-awareness.

Think about what you are recently struggling with but attempting to improve as opportunities were presented to you.

Eg. You were not strong in Photoshop skills, but the recent campaign has given you ample opportunities to enrich your Photoshop skills in designing posters and banners for the project.


9. What is your number one priority when looking for a job?

Before you go for an interview, list down two things that are your top priority in looking for a job. Your career priority defers at different stages in life when looking for a career.

For example as a student, your priority could be the opportunities for learning and development, or the team culture. As you grow older, you may prioritise work life balance and having a stable income, or chasing a bigger pay cheque.

Ask yourself: “What is most important to me right now?”

Next, list down two things you like about the company you’re interviewing for. 
It could be the informal open concept office, the organisational culture, the people, or the person who inspired you that the company is a great place to be in?

I am sure there is something you like about the company that makes you apply for the job! 

Best way to answer this question: 
Express to the interviewer how your personal concerns align with what the company provides!


10. Do you have any questions for us?

Most often, we would say “no” but if you have questions in your mind, it is perfectly alright to ask if it is relating to the job responsibilities, the company, the team and the culture.

Some of the questions you may ask may include “Can I have a quick tour around the office?”

Requesting for a quick tour will allow you to have a better glimpse of the area you will be working at. 
It is also an indication of how sincere you are about the position you are applying for!


Be as genuine as possible because the interview is going to be about YOU! You should be confident and you should know your qualities and capabilities BEST. YOU GOT THIS.



Back to Career Resources »

Related Articles

    School of the future? This one gets it right

School of the future? This one gets it right

There is a school in Woodlands that is really serious about educating its pupils.

    More studying part-time while serving nation

More studying part-time while serving nation

NSFs attend classes at private schools in the evenings and weekends

    Saying ‘no’ nicely

Saying ‘no’ nicely

You don’t have to be rude — just be assertive

    How to write a cover letter for a public relations job?

How to write a cover letter for a public relations job?

Want to break into the public relations industry? Having the right cover letter will get you there easily.

    How to write a social work cover letter

How to write a social work cover letter

Working as a social worker could be one of the most rewarding jobs. Here’s how you can land yourself this meaningful job.

    A fundamental look at value

A fundamental look at value

Calculations such as ROE, quick ratio and free cash flow can help an investor understand a company