Writing 101

Cracking the HR interview is the first step towards getting into a new job. Once the HR manager has assessed your suitability for the company, only then you get the call for the technical rounds. This makes the HR round extremely important as you need to convince the manager of your soft skills and mental acuity. An HR interview is not a selection process, but a process of short listing. So instead of going overboard to impress the HR interviewer, you should focus on saying all the right things so that you don’t get rejected.

Here are the frequently asked questions and answers in HR interview:

Q1. Tell me something about yourself.

A1. Explain briefly your work experience, your educational background, and your skillset. Do not go into detail unless the interviewer asks for more information. Here is everything you need to know about this all-important question.

Q2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

A2. Do not give flowery or abstract answers. Also, do not mention anything that could possibly eliminate you from the job. Remember, the interviewer does not actually want to know your weakness, rather he or she just wants to see whether your temperament is appropriate to be a suitable fit for a particular process.

Some acceptable terms for strengths are- positive, flexible, highly focused, quick learner, gifted orator etc. For weaknesses, try to mold your answer into something that comes across as positive e.g. you can say that you tend to get irritated but manage to control your emotions when you get disturbed while paying full attention on a project.

Q3. Do you plan to go for higher studies (if you are a graduate)?

A3. There are many recruiters who ask this question in order to gauge whether you are confident enough to handle the responsibilities despite not being a post-graduate. The appropriate response to this is to showcase your experience and skills you have gained, the various internships you have done, and the industry knowledge you have gained over the course of years.

Q4. You have changed jobs/jumped ship way too many times. Why should we hire you?     

A4. This is asked to experienced professionals who have changed their company several times. Since frequent job changes are viewed as an indication of the employee’s mercurial nature, you should highlight how changing the jobs has been a positive experience for you, how you have picked up several job skills on the way, and how you are keen to contribute through your skillset.

Q5. Why did you leave your previous organization?   

A5. Remember two things- never leave you current organization on a bitter note, and even if you do, DO NO badmouth your previous manager. It creates a very bad impression and forms a perception of you being a petulant person who is difficult to work with. Acceptable reasons are- lack of professional growth, a field that did not interest you, and low pay.

Q6. Are you willing to relocate or travel? Are you open to night shifts?

A6. Though freshers are generally expected to give a positive response to such questions, there might be family issues or other personal reasons that do not make you comfortable shifting to other cities or doing a night shift. If that’s the case, be honest and forthright in your answer. An understanding employer will be receptive to genuine cases.

Q7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A7. An effective answer for this question is – ‘I see myself handling new challenges, experiencing good professional growth, and taking up managerial responsibilities so that I can be a responsible to my subordinates and an asset to my senior managers.’

Q8. How much increment do you expect? What should be your starting salary, based on your skillset (for freshers)?

A8. Do not hesitate to ask what you deserve. At the same time, do not go overboard with your demand by asking for an unusually large hike. If you have the requisite experience and the desired skillset and valuable certifications, you will certainly get what you want.  

Q9. What do you know about this company?

A9. Many applicants make the blunder of just reading about the job profile and preparing accordingly for the interview. You certainly need to read up on the company, what it does, what verticals it deals in, and similar info.

Q10. Do you have any other job offer at hand?

A9. Do not get taken aback by this question. This is generally asked by the HR managers to gauge your demand in the market. You can astutely form this answer so that it works out to your advantage e.g.

“I have been talking with a company but there has been no response from them so far. So I am applying to this one because it suits my job profile.

“I did clear the interview but haven’t received any offer letter yet. So I am not sure whether I have actually got the job or not.”

“I have, but the domain I am being offered is not of my interest. That’s why I am looking for better options that can augment my growth.”

Found it useful? Now read about all the important words to use in a CV to impress your potential employer.


Writing 101
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