’Tis the Hiring Season: How to Answer the Classic Job Interview Questions

Job Interview Questions

Whether it’s your fifth time or first time doing a job interview, they somehow end up feeling all the same leading up to the day of the interview don’t they? We never really know what kind of interview it’s going to be regardless if it’s face-to-face or a remote job interview. Will it be our most awkward one yet? Or is it going to be the best job interview of our lives? It’s the unknown and the unexpected that makes us feel butterflies in our stomachs. The fear of being unprepared for questions. 

If you’ve noticed, we encounter interview questions that we’ve already heard before – questions that have been asked to you twice or thrice as an applicant. We’ve collected what we’d also call the classic job interview questions to help you prepare for your next one. How many of them have you heard already? 

See how you can answer each one of them with confidence starting today: 

1. “Tell me about yourself”

Before your mind goes completely blank, take a quick breath and imagine that you’re talking to someone you’d just met at a party. Relax. Recruiters ask this question because they want to get to know the personality behind the resumé. This is your chance to tell them everything you didn’t get to write on paper.

What you can say: “I’ve been working for over x years now. I’ve always been interested in x, y, z. In my free time I like to x, y, z. I’m a die-hard fan of x, y, z.”

To give the recruiters/hiring managers more insights about you as a professional, you can also talk about your past or current role and what you enjoyed most about it. Adding one or two fun facts about yourself like your favorite all-time movie will also make the conversation even more fun and interesting.


2. “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”

We have to be honest; you can either make it or break it when answering these questions. But worry not! Here’s how you can own them. After all, no one knows you better than yourself, right?

Let’s say you’re applying for a data analyst role in the BPO industry…

What you can say: I know my way around Excel and Python, I can easily interpret complex data and I’m quite familiar with the most common data processing platforms therefore, I’d feel comfortable adapting to your company’s programs. I can also build presentation decks and explain the numbers to stakeholders. I believe that my knowledge in specific domains like e-commerce, business intelligence, and finance can be proven useful for the different departments of the company. As for my weaknesses, I’d like to be more creative with my writing and explore improvements on my public speaking skills to be a more relatable communicator.”

The key to answering strengths is to talk about skills that are most relevant to the role you’re applying for. Talk about what you’re already good at because they’re the skills that will make recruiters think that you’re a great match for the role. Here’s a hint: check your courses and certifications. Let your recruiters know that you can walk the talk while looking good on paper.  And the key to answering weaknesses is to talk about the skills you’re currently working on or you wish to improve on when you get hired.


3. “How do you handle a crisis/conflict/difficult situation?”

Your recruiter/hiring manager would like to have a good idea of how you are as a communicator and as a problem solver from the way you answer this question. Are you quick on your feet? Are you the embodiment of grace under pressure? Can you stay calm?

Take a step back and reflect.

Think of a time when you’re most challenged at work. Which situation came to your mind? When you have that one moment pinned down, imagine the scenario again and try talking to yourself in a mirror about it. Speak with hindsight and wisdom. Most importantly, explain to your recruiter the solutions and actions you took in order to resolve the situation.

What you can say: “As a payroll specialist, I overlooked a step in our payroll process and system, and this caused a delay in one of the employees’ payouts. I sought for my manager’s help and I told them honestly what happened. I communicated with the employee personally, explained the situation, and reassured them that they will be paid in time. I also made sure not to make the same mistake again by double checking my processes. Fortunately, it indeed never happened again.”

Don’t be afraid if the only scenario you can think of is one where you made a mistake, it’s totally fine! Just make sure to add your learnings to your answer and how you’re able to move forward by yourself or with the help of your colleagues. What matters most is how you’re able to bounce back.


4. “Why are you applying for this role?”

Your recruiter is curious about your intent and motivations for applying for their job post. When answering this question, keep two things in mind: goals and growth.

Position yourself as the applicant who’s looking to challenge themselves by applying for a role that will require you to move out of your comfort zone.

What you can say: “I’m applying for this role because I would love to learn more about x, y, z. I think that my experiences in x, y, z will also bring contributions not only to your company’s growth but also to mine as a professional.”

There’s more information you can add to this answer such as your motivations for growing in the industry or your reasons for shifting into a new one. You can also say that you’re applying for the role because the company’s principles, mission, and vision are in alignment with your values.


5. “Tell us about a work you’re most proud of”

When it comes to your own accomplishments, there’s no better person to ask than you, right? This is your opportunity to expound and talk about one of the achievements they can read from your resumé.

Paint a picture and tell your hiring manager a story. Walk them through your proudest work from start to finish. Be generous on the details and tell them how, what, and why it was a work you feel the proudest of.

What you can say: “The work I was proudest of was proposing a more streamlined ways of working for our team. I came up with the idea because I wanted to eliminate misunderstandings, disorganization, and delays in our deliverables. Fortunately, my proposal was approved by my team leader and the results were promising as we’d expected. Our team even surpassed our previous overall score when we employed this new way of working. I felt really happy not just for myself but also for how easier work became for everyone.”

Your answer to this question will reflect your proactiveness and the expertise you’ve demonstrated from your current/previous job. Consider this question as an opportunity to shine and to talk about a project closest to your heart.


6. “What are your salary expectations?”

This one feels so easy to answer, but it’s realistically one of the questions you’ll need a strategy for. But why do recruiters often ask this? It’s to see if the business can afford your help or if they can meet you halfway.

What you can say: “Thank you for asking. Given my years of experience and the responsibilities that come with the role, I’m looking at something between 30,000 pesos to 40,000 pesos. May I know how much the business is willing to invest for the person that will be hired for the job?”

Giving your recruiters a price range lets them know that you’re flexible and you’re someone they can negotiate with. A price range also shows how much you value your own skills and experiences. You can look into the market and research the salary trends of professionals from your industry to get a salary range idea, and the number you think you deserve. If you’re still unsure about the salary you want, you can delay answering this question and politely ask your recruiter if you can get back to them about it in the next business day.


Ready to Take Your Career to the Next Level?

If you’re feeling confident enough now for your next job interview, you might want to check out Booth & Partners’ careers page for roles that could be a perfect fit for you and the career growth you’re looking for. Apply today and see if you fit right into the tribe’s culture. 

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