The Top 10 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers for Freshers
Yup, that’s a photo of me when I was in college.
And as a fresher, I was absolutely CLUELESS about how to prepare for an interview. (And apparently how to dress…um…is that a black shirt underneath a white collared dress shirt? I’m confused, clearly. Anyway, I digress.)
I wish I had a mentor that could have guided me through the process, so that’s why I put together this article for you!
For context, I’ve interviewed at companies like Apple, Google, Cisco, GE Healthcare, MTV Networks, Universal Music Group, Harrah’s, Citigroup, Amplitude, Stripe, Box, Toptal, Optimizely, ClearSlide, Twilio, Navigant Consulting, VMware and numerous privately held companies / startups. I’ve also personally interviewed and hired numerous people as well. I’ve also coached tons of students and have helped them land their dream jobs (You can see the testimonials here). So basically, I have a lot of experience!
I’m going to outline the “Top 10 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers for Freshers” and the reason I’m doing this is to help you prepare in the best way possible for you upcoming interviews.
I want you to feel so confident that you never feel thrown off by an interview question and you feel like you’ve given yourself the absolute best chance of landing the job.
At the end of the interview, I want you to be pumping your first in the air because that’s how awesome you did.
Oh, and for you to get the job of course!
So let’s get onto it. Here are the Top 10 Most Common Interview Questions and Answers for Freshers.
P.S. I added in GIFs to make it more fun for you too.
Question #1: Why do you want to join our company?
Answer: Here is a really effective step by step approach you can use for this question.
Vision - What is the company vision for the next year? For next 5 years? What part of that vision excites and inspires you and why?
Example: I love that Slack is changing the way millions of people communicate in a much more efficient way which can dramatically improve productivity and the way people work together. (Pro tip: go to the “about us” page of the company site to learn what their mission and vision is)
Impact - By joining the company, what type of an impact can you make? Tell them about that impact and how you’re excited to contribute to the company.
Example: By joining this company, I’ll be able to make an impact on the marketing role by helping lead amazing demand generation campaigns that will drive a huge increase in pipeline and I’m excited to contribute to the company in this way.
Leadership - What about their leadership team inspires you to want to work there?
Example: I love how the founders of the company are incredibly passionate about their mission and have built a culture that encourages collaboration, teamwork and bringing your best self to work!
Question #2: Tell me about yourself.
Answer: I wrote an in depth answer here on how to answer when someone says “tell me about yourself.” . (You’re welcome!)
Question #3: Tell me about a time you ran into a challenge and how you solved it.
Explain the challenge you ran into (whether it was at work or an extracurricular activity)
Discuss how you identified the root cause of the problem
Talk about how you identified a solution
Mention how you actually implemented the fix
Explain the outcome and benefits of fixing that problem
Question #4: What would you do in the first 30 days of this role?
Typically, in your first 30 days you’ll want to focus on:
Training (for ex: this could be operations, finance, product, services etc)
Learn about your customer - ideal target market segment and decision makers
Meet with other cross functional team members to learn from them (product, R&D operations, engineering, sales, marketing, leadership, etc)
Shadow top performers in your department
Identify and get a mentor
Setup a cadence with your manager
Build your plan and KPIs (either monthly, quarterly or yearly)
Question #5: How will you contribute in this role?
Answer: The easiest way to do this is to look at the job role description and then to map how you’re going to contribute to each of those bullet points. This way you can ensure you’re hitting the mark on what they’re looking for in this role.
Here’s an example of a list of responsibilities for a sales manager position:
Assist in overseeing sales planning, budgeting and forecasting – Example answer: I would work with operations to build out reports and dashboards specifically for sales team performance
Achieve 100% of quota - Example answer: I will consistently prospect for new clients with personalized outreach campaigns, nurture existing leads and upsell existing clients to hit 100% of quota. Here is a customized plan I put together demonstrating how I would do that.
Question #6: Tell me about a time when you were given constructive criticism and how you responded.
Answer: Here’s how you approach this question - you want to demonstrate you’re able to talk constructive criticism and can change to drive a better outcome. You want people to know you’re coachable, especially as a fresher!
Tell them about a time you received constructive criticism
Discuss what you learned from that criticism (make sure you show that you have good self awareness)
Talk about the key changes you made based on that criticism (assuming it was valid and helpful)
Mention the outcome of that change
Question #7: What has been your most proud achievement and why?
Answer: Whether it’s an extracurricular, academic or work experience, mention an achievement that means a lot to you and explain why.
Did you crush it in a class and get an A?
Did you lead a project?
Did you earn an award at work?
Did you learn something critical at work or in college?
Were you recognized academically for something?
Did you participate in a club or non profit and do something really cool or impactful?
Question #8: What motivates you?
Answer: What is your why? This is critical not only to know for interviews, but for your life.
Here’s on exercise I teach my students on how to find their “why?”
Write down your top 10 values (for example: health, relationships, financial freedom, learning and growth, etc.)
Rank your top 4 out of those 10
Completed? Move on.
Based on the top 4 values, write down specific examples of what your ideal dream job would look like (ex: I want to be able to work from anywhere in the world or I am passionate about the vegan lifestyle)
Finished? Well done!
Then write down possible job roles and companies that fit those values (ex: if I am passionate about the vegan lifestyle and making an impact on the world, then working at Impossible Foods as a marketer could be a great fit for me.)
Then, once you have a list, do this:
Message and ask people in those roles for an informational interview to learn about what the role and/or company is like
Go and actually try the work out. You can do this through online courses at Udemy and Coursera
Look up similar roles on Youtube to see what people say about it
Intern at the company
Take on a full time role at the company - if you don't like it, you can always leave
Question #9: Tell me about a time where you worked effectively with other team members.
Answer: Think back to a time when you had to work with team members collaboratively.
What was the problem you were trying to solve?
Who and how did that person lead the team?
How did you manage to work with a lot of different personalities?
How did you discuss the solution?
How did you decide on the solution?
What tools and process did you use in this process?
What was the outcome?
Question #10: What questions do you have for me?
You’re in luck. I wrote an article on the Top 10 Questions to Ask the Interviewer.
I hope this article helps you land your dream job!