30 Common Interview Questions Explanation (Part 3)

As an international student who is about to return to Vietnam to apply for a job, have you also received an interview invitation but are flustered and don't know where to start preparing for the interview? 

Recruitery has released the must-know series for international students (3 issues in total), which summarises 30 common questions and answer ideas in job interviews for international students with 0-3 years of work experience. 

This blog is the last part of the 30 interview questions that’s commonly asked in the interview. Compared with the previous two issues, the interview questions in this issue involve self-evaluation, the inquiry of the empty window period of job hunting, what kind of colleagues you like to cooperate with, how to communicate upwards in the workplace, etc., which are more open and difficult to answer. So how can we answer such questions clearly and calmly? 

21. Why Is Your Internship/Work Duration So Short

It's evident that there are doubts about your stability. I'd like to emphasize that when writing a resume, more experiences don't necessarily make it better and richer in practical experience. The core of resume interviews is matching! 

The more relevant, the better. If, for instance, your internship wasn't related to the position you're applying for, your response should focus on the gains from your past roles. Always remember to sell yourself. You can mention that during your internship, you tried it due to certain reasons, realized it wasn't suitable or enjoyable, but the key point should be what you learned from those experiences and how they are helpful in your current job. Present a clear plan for the present: Show your loyalty to the interviewer by stating, "The past is behind me, and I've found my direction now, which is the current position."

Pitfalls to avoid: Don't portray yourself as passive, like you were pushed by fate. Being proactive and showing initiative are qualities that the workplace values.

22. Use Three Adjectives to Describe Yourself /How Would Your Friend Describe You

Female candidates explaining herself

These two interview questions can be discussed together because friends' evaluations of you can also be summarized with a few words, making them easier to remember.

  1. One word about your quality of life: Honest, kind, resilient, and more. These words, which may sound vague, should be supported with examples to enhance persuasiveness. For instance, you can share specific actions related to honesty, such as adhering to moral principles or demonstrating honesty when dealing with challenging situations.

  2. One word regarding your work potential: Curious, responsible, reliable, intelligent, empathetic, and more. 

  3. One word about your characteristics or hobbies: Enthusiastic about anime culture, passionate about fashion, and so on. Light-hearted topics can help initiate conversations during interviews, and you might find common interests with the interviewer, building rapport. If you don't have specific characteristics or hobbies, you can elaborate on another aspect of your work potential.

24. What Do You Think About Trival and Repetitive Tasks

Saying "okay" might make you appear unambitious, while showing unwillingness might make you seem non-compliant or overly ambitious.

A satisfactory response to this interview question should reflect your work values. For example, you can say, "Even in most seemingly interesting jobs, there is typically 80% of repetitive and mundane work that forms the foundation. The truly creative and interesting aspects might only constitute 20% of the job. As a newcomer, I understand the importance of performing these foundational tasks, becoming familiar with basic operations and processes. It's all about building a strong foundation. I will complete my responsibilities diligently and take the initiative to think ahead and improve myself."

A more advanced response would be tailored to the specific job and break down the tasks. For instance, "This job consists of three main components. The first two are XX and XX, which involve basic, repetitive tasks but are necessary to achieve specific goals. The remaining component, XX, demands a higher level of expertise and relies on the first two as a foundation. Work is a continuous process, and even repetitive tasks are essential. However, when working on foundational tasks, I approach them with a broader perspective to better align with the progression of subsequent work." In summary, your attitude should convey acceptance and a commitment to do more. If you can discuss your understanding of the job in greater depth, the interviewer is likely to be impressed.

25. Why Were You Unemployed For So Long?

Men looking for jobs on his laptop

As long as there are no issues with your personal abilities or unrealistic expectations, it's relatively normal to take up to three months to find a suitable job. If it takes longer than three months or even more, HR may have concerns such as whether your abilities are lacking, leading to no company willing to hire you, or if your expectations are unreasonable, resulting in a prolonged job search. If there are uncontrollable factors or objective reasons, like failing an entrance exam or family matters, these explanations are usually understandable. However, if the job search has been challenging, you should first reflect on your job search experience and consider the reasons for your job search failures.

So, how can you respond appropriately to such interview questions?

  1. The main approach to answering these questions is to highlight your strengths. With these strengths, you can address the job's responsibilities effectively.

  2. Self-improvement: During the job search gap, mention any skills you've acquired or training you've undergone, demonstrating that you've invested in self-improvement.

  3. The significance of the job search gap for your career: Explain how this period allowed you to think more deeply and maturely, leading to a more well-defined career plan for the future.

The essence of this question is that the interviewer wants to determine if you are a good fit for their team. You can prepare for such interview questions by logically articulating your preferences and reasons.

26. Who Do You Like/Dislike Wokring With?

Preferences for working with others: When describing traits, it's best to focus on general characteristics rather than specific details. For example, you can mention qualities like strong learning ability, good communication skills, honesty, kindness, and simplicity. Your preference for working with certain traits also indirectly reflects your own qualities.

Preferences against working with certain people: In this case, it's not necessary to describe eccentricities but rather emphasize the workplace behaviors or habits that you find problematic, such as passing the blame, lack of transparent communication, or adherence to unspoken workplace rules, among others.

27. What Type of Boss Are you Looking For?

Manager guiding his employee

Appreciation for a boss: This question is essentially about whether you can meet your expectations for a leader. Many students hope for a mentor who can guide and teach them. It's often challenging to define your specific needs and preferences, as training is a process, not an end result.

A reference response could be: "I prefer a boss who can provide timely feedback, offer direct suggestions for improvement in my work, and who can provide some room for error to help newcomers grow."

28. What Will You Do When You Think That the Request from Your Leader is Incorrect and You Have a Better Solution

Communicating upward is indeed an art and a challenge frequently encountered in the workplace. When responding to interview questions like this, don't get bogged down in the details of specific situations, such as whether your boss is male or female or has a good or bad temper. Instead, think about what kind of answer the interviewer is looking for and what kind of thinking and skills they want to see.

When it comes to upward communication, there are two key considerations:

  1. Recognize the cost of communication: Challenging authority or presenting ideas to your superiors can have a higher cost, so it's crucial to ensure that your proposal is thorough, well-reasoned, and can withstand scrutiny. This includes addressing potential risks and outlining solutions. If you doubt your own proposal when your boss asks you questions, it can make you appear less professional and undermine trust.

  2. Emphasize problem-solving approach: Instead of focusing on whether your proposal is good or bad, begin by discussing your approach to solving the problem. Frame your communication from an external perspective, considering the viewpoint of users and not just the internal "I" or "department." 

For example, when addressing how to improve user conversion rates, start by identifying the issues users may face, such as XX, XX, and XX, and then outline your approach to solving these problems, which may involve XX and XX. Conclude by revisiting the initial question, expressing your hope that your proposal can be considered, and offering to address any questions or suggestions your boss may have regarding the plan.

29. Why Did You Leave the Compnay You Were Interning At

This question is primarily intended to understand your reason for leaving your previous job, and it can vary from person to person. Some might find it challenging because they worry that the interviewer might secretly think they lacked the skills to stay in their previous role. For students who haven't graduated yet, it's also common and acceptable to mention tough competition for the position as a reason for leaving. This can demonstrate that they acknowledge their shortcomings and are committed to improvement, which interviewers can understand.

Answering tips:

  1. Provide a decisive reason: Avoid complaining about trivial issues like poor benefits, the absence of holiday bonuses, short lunch breaks, or small workspaces. Instead, focus on a decisive and somewhat neutral reason, such as a lack of promotion opportunities in the department, a mismatch with your personal career goals, a desire to relocate to a different city, or declining an offer to stay, among others. Avoid excessive complaints about your previous employer, as it may raise concerns about your adaptability.

  2. Praise the current company: Highlight your post-departure career reorientation and planning, emphasizing that the current company aligns with your career goals. Mention the company's strengths, such as its corporate culture, products you admire, or its positive reputation.

  3. Avoid vague responses: Don't just say, "Due to personal reasons," and then try to quickly move on. Interviewers may suspect you're hiding something and that you left because of poor performance.

Remember, being honest and professional in your response is key.

30. Do You Have Any Questions For Me

When an interview is nearing its conclusion, the interviewer often smiles and asks, "Do you have any questions for us?" Most of the time, this opportunity for you to ask questions reveals deeper aspects of the evaluation process. Failing to ask questions or asking the wrong ones can potentially damage the positive impression you've built during the interview.

You can ask the interviewer questions from these three perspectives:

  1. Ask the interviewer for more detailed information about the position, team, or company: Inquire about specific job-related tasks, the team's values, the objectives of the role, and the current status.

  2. Ask the interviewer questions related to business development or company strategy: If you are an experienced candidate or have accumulated knowledge in the industry, asking such questions can help you gain a deeper understanding of the background and development stage of products or projects, allowing you to assess the value of the position. These questions can also demonstrate your expertise.

  3. Request the interviewer to share some experiences or provide feedback: As a candidate with less experience, you can ask the interviewer, as a more experienced professional, to share some growth experiences or insights in the industry or field. Alternatively, you can ask the interviewer for feedback on your interview performance.

Final Thoughts 

Interview success, candidate shacking hands with his employer

In the 3 parts series, we have covered 30 commonly asked interview questions. We hope you found this series helpful and is now equipped with the proper skills to tackle your interview heads on! If you need any help finding for jobs, please do not hesitate to contact us, we will be more than happy to help you! All the best for your interviews and finding your dream job!

Alright! We have come to the end of our three-part series of Common Interview Questions. If you haven’t already checked out our previous two parts in this series, Part 1 and Part 2, do read on if you are interested to find out more!