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This article was first published 13 years ago

Job interview: 7 answers you should NOT give

Last updated on: December 28, 2010 15:03 IST

Kshipra Singh

If you are going to appear for a personal interview, following are some of the most expected questions you will be asked. Although these are simple and straight questions yet the way you answer them says a lot about your appropriateness for the position.

While most of the times we talk about how one should answer the questions in a personal interview, it is also important to know how one should not answer these questions.

The right answer to a question is absolutely dependent on the situation and cannot be carved in stone but knowing the right and wrong approach to answer these questions will help you in dealing with the situation. This article tells you the wrong/ right approach to answer some of the most frequently asked tricky questions:

1. Why does this role interest you? Or why have you applied for this job?

Wrong approach: This role interests me because I believe it will offer me a lot of challenges which I love to face and I'll get to learn a lot in this role & progress in my career.

Right approach: Rather than discussing about what the job can do for you, match your skills, experience and personal qualities with the requirements of the job and tell the interviewer that since you have all these qualities, you have applied for this position.

Kshipra Singh is a contributor to, a website that offers a common platform for employers and candidates to discuss about the career opportunities.

Illustrations: Dominic Xavier

Discussing weaknesses

2. What is your greatest weakness?

Wrong approach -1: I don't have any weakness.

Wrong approach 2: I can't take pressure (if you have applied for a position where you know pressure is always going to exist, for e.g. if you have applied for a position in sales)

Right approach: Every human being has weaknesses. The key to answer this question lies in admitting that you too have weaknesses and offer either a completely unrelated weakness which wouldn't have an impact on the role you have applied for or present one of your strengths as weaknesses.

You can also analyse the situation and if the interview is going in a light environment, you can also give a light answer to this question for e.g. 'My son is my biggest weakness'.

Highlight personal qualities

3. What is your greatest achievement?

Wrong approach: I stood first in the merit list for my class Xth board exams. This says that you didn't achieve anything as big as that after class Xth.

Right approach: Find an answer to this question in recent past and highlight the personal qualities you needed to achieve it.

Never badmouth your boss

5. Why do you want to quit your present job?

Wrong approach: I am not liking the work environment or my boss is not good or the salary they are paying is too less.

Right approach: The reasons for you to leave a job could be numerous but ensure that you do not badmouth your boss or the company during a job interview.

You have not come to discuss a problem in the interview rather your purpose is to find a solution to your problem in the form of a new employer. So, focus your answer on 'better prospects'.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

Handling difficult situations

5. You do not have all the experience we are seeking for this position.

Wrong approach: Getting nervous and saying 'I'll learn, sir'.

Right approach: Do not get uncomfortable if you do not have all the experience required for the position and also it is important that you do not behave as a 'Job Beggar'.

The recruiter has a 'need' and you could be a 'possible solution'. Match you skills and personal qualities with the job requirement and say that you have most of what it takes to perform this job.

However, every new job needs a person to learn something new and you are quite good at picking up new things fast. You can back this up with an example from your previous jobs where you picked up new things.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh

Salary negotiation

6. Your expected salary?

Wrong approach: I expect 17.5K for this job or a 10-15 percent increase from my last job.

Right approach: Do not jump at a figure when asked about expected salary. Ask the interviewer about the salary they would offer for this position.

There's a possibility that the company has fixed salary for each level. If at all you have to be the one to spell out the figure first, mention a range which is not too broad.

For e.g. "I expect something around mid-forties for this position". Keeping the range too broad may get you something towards the lower end.


Research the company

7. Do you want to ask us something about the company?

Wrong approach: No, I don't have any questions.

Right approach: It is important that you read about the company before you go for the interview and ask some intelligent questions about the business.

This shows your level of interest in the position and your preparation for the interview. If you do not have questions related to business, you can ask about your growth prospects in the organization.