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Here are answers to more interview questions, along with tips from senior HR managers and industry professionals.

Question: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
The aim of this question is to test your foresightedness and also gauge if you plan for the future. Stick to professional goals and aspirations while answering. The interviewer does not want to hear about a dream vacation you plan to take, or the industry you would like to be in. Talk about company related objectives. This is an opportunity for you to show that you want to succeed in the company and are keen on creating a career path there.

Sample answer: As your company has a strong performance-based culture, in five years I see myself playing a key role of Brand Manager, working on your marketing initiatives.

Tip from Abbas Rizvi, Director, Eternity Placements (New Delhi): "I recommend that candidates give some thought to personal and professional aspirations, and then frame the answer accordingly. Aspiring to be the CEO or Director in five years may be unrealistic for an entry level executive. So, while enthusiasm is appreciated, it has to be aligned with the company's growth plans and the candidates' personal goals."

Question: Why should we hire you?
Being specific and highlighting your strengths versus the competition is the key here. Stay away from generalities like 'I am the best' or 'I am very hard working and dedicated', etc. Talk in quantifiable terms that will make you stand out and pinpoint the qualities you have that are valuable to the company. Give real examples that show them you are best-suited for the job.

Sample answer: In the past, I have implemented projects on attrition management, helping bring down employee turnover rates by 4 per cent. I believe this experience and knowledge will add value as employee retention is amongst your company's top priorities.

Tip from M S Ramesh, Senior HR Manager, NTPC (Noida): "I like it when candidates have done some research about our revenue, about the challenges we are facing, before telling us how their experience relates to that. I would recommend that they point out things they may have done in their previous companies that could address our current problems."


Question: What if you don't make it in this interview?
This is often used as a stress question to check your spontaneity. The idea is to see if you have a back up plan and how you handle rejection. You need to be assertive and confident while answering this question. You can say you will be disappointed, adding that you will continue to move ahead in your career with the same enthusiasm and vigour.

Sample answer:
I will be disappointed if that happens, but will work on specific feedback and try again when the opportunity presents itself.

Tip from Rohini Seth, psychologist and organisational behaviour consultant (New Delhi): "I would recommend that candidates have a back up plan ready -- like going back to their old jobs or joining some other company in a similar field. It pays to be honest and tell the company your plans. I once heard a candidate respond to this question with 'I will join the competitor as I have an offer from them but was keen on working with your brand. We appreciated his honesty and hired him."


Question: Why do you want to make a career in ... (Sales, IT, HR, etc)?
The interviewer wants to learn what you know about the chosen career. Knowledge about the domain and the job shows the interviewer you are interested and demonstrates initiative on your part.

Sample answer: I have always been a people's person and counselling is a skill that comes naturally to me. Armed with a Master's degree in HR, I believe a job as an HR executive will give me an opportunity to put my natural skill sets and education to practice.

Tip from Prabh Sharan, Training Manager, Kingfisher Airlines (Mumbai): "I would recommend that candidates present their interest and education as strong reasons for choosing a certain career. If you are making a career shift, then explaining the rational for such a move is also expected. Being honest helps. I interviewed a candidate who said she would like to take up a job that pays her the most and the job we offered fitted that bill as she had some financial responsibilities in the family. She came across as sincere and dedicated, and we offered her the job."

As it is said earlier, it's all about the answers.
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