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Acing the interview: Tips and sample questions

Posted: 2015-04-30
Business people waiting for job interviewAt any job interview, the goal is to answer questions, professional or personal, in a way that the interviewer is impressed and so that you can land the job. For the same, one needs to do their homework and either be confident or project an extremely confident image in case one finds oneself blanking out. In such situations, it is also an art to avoid, or be ambiguous about, certain questions without seeming dodgy or vague. Today's interviewers, especially in the tech field, are well-versed with tactics that will put pressure on you and test your limits, and often ask questions which may have nothing to do with the field: it could be related to current affairs or could be something that requires presence of mind or it could be a complete test of wits.Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

Be transparent about your thought process

Gayle Laakmann McDowell writes, in her book The Google Résumé,  that the candidate is often asked a trick question or one which seemingly has no correct answer. In situations such as these, what is important is to show the interviewer how your mind works as, in fact, there might be no right answer. So verbalise your thought process amd confidently answer.

Be calm

Sometimes the interviewer will try their best to get under your skin. In a situation like this, what you need to do is stay calm. Be composed and think out of the box when faced  with a question or attitude that rattles you. After all, panicking never did help anybody. Then try to logically solve the problem while being courteous. Sometimes, the point of a question is not the answer but to see the way the candidates reacts to it.


Listen carefully and avoid being over eager or cutting the interviewer short. Jumping the gun here is definitely a bad idea (not to mention bad etiquette) as if you've gotten the question wrong, there's no way that you will have a shot at the right answer.
With the help of online UK career community Glassdoor and various online news portals, we have compiled a list questions that seem to have troubled brilliant tech candidates at interviews with some of the biggest names in the tech domain.
Some of these are highly technical in nature - Google is absolutely famous for this. Others can be really mindboggling or even random. Apple, for instance, may ask you to solve puzzles or quiz you on specs and such. Basically, what they look for is a combination of creativity, lateral thinking and knowhow. Their asking a candidate to write a Fibonacci series has now acquired legendary status. Then there are those questions which are designed to put you in the spot. A candidate for the role of a Retail Sales Specialist at Sony was once asked, “If you were to be a Sony product, what would you be?" It's a clever question that also tests your knowledge and research of the company.
Another question that is more of a request that often does the rounds is: Tell me a joke. This is a good way to gauge how socially amenable or cooperative you are and how easily you would build friendly rapports with colleagues at work.
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