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Tips on Answering CV Based Interview Questions

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Components of a CV:

1.    Contact Details

2.    Personal Statement/ Objectives

3.    Academics

4.    Skills/ Languages Spoken

5.    Projects

6.    Work Experience

7.    Extra-curricular Achievements

8.    Interests/ Hobbies/ Passions

9.    References/ Declarations

Recruiters consider it fair game to ask questions related to anything on your Resume.

1.    Use your CV to guide the course of the interview towards your strengths.

2.    Avoid mentioning projects/ skills related to a domain if you are uncomfortable fielding questions related to that domain.

Commonly asked questions on Career Objectives:

Why do you want to work as a Content Writer <or any other role>? Why do you want to work for us? What do you know about our company?

“Writing is my hobby. I have been writing blogs for the past 3 years. You can go through some of my posts at www.myblog.com. I intend to write a book someday. This role is perfect for me!”

“I have been building software Apps as a hobby for a while now. Some simple 2D games that I have built are available on GitHub. With this job, I would be paid to work on something that I have already been pursuing as a hobby.”

If you have included a Personal Statement or Career Objectives statement, ensure that it aligns with the role that you are applying for.

Why do you want to work for us? What do you know about our company?

1.    Do your homework. Go through the website of the company you’re applying for. Understand its mission and values.

2.    Understand the customers of this company and how it delivers value to those customers.

3.    If possible, get introduced to an existing employee in that organization using your network of contacts / alums. Have a conversation about the company with your contact before the interview. Mention it during the interview to showcase your diligence.

Commonly asked questions on Education/ Academics with some suggested answers:

Why did you decide to become an Engineer? / Why did you decide to focus on English for your B.A.?

“I’ve always liked tinkering with electronic and mechanical devices as a child. I like building stuff, taking things apart and generally figuring out how things work. Engineering was a natural fit for me!”

“I have always been a voracious book worm. I guess you could even say that I come from a family of book worms because everyone in my family reads a lot. English and Literature are my passions.”

Use this question as an opportunity to talk about your passions in life and how they align with your chosen education stream.

Why are your grades so poor?

“I really felt free for the first time in my life during my college years. I was used to being motivated by parental pressure and struggled to be disciplined without external motivation. But I believe that I have now acquired the discipline to become a self-motivated, responsible person.”

“I was nominated to be the Placement Representative <or any extracurricular activity>. I prioritized that role over my academics. I think that I have learnt more through real world organizational experience than through books.”

Acknowledge your lack of focus and discipline. Express your regret at the poor effort you have put in academically and point out reasons why you are on the mend.

Questions on Skills/ Languages/ Software Tools:

1.    How does the JAVA Compiler ensure platform independence?

2.    Why don’t you introduce yourself in French?

3.    What is a Pivot Table?

If you mention in your Resume that you are proficient in a particular domain, you can definitely expect questions in that domain. Be prepared to field questions related to fundamentals in that domain.

Commonly asked questions on Academic/ Extra-Curricular Projects:

Explain this project in very simple terms as though you’re talking to a seven-year old. / What are the potential real-world applications of this project?

“I built an automated braking system that uses Infrared sensors to detect if there are obstacles ahead and automatically apply brakes. It could be used in cars and trains to avoid collisions.”

“My team analyzed all available data compression techniques to identify the optimal compression technique for specific scenarios – streaming videos, sending secure file attachments etc. This graph explains our findings in detail.”

Avoid jargon. Explain everything in simple terms while clearly conveying the idea.

Focus on real-world applications of your projects. Have a few illustrations where the concepts are applicable and explain those in detail.

Represent information visually. Bring a folder with charts documenting key findings from your project. Or you can always draw a quick graph on paper or on whiteboard summarizing key findings.

What are your key learnings from this project? What were your contributions?

“Primarily, I would say that I learnt using MATLAB for this project and I have become quite proficient at it.”

“I learnt the importance of early feedback. We often interacted with our assigned Professor much early during the project and hence we were able to incorporate all his inputs so that we could really make an impression.”

Have a list of bullet points on learnings – technical as well as non-technical. Be ready to talk about them if asked.

If this was a team project, you should be prepared to answer when asked about your specific contributions to the project.

Commonly asked questions on Work Experience – Full Time as well as Internships:

What were your roles and responsibilities? / How did you help the company and its customers?

“I worked in Sales, specifically Tele-Calling. I would call up leads and explain our value proposition. I achieved 24 conversions totaling $5300 during my two month internship. When a conversion happened, I was happy because I was adding value to my company and to the customer who made the purchase!”

“I built a free Mobile App for making appointments with dentists online. Consumers benefited by being able to find highly rated dentists and book appointments. Dentists received more patients. My proposal to remind users to schedule a check-up if they had not visited a dentist in 2 years was accepted and built into the App.”

1.    Link your daily tasks to the value created for the company as well as for its customers.

2.    Use specific metrics to measure the impact of your work.

3.    Highlight any process/ requirement change proposed by you during your work.

What were your learnings? / If you were to do this job again from scratch, what would you do differently?

“I have learnt the importance of asking for critical feedback from my managers and from my peers. If I were to do it all again, I would pro-actively schedule feedback sessions myself to understand where I can improve myself.”

“The biggest learning was the importance of the User Interface in driving engagement. Most users would move on if they didn’t find something useful or interesting within the first 6 seconds. A website has to make a fantastic first impression to gain traction.”

Have a list of items that you have learnt from your job/ internship.

1.    It could be technical: you have now become proficient in SQL.

2.    It could be process-oriented: you have started tracking tasks in a dashboard and you regularly keep your manager updated on progress

3.    It could be at the business level: you have learnt the importance of customer-centricity to organizational success.

Commonly asked questions on Extra-Curricular Activities, Interests and Passions:

What have you learned from your hobbies? / How did you benefit from attending this event? / What paper did you present at this seminar?

(contd..) Tips on Answering CV Based Interview Questions - https://learningpundits.com/module-view/2-cv-based-interview-questions/1-tips-for-answering-cv-based-interview-questions/

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