10 Tough Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Why Should I Hire You?

The most overlooked question is also the one most candidates are unprepared to answer. This is often because job applicants don’t do their homework on the position. During the interview it is your responsibility to illustrate why you are the most qualified candidate to fill the position. Spend extra time reviewing the job description and qualifications very closely to identify the skills and knowledge that are critical to the position, and then identify experiences from your past that demonstrate those skills and knowledge.

Why Is There A Gap In Your Work History?

Employers understand that people lose their jobs and it’s not always easy to find a new one fast. When answering this question, list activities you’ve been doing during any period of unemployment. Freelance projects, volunteer work or taking care of family members all let the interviewer know that time off was spent productively.

Tell Me One Thing You Would Change About Your Last Job

Beware over sharing or making negative comments about former coworkers or supervisors, as you might be burning bridges. But an additional trouble point in answering this query is showing you to be someone who can’t vocalize their problems as they arise. Why didn’t you correct the issue at the time? Be prepared with an answer that doesn’t criticize a colleague or paint you in an unflattering light.

What Would The Person Who Likes You Least In The World Say About You?

Highlight an aspect of your personality that could initially seem negative, but is ultimately a positive. An example: Impatience. Used incorrectly this can be bad in a workplace. But stressing timeliness and always driving home deadlines can build your esteem as a leader.  That would be a great quality to show off in an interview.

What’s The Biggest Risk You’ve Ever Taken?

Some roles require a high degree of tenacity and the ability to pick oneself up after getting knocked down. Providing examples of your willingness to take risks shows both your ability to fail and rebound, but also your ability to make risky or controversial moves that succeed.

Tell me about a time you failed.

This is one of the most popular interview questions because it’s so difficult for most people to gracefully discuss failure without worrying that they’ll say something that turns off their prospective employer. The best way to answer this question is honestly is to highlight a failure and then follow up with what you learned and how you changed. Interviewers are less concerned with the failure than how you handled it (you are human after all). They want to know that you are capable of thoughtful growth and can handle stress under pressure.

What is your greatest weakness?

This question is always difficult to answer, and everyone has a different opinion on how to answer it. Many experts advise finding a way to turn a negative into a positive – for example, by stating that you work too hard, have perfectionist tendencies, or are too passionate. There’s another possible approach, though: being honest. Many interviewers are not really looking to find out whether a candidate’s organizational skills could use improvement, or that they struggle with presenting to large groups or even leading large teams. Interviewers are really just trying to find out whether they have self-awareness, whether they are able to be critical and most importantly, whether they’re able to tell the truth –  especially when it’s difficult.

What can you tell me about our company and/or industry?

Again, do your homework. Check out the company website and their “About Us” section. Most public companies post Investor Information which typically lists their Management Team, Board of Directors and past financial performance. Write down a few key points that you can cite when asked. Interviewers want to know that you’re interested in more than just a job.

What sets you apart from other applicants?

The interviewer who asks you this is really probing your readiness for the job, your ability to handle it, your willingness to work hard and your fitness for the job. Show your readiness by describing how your experience, career progression, qualities and achievements make you an asset. Keep it professional, and focus on the value you’ll bring to the position. Highlight your ability by discussing your specific skills and accomplishments, but don’t forget to show your interest in the job itself.

Where do you hope to be in three years?

This question is often asked of recent college graduates, and the worst answer is to say that you want to be president of the company or have the interviewer’s position. Instead, talk about what motivates you especially what will motivate you on this job and what you hope to have accomplished.

Do you have any questions? Can you think of anything else you’d like to add?

Don’t say “no,” or that everything has been thoroughly discussed. If you think the interviewer has any doubts, now’s the time to restate why you’re the most logical candidate for the opening. Show your interest in the company by preparing some key questions in advance. Asking about corporate culture or what the interviewer likes the best about the company will give you insight and let the interviewers know that you’re interviewing them as well.

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