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How to Answer Six of the Trickiest Interview Questions

Starting a new job can be stressful. Not only are you in an unfamiliar environment and extremely nervous, but you’re all too aware of the one big thing standing in the way of you and your dream job – the interview. Interview questions can be tricky, and they can catch you off balance and add to the already mounting pressure you have on your shoulders. You know you need to impress and it all comes down to this. Read through the next couple of steps and see what interview tips are available that are easy to remember and will help you nail that job interview. Along with sample questions and other possible questions the interviewer could ask, we have all the answers that will help you to show you’re right for the job. Good luck!

1) The basic questions 

Most interviewers will ask you general questions about you and your previous job to try and get to know you a little better and make you feel comfortable. It may seem informal, but you still need to answer in a succinct way.

Question: ‘Tell me about yourself’

Answer: Look at the job speculation and pin down what skills and qualities are needed. Talk about your most recent role, mentioning two or three ways you could meet the needs for the job, giving examples from your most recent role.

2) Why you want the job questions 

Interviewers often want to know about your career history – why you went for certain jobs and why you didn’t take others. They especially want to know why you are interested in their job.

Question: ‘Why are you looking for another job?’

Answer: Talk about wanting to seek more of a challenge, greater job security, or greater rewards. Do not talk about any personal conflict between you and your old place of work. When talking about your ideal job, do not fall into the trap talking about salary or benefits. Instead say how you could contribute to the organization.

3) Personal qualities questions 

It is an interviewer’s right to ask lots of questions, especially about you. They need to make sure they are hiring the right person for the job, who will not only work hard and put 100% effort in, but will also have people skills, be a team player and expand the brand or organization.

Question: ‘What is your greatest strength?’

Answer: Identify a key skill that is required for this particular role and talk about how one of your strengths is this, remembering to include an example of how you have used that strength at work. If you are being asked about a strength, you will be asked a weakness too. Nobody is superhuman, so come prepared with a few examples, and always suggest ways you are working to improve your weakness.

4) Handling hypothetical questions 

Interviewers will often ask ‘How would you’ and ‘what if’ questions to see whether your approach to situations match their expectations.

Question: ‘How would you deal with change?’

Answer: Employers want to hear that you are adaptable and flexible. Workplaces are often revamped, especially in this fast-paced, modern world. To strengthen your argument, try to give an example of how you have adapted to change at a previous place of employment, e.g. a restructure or volunteering to do something that was a little out of your comfort zone.

5) Responding to competency-based questions 

Talk through an example that actually happened to you and be ready to talk about it in a lot of detail. Don’t talk in broad terms about how you generally tackle those situations. These questions are asked to find out if an interviewee is bluffing their way in to getting a job.

Question: ‘Describe a situation where you helped a colleague in trouble’

Answer: Look at the key skills and qualities listen in the job advert, but also think about the general skills that aren’t listed. Explain in two or three sentences the situation you faced, talk about the actions and steps you took to resolve the situation, and finally finish your example by summarising the results you achieved.

6) Problem-solving questions

Every day different problems crop up at work and you need to be able to show a potential employer that you have good analytic and problem-solving skills.

Question: ‘Describe a time where you had a difficult decision to make’

Answer: Don’t spend too much time talking about the problem. Instead, talk about how you dealt with it and the steps you took to tackle it, including how doing so benefited your employer.  Be prepared to talk in detail and make sure you sell yourself and not the rest of your team.

For more advice for tricky interview questions and ways to answer them, read Smart Answers to Tricky Interview Questions: How to prepare for a job-winning interview (£8.99, Robinson) by Dr Rob Yeung