How to Answer Tough Interview Questions

Doubts and ideas concept - Drawing a lightbulb-headed businessman with hovering questions marks

 

Have you ever stumbled through an interview because you got tripped up by a tough question? It can be intimidating to sit in front of a potential employer while they grill you on why you left your last job or what mistakes you’ve made. While we can’t list every single question the interviewer will ask you, there are common questions that can frazzle even the most cool-tempered job seeker. If you know the trick to nailing these questions, you’ll go into your next interview confident and ready for anything.

 

“What are some of your weaknesses?”

 

You thought they’d ask only about your strengths, didn’t you? Unfortunately, you have to answer this question, but how do you make your weaknesses sound good? Putting a positive spin on your answer is the key. For example, you may want to talk about how you’ve overcome your weakness and what you’ve done to improve yourself. Turning your weakness into an achievement will not only make answering the question easier, but it will impress the person interviewing you.

 

“Why did you leave your last employer?”

 

For some, this can be an easy question to answer. Perhaps your company was making cuts and you happened to be one of the unlucky ones. Maybe the company closed its doors. However, if you left because of a dispute with your employer and decided the environment wasn’t for you, that’s a different matter. Being diplomatic about your answer is essential. Interviewers are turned off by a candidate’s complaints about their terrible former boss, so stay neutral and something like “I needed a change of pace.”

 

“Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?”

 

This question has many variations. Some say two years, five years, or even ten years. Whatever you do, don’t admit it if you see this job as a temporary position. Employers don’t want to hire someone who’s aiming to leave after a short time. The cost of training an employee isn’t worth it if they’ll be gone soon after the training is done. Be enthusiastic about your potential to rise through the ranks, just don’t get too lofty. Arrogance is another turnoff for employers. Have at least some prior knowledge about how promotion works in the company you’re applying to.

 

“Why should we hire you?”

 

This is your opportunity to showcase your character and your skills. Many candidates fail this question because they either come off as too weak or too arrogant. You don’t need to be modest, but don’t overdo it and make promises you can’t keep. Let your potential employer know what you can do. Think of reasons why you are suited to the job and expand upon them. It helps to research the company ahead of time so you know what skills are required and which ones you need to improve upon.

 

There are a lot of tough interview questions out there, so don’t be discouraged if you stumble upon one that you don’t know the answer to. Each interview is a learning process and should be treated as such should you fail to get hired. What are some tough questions you’ve run into in an interview? How did you answer them? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.