It is highly likely that most have been in a job interview where you walked in with a perfect resume, submitted an excellent cover letter, but dropped the ball in the interview because of the questions you were asked. Let’s face it, job interviews are challenging, and the questions that are asked within, are tough. Knowing how to answer these questions is very important to landing the job.
Here are some of the most common challenging questions that are asked in interviews, and how to answer them.
Tell me about yourself.
It is very likely that you get asked to introduce yourself or tell the interviewer about yourself in an interview. Some candidates might think that the question is unnecessary, too, considering they’ve already submitted a resume.
An interviewer might ask this question to ease a candidate into an interview or even help guide the rest of the interview through figuring out the next questions.
When answering this question, it is possible that a candidate might end up repeating their resume, and this is quite possibly not what the interviewer wants.
To answer this question, you may speak about your current job, perhaps a recent accomplishment, and then speak about what you are looking to do in the future. Fit your answer to speak about the role you are interviewing for and the company. It might be an opportunity for you to let the interviewer know why they are the right person to be hired for the role.
What is your greatest weakness?
When an interviewer asks, ‘What is your greatest weakness,’ they want to know how self-aware a candidate is, and whether a candidate can be honest and specific when it comes to areas of improvement.
With a question like this, it is important to hit the sweet spot. An answer to this question cannot seem like your strengths are being spun around to sound like weaknesses. However, they also cannot be counterintuitive to the role you’re interviewing for.
It is important to choose a real weakness but to show a silver lining of growth and improvement. Therefore, pick a real weakness, and then explain how you are working, or have worked to overcome that weakness. Talk about how you’re weak with numbers, but took an online course in analytics to overcome it.
Why should we hire you?
This question comes in different skins. Sometimes, this question might be asked as, ‘What do you have that other candidates do not?’ And that is exactly why an interviewer will ask this. They want a candidate to show their uniqueness and separate themselves from the talent pool.
For this answer, highlight experiences that show you have the skills that the role you’re interviewing for requires. Even if the answer calls for talking about why you would be better over other candidates, keep the answer about yourself. Describe your strengths and apply your answer to the company so that you can position yourself to get the job. You may share past experiences, quantify your accomplishments, or talk about your skills and passions that make you the right fit.
What is something you did not like about your last job?
This question can be somewhat of a trap because it seems like the interviewer is looking for a negative answer. That is true, but they are also trying to find out whether there are aspects that you might end up disliking in the role you are applying for, as well.
When answering such a question, be honest, but don’t say anything negative. Try to incorporate a positive angle into your answer.
You may talk about how you’ve been satisfied with your past jobs, but are looking for more growth. You may talk about being assigned projects at the very last minute or were assigned projects that didn’t allow room to grow. Compare your incompatibilities in your last job with the job you’re applying for hypothetically.
Why do you want to work here?
When an interviewer asks a question of this nature, also sometimes as ‘Why do you want this job?’ they want to know whether your career goals can match with what the company stands for, and with its needs. It is also an opportunity for you to show that you know about the company, and its mission and operations. This will show the interviewer that you have taken the time and effort to learn about the company and figure out what makes you a good fit
This is your chance to sell yourself to your interviewer. If you have done your research, you will be able to talk about what kind of growth opportunities the company and the role will provide, and then highlight what you can bring to the table that will fulfill their needs. You may talk about how the role in the company will emphasize your greatest skill sets, and thus provide quantifiable examples of where you have used those skills, and where you can.
How do you deal with stress?
This behavioral interview question gets asked a fair bit. In asking, ‘How do you deal with stress?’ an interviewer wants to know how you handle stressful situations in the workplace, and whether you can handle job-related stress.
This means this is an opportunity to highlight your skills and use real-life examples to show how you overcame a stressful situation, rather than simply encountered it. Focus on the success part of your answer– make sure you put forth that you overcame the situation with your soft skills.
Pro tip: Do not think of situations where you were at fault.
What critical feedback do you most often receive?
An interviewer will want to know how sensitive you are to receiving feedback and criticism in an interview, and will ask you such through this question.
When answering such a question, it is best not to imply that you are constantly criticized in the workplace, but also not that you are simply perfect either. The optimal answer will show how you improved upon the feedback you received in the past and turned it into a strength. For example, you can talk about how you used to be very critical of other people’s work but learned how to manage your suggestions and give kind and helpful feedback, which has now turned into a positive attribute.