Tough Interview Questions & Answers
During a job interview, its likely that besides the common interview questions, you will be asked a couple of tough ones too. As you prepare for your upcoming job interview, its important that youre ready to answer any questions that come your way. This means that you should be ready to answer basic interview questions but also anticipating on answering questions that are considered more challenging.
Tough interview questions come in different forms. Some questions can be considered trick questions while others are used to put you on the spot to assess how you respond in an unforeseen circumstance. Interviewers are, of course, interested in your answer, but the main goal is to assess your thought process and see how you react under pressure.
Whatever the reason is for interviewers to ask tough interview questions, the most important thing for you is to be prepared for any curveballs coming your way during the interview.
Everyone is somewhat nervous when they have a job interview. A healthy dose of nerves is actually good, and accepting this fact is the first step to doing much better in your interview. Your focus as an applicant should be on being upbeat and staying positive. Preparation is the second step that will help you land your dream job. Preparing and rehearsing answers to questions you expect is essential.
What Are Your Greatest Strengths
In your answer to this question, share your most relevant technical and soft skills. While it may feel uncomfortable to talk highly of yourself, remember that this is your opportunity to tell your interviewers what makes you a great candidateand they want to hear it. To answer, follow the formula below:
1. Share one to a few positive qualities and personal attributes:“Ive always been a natural leader…
2. Back them up with examples:“…Ive exceeded my KPIs every quarter and have been promoted twice in the past five years. I look back at those successes and know that I wouldnt have reached them if I hadnt built and led teams composed of highly skilled and diverse individuals. Im proud of my ability to get cross-functional groups on the same page…
3. Relate them back to the role for which youre interviewing:“…Ive also regularly honed my management skills through 360 reviews and candid sessions with my team, and I know continuing to build my leadership skills is something I want from my next role.
What Interests You About This Role
Hiring managers often ask this question to ensure you understand the role and give you an opportunity to highlight your relevant skills. Study the job description carefully and compare its requirements to your skills and experience. Choose a few responsibilities you particularly enjoy or excel at and focus on those in your answer.
Example answer:While I highly valued my time at my previous company, there are no longer opportunities for growth that align with my career goals. This position fits perfectly with my skill set and how Im looking to grow in my career. Im also looking for a position at a company like yours that supports underserved communities, which is a personal passion of mine.
Tell Me About A Time You Had Conflict With A Co
Conflict is an unavoidable fact of life. Personalities clash. Everyone has their own perspective. Everyone thinks theyre right and everyone wants to be right.
Sometimes we even have conflict with friends at work. We share the same vision, but we have different ideas and disagree as to how to go about it.
How Many Pennies If Stacked On Top Of Each Other Would Equal The Height Of The Empire State Building
Employers may ask questions like this to understand your thought processes. They want to gauge whether you can think analytically, deal with ambiguity and communicate clearly. It is completely appropriate and even encouraged to ask for a few minutes to gather your thoughts. Even if your answer seems silly or wrong, employers are simply looking for an answer with logical support. It is also appropriate to ask follow-up questions for more information or context, though they may or may not provide the answer.
Example:Start by breaking down a solution based on related information you might already know. What is the approximate height of the Empire State Building? You can probably deduce that 500 feet is too short and 5,000 feet is too tall. Lets say you guess roughly 1,500 feet. From there, consider the thickness of a penny. To do this, you might think about how many stacked pennies equal one inch. Lets say 15. Next, since you know there are 12 inches in a foot and youve estimated the buildings height at 1500 feet, you multiply to get an approximate answer of 270,000 pennies to equal the height of the Empire State Building.
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Q: This Ad Agency Is A Tv Shop But I See From Your Resume That You Have Far More Experience Handling Print You’re Weak On Tv Compared To Other Candidates Why Should I Hire You For The Job And Not Someone Else Who Has The Credentials That We’re Really Looking For
A: I have worked in advertising for ten years at some of the smaller, creative boutiques that don’t handle TV on as regular a basis as the big, global shops. But one thing I learned from these ad agencies is that print and TV are only mediums. The real thing that we offer clients is our ideas. And a strong, solid, award-winning idea will work just as beautifully in TV as in print.
So while I may have fewer TV spots on my reel as other candidates, hopefully, you’ll agree that my ideas are stronger than theirs. Hire me for my ideas, and when you do, I promise you that they will translate seamlessly into TV.
Use The Star Interview Method
The situation, task, action and result interview method is a helpful strategy you can use to keep stories relevant, focused, and complete. To use the method, begin by describing the situation you were in. This could be the role you had or where you were working. Next, for task, describe what happened and your involvement in the ensuing events. Use the action part of your answer to outline the steps you took, and, finally, describe the result.
Example:“I worked at the front desk of a popular fitness gym selling memberships. One day, an irate member approached me, demanding a refund. I asked if he’d like to speak to me in a more private location away from other customers and then I calmly asked him the reason for wanting a refund. I listened while he explained his frustrations. By remaining patient and understanding, I was able to deescalate the situation and resolve his concerns without cancelling his membership.”
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How To Answer How Would You Deal With A Difficult Customer In An Interview
It’s often important for customer service professionals to know how to calm and assist customers who are angry or upset. In an interview for a customer service position, you might hear the question, “How would you deal with a difficult customer?” Your answer can help inform hiring managers of your conflict resolution skills, your ability to remain calm under pressure, and your strategies for handling displeased customers.
In this article, we give you the steps to answer how you’d deal with a difficult customer, provide strategies you can reference in your answer, and list examples of ways you can respond to show hiring managers your customer service skills.
Tell Me How You’ve Handled A Difficult Situation
Chances are that you’ve faced some awkward, difficult, and possibly even dangerous situations on the job. How you handle them says a lot about you as an employee and as a person.
The key to this tricky interview question is to make sure that you talk about a situation that wasn’t your fault. If you’re handling a difficult situation, but it’s obvious that you created your own troubles, it doesn’t look good. The interviewer wants to see how you handle difficult situations, and if you are able to think outside the box and keep the company’s big picture in mind.
Try to think of a time when outside forces created a stressful situation. Did you step in? Were you able to create a solution that could make everyone happy? This is your chance to show that you have problem-solving skills. Showcase these skills using the STAR method, which will help you effectively organize your response when answering this type of question.
Describe A Time You Dealt With A Difficult Colleague And What You Did
In every workplace, there will always be a difficult coworker. The employer wants to evaluate how you deal with conflict, and this again is a very hard interview question because you have to choose your answer carefully.
First, start by framing your answer using the STARR method by outlining the Situation, Tasks, Actions, Results, and how it is Relevant.
Next, choose a situation where you demonstrated a level of understanding or empathy. It may be tempting to tell your interviewer of a colleague who was lazy or difficult to work with because they had a horrible attitude, but this is not the time to make your former colleague look bad. The hiring manager will not care about that. What they do care about is how you go about dealing with a difficult co-worker.
What they want to hear:You can work with all different types of people and can resolve conflict on your own.What they dont want to hear: That you go to your supervisor regarding every difficult situation to complain.
Always try to end the interview question with a positive answer.
Tricky Interview Questions With Example Answers
As you interview for new jobs, youre likely to face some questions that seem vague or particularly difficult to answer. Understanding how to prepare for tricky interview questions, riddles and logic puzzles can help you stand out from other interviewing candidates. In this article, we provide you with a selection of tricky interview questions as well as sample answers to help you practice for them.
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Tell Me About A Time You Overcame An Obstacle
Employers ask this question to understand how you deal with difficulties. You can use the STAR method when answering behavioral interview questions like this. Provide a brief summary of the situation, your role in the situation, the action you put into place to resolve the issue, and how the issue was resolved as a result.
Example:I worked as a retail manager at a department store during prom season. A customer purchased a dress online and had it delivered to the store where it was accidentally purchased by another customer. Before calling the original buyer, I located the same dress at another location nearby. I ordered it to be pressed and delivered to her home the morning of prom with a gift card to thank her for her understanding. The customer immediately wrote us a five-star review on several review sites.
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Your Weaknesses Can Be Opportunities
Its likely that youll be asked to talk about your weaknesses during the interview Miller hates this question, but recognizes that its one most people will encounter. That question is a double-edged sword, he said. You need to show that your weaknesses are things that you need to improve on, but that they arent going to affect your chances of getting the opportunity.
Be honest about what areas you need to improve upon, but dont forget to describe exactly how you plan to carry through on that improvement.
Often the best way to counter that question is to turn your weaknesses into strengths, or at least chances for growth, he said. For example, if you tend to be overly detail focused and independent when working on a project, you can talk about the ways youre learning to share your ideas and accept feedback from others in order to come up with stronger solutions. Be honest about what areas you need to improve upon, but dont forget to describe exactly how you plan to carry through on that improvement.
Symonds agrees focus your answer on where you want to go. Showing that you have a growth mindset is more beneficial to an interviewer than just listing your weaknesses, she said. Talking about opportunities for improvement can show a company that youre a self-reflective person with a growth mindset.
Tell Me A Little About Yourself
This is a common opening interview question. Instead of launching straight into the interview, your interviewer asks you to introduce yourself. Since this question is so broad, what theyâre really asking is âhow well do you express yourself?â Though there are many ways to answer this question, we recommend you give a brief overview of your career. Things to include: recent jobs, skills, and certifications.
You can cap off your answer with a little insight into your personal hobbies, but it shouldnât be the focus of your answer. The best way to be prepared for this question? Have a short work bio ready youâll be amazed at how often it comes in handy. Chances are once youâre finished, something youâve mentioned will lead to your interviewerâs next question.
Q: What Are The Biggest Risks You’ve Taken In Recent Years Which Ones Worked Out The Best And Which Ones Failed
A: I used to work at a large, global PR firm where life was sleepy, but comfortable. It was a “white-shoe” organization people left every night at 6 p.m. and our clients were big biotechnology companies that really trusted the top management of our firm. After a couple of years went by, I felt like I wasn’t learning anything new, and I confess that I began to feel bored. I thought that if I took a job at a smaller PR firm, I would feel more challenged.
I joined a small PR boutique that had only been in business for five years. This turned out to be a colossal mistake. The top management was terribly unprofessional, plus they didn’t have the contacts with newspapers, TV, and cable stations that we really needed to service our clients properly. I canvassed my own contacts, of course, but I was the only person in the entire firm who had any contacts! Promises were made to clients that couldn’t be kept. It was a fiasco.
After six months, I called up the large, global PR firm and begged for my old job back. Fortunately, they hadn’t replaced me. They slapped my wrist for being disloyal, but they happily rehired me. I’ve been working there ever since, grateful, but bored … which is why I’m meeting with you today.
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What Skill Do You Often Struggle To Develop
Employers may ask this question to determine what your weaknesses are. When answering this, it’s important to be humble and admit to a skill you have yet to develop. Try to mention a skill that has little impact on the primary duties of the job for which you’re interviewing. It can also be helpful to indicate your efforts to develop this skill, as that shows you’re dedicated to professional growth.
Answer:“In the past, I’ve struggled to develop my negotiation skills. I’d like to use this skill to better serve clients and assert my ideas for group projects. I’ve been working on improving my communication skills and confidence by taking public speaking courses, which I believe can consequently improve my negotiation skills.”
What Are Your Short Term Career Goals
The reason why the interviewer asks this tough question
Your career goals are brought up during job interviews because the interviewer wants to find out a couple of things. First, they want to know if you plan on staying at the company. Interviewers want to find out how likely you are to leave if you get another opportunity.
Second, it shows if you have a plan in your career and how you plan on developing yourself. Furthermore, your answer gives them an understanding of if your professional goals and expectations of the position match what they can offer you.
What the interviewer is looking for in your answer
The interviewer wants to know more about your career goals. If the company decides to hire you, they want to create a career path based on what motivates you. Therefore, its important that you are able to demonstrate your goals as they will be used as a starting point for learning and development processes.
Example answer to What are your short-term career goals?
My short-term goals are fairly simple. I want to further develop and use my communication and project management skills in this job. Im focused on gaining as much experience as I can over the next years to eventually grow into a position that will allow me to continue to use these skills while also managing my own team. I want to achieve these goals by working on different projects and different teams.
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Prepare & Practice Tough Interview Questions
Once you get a better idea of what questions you can expect during your interview, its time to prepare and practice answers to those questions. Here you can find more information on answering:
Based on the competencies, skills, and experience required for the position, you can start preparing your answers. A lot of companies are looking for similar skills such as teamwork, leadership, management, problem-solving, adaptability, creative thinking, time-management, etc. Rank the skills on importance in relation to the requirements of the job that you are interviewing for.
For behavioral questions, based on your ranking, you can start thinking about past work experiences in which you successfully demonstrated the required skills. The STAR interview technique is the most efficient way to structure your answers.
Give the interviewer an answer in the form of a story and structure this story logically. Use the STAR interview technique to do this. STAR is an acronym that stands for a situation , your task in that situation, the actions you took, and what results you got based on your actions. These are the basic steps you take in your walkthrough.