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How To Answer Tough Interview Questions

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Questions About Your Career Goals

How to answer tough interview questions

When the interviewer asks you about your career goals, youll want to convey your ambition for the future and stress your interest in learning and growing in the opportunity. Your interviewer may want you to start with your college graduation and explain the rationale behind each of your career moves. Also, they may ask you to explain the thinking process that went into making each of those decisions. They might also ask:

  • How many hours a day/week do you need to work to get the job done?
  • If you stayed with your current company, what would be your next move?
  • How do you measure success?
  • Describe your dream job.
  • Describe a job that would be your worst nightmare.
  • If you were the CEO of this company, what would be the top two things you would do?

How to Respond: Examples of the Best Answers

Tough Interview Questions And Answers To Ace Them

Kat Boogaard

If you were asked to pick just one adjective to describe job interviews, I bet this one would appear pretty close to the top of your list nerve-wracking.

Your palms get sweaty. Your knees get shaky. Your mouth gets dry.

Youre feeling so rattled that when the interviewer asks you a question, you draw a complete blank. Your jaw hangs open and you hear nothing but the taunting sound of crickets rattling around in your brain.

Sound familiar? We all deal with some anxiety about job interviews. In fact, one study reported that a whopping 92 percent of people get nervous ahead of an interview.

Heres the thing: You probably wont be able to eliminate those jitters entirely. But, as with anything, some adequate preparation can help you feel a little more confident and at ease.

I know what youre thinking now job interviews feel almost impossible to prepare for when theres no way for you to know exactly what that employer is going to ask you. And, thats true. You dont have a crystal ball that spits out every single question youll be tasked with answering.

However, there are some tough questions that get asked again and again. So, chances are pretty high that theyll come up in your own interview.

Here are some tough interview questions and answers to help you out.

Want to learn more?

How Do You Handle Conflict With A Colleague

Employers ask this question to gauge your problem-solving skills and ability to resolve conflicts professionally. Strong communication skills are important in any job, so emphasize this skill with a relevant example when answering.

Example:”I rarely have conflicts with my colleagues as I prefer to create strong working relationships by openly communicating with everyone. When it does happen, however, I ask to meet with my colleague in private to discuss our conflict. Having other people around makes the situation more stressful and can lead to added confusion. When we’re alone, I suggest that we each take the opportunity to discuss the issue, how it made us feel, and our views on it. Together, we come up with a solution to the problem with mutual respect.”

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Tell Me About Something You Would Have Done Differently At Work

What They Want to Know: This is another version of a weakness question, so think carefully about which example you would like to share. Emphasize how you learned from the situation and / or were able to turn it to your advantage.

I made the mistake, back when I was just starting out, of thinking that I shouldnt ask other people for help . I was afraid that this would make me look incompetent or needy. What happened, as a result, was that I made a few mistakes that could have been avoided had I simply asked a peer about what approach I should take. It didnt take long for me to realize that it was more productive to ask for help .

More Answers:Do you have any pet peeves?

Common Job Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

How to answer tough interview questions and best answers

Interviews can be high stress, anxiety-driving situations, especially if its your first interview. A little practice and preparation always pays off. While we cant know exactly what an employer will ask, here are 10 common interview questions along with advice on how to answer them. The questions include:

  • Could you tell me something about yourself and describe your background in brief?: Interviewers like to hear stories about candidates. Make sure your story has a great beginning, a riveting middle, and an end that makes the interviewer root for you to win the job.
  • How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?: Share an instance when you remained calm despite the turmoil. If its a skill youre developing, acknowledge it and include the steps youre taking to respond better to pressure in the future.
  • What are your salary expectations?: Before you walk in for your first interview, you should already know what the salary is for the position youre applying to. Check out websites such as Glassdoor, Fishbowl, or for salary information. You could also ask people in the field by reaching out to your community on LinkedIn.

Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here.

Below is a list of 10 common job interview questions, along with answering techniques that will help you dazzle your prospects, and hopefully, secure the role you want.

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Whats Something You Didnt Like About Your Last Job

Here, your interviewer wants to see if youre respectful when speaking about past issues. It can be difficult to reframe your answer if you left your job because of a toxic atmosphere, discrimination, or bad boss, but its important to not trash talk your former employer in the interview. Instead, focus on an aspect of the job that made it more challenging to reach your professional goals.

Bad answers:

  • I was forced to stay in the office from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. every night, so I didnt like that I had no work-life balance. Plus, I had zero feedback on my work.

  • My coworkers were very different from me, and I had a very hard time getting along with them and collaborating in an efficient way.

Good answers:

  • I learned a lot in my last job, but ultimately, I didnt feel like there was enough room for me to grow professionally and be challenged within the company. The advancement opportunity here is something that initially drew me to send in my resume.

  • The lack of stability. After three company acquisitions, I had five bosses in three years, which made it difficult to establish professional connections.

Read more:Ask a Recruiter: How Can I Move On After Working in a Toxic Environment?

What Do You Expect From A Supervisor

What They Want to Know: Your interviewer is interested in knowing whether you, as an employee, are coachable and have reasonable expectations of your supervisor answering this question negatively wont earn you much credit. Provide an honest example of the management style that is most likely to motivate you to do your best work.

Sample Answer: I find I thrive in situations where my supervisors take the time to provide me with constructive feedback about my performance. This allows me to know that Im on the right track. I also appreciate it when they have an open door policy where their staff feel encouraged to approach them about issues.

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The Toughest Interview Questions And Answers

We live in a world full of cut-throat competition. Irrespective of which industry you belong to, landing your dream job has become extremely difficult and tricky. People today work determinedly at every stage, right from creating an impressive resume to building an awesome personal brand just to stay ahead of the curve. It is thus natural to get nervous when you are about to face your interview rounds.

While you can never exactly know what your recruiter might ask, there are certain questions that usually pop up. Over the years, recruiters around the world have refined their questionnaires to get some important answers from their candidates. How you answer these questions can decide your chances of getting your desired job.

In this article, we will explore some of these tough interview questions. We will understand why recruiters ask these questions and the answers they expect from candidates. In this manner, you will have a fair idea of the meaning behind some of these tough interview questions and answers and feel much more confident while facing your upcoming interview rounds.

Here’s what this article will cover:

  • Why Are Tough Interview Questions Important?
  • Why Do Employers Ask Tough Interview Questions?
  • Most Common Difficult Interview Questions With Example Answers
  • Difficult Personality Based Questions
  • Tips to answer some of the tough questions
  • How to make the best impression?
  • Why Are Tough Interview Questions Important?

    Difficult Personality Based Questions

    How To Answer 10 Tough Interview Questions + Example Answers

    6 MOST Difficult Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

    How many pounds does a tough interview question weigh?

    Answering tough interview questions is one aspect of job searching that we all fear. Interview and career coach Tazeen Raza says, The idea behind some of these tough interview questions is to understand how you think, and how you overcome challenges when you are in the hot seat. To quell your anxiety, weve compiled a list of common tough interview questions with sample responses that you can practice in advance.

    Raza says that in order to prepare yourself for tough interview questions, read the job description and draw parallels between the description and your previous work. Come up with some specific examples that demonstrate that you have experience doing some of the things outlined in the job description, she says. The best way to stand out is to be honest and clear with your answers.

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    What Are The Major Characteristics Of Your Leadership Style

    If you’re anything like me, you never gave much thought to your leadership style before this question. You just used the gifts that you had to build up your team in the way that fit with your personality.

    Managers primarily ask this question to assess your view of successful leadership, and seek to understand if it fits the company’s culture.

    According to the Harvard Business Review there are four unique leadership styles:

    • “The Classic Entrepreneur”: These leaders thrive on competition, and love to pitch and clinch deals through the use of statistics and calculations.
    • “The Modern Missionary”: These leaders aim to make a difference in their world, and they take risks to do that, choosing to eschew economic value as the only thing to strive for.
    • “The Problem Solver”: These managers focus on concrete solutions, preferring to focus on a top-down approach to leadership.
    • “The Solution Finder”: These leaders are humble, choosing to rally their team and share the credit with them as they break expectations.

    Example answer

    My leadership style is highly focused on gathering together a team to solve difficult solutions. I’ve had success by creating a meritocracy where my team members can pitch any idea to me as long as they’re confident that they can make it work. I reward those team members who step out to take risks.

    Read More: What Is Your Leadership Style- Interview Question

    How Has Your Education Prepared You For Your Career

    This is a broad question and you need to focus on the behavioral examples in your educational background which specifically align to the required competencies for the career.

    A sample answer: “My education has focused on not only learning the fundamentals, but also on the practical application of the information learned within those classes. For example, I played a lead role in a class project where we gathered and analyzed best practice data from this industry. Let me tell you more about the results”

    Focus on specific behavioral examples supporting the key competencies for the job. Then ask if they would like to hear more examples. Read more

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    Questions About Your Abilities

    The hiring manager will be assessing your abilities during your interview so they can try to determine how successful you might be in the position youre seeking. It would help if you thought about specific examples of positive outcomes from previous jobs. Here are some example questions:

    • Describe a decision you made that was a failure. What happened and why?
    • Tell me about a time that you needed to convey technical information to a non-technical audience.
    • Tell me about a time that you worked interpreting and presenting data.
    • Why do you think you will be successful in this job?
    • Tell me about a time that you participated in a team. What was your role and how well do you think you fulfilled it?
    • Tell me about a time when you faced conflicting priorities. How did you determine the top priority?
    • Tell me about a time when you failed.

    How to Respond: Examples of the Best Answers

    What Is Your Greatest Weakness

    9 of the Most Difficult Interview Questionsand How to Answer Them ...

    Strengths-and-weaknesses interview questions are a given. Youll want to use some care when choosing your answering the greatest weakness portion. So many articles say that you should make your biggest weakness a positive attribute, which is not something I recommend doing, says Brenda Abdilla, a Denver-based career and leadership coach. This is not an opportunity to humblebrag.

    At the same time, you want to be real and truthful about an area of development you truly need, but you want to avoid sharing something thats serious and going to raise a red flag that youre not a suitable candidate, cautions Kathy Caprino, a Connecticut-based career coach and author of the book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss.

    No matter what your answer is, make sure you impress upon the hiring manager that you’re taking steps to improve.

    Bad answers:

    • Im late all the time.
    • Ive been fired before.
    • I find it hard to work with really opinionated people.

    Great answers:

    • My analytical skills are very strong and Im extremely comfortable with numbers, but Im working on enhancing my writing skills.
    • In the past, Ive taken on a bit more than I can chew, so Im honing my ability to manage my time better and making sure I understand whats involved in extra tasks I say yes to.

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    What Are The Pros And Cons Of Failing On The Job

    Many hiring managers ask you to discuss an on-the-job failure and how you handled it. This question is a bit trickier. Instead of focusing on a misstep, you actually have to cover not just its value as a learning experience a classic way for tackling the more common version of the question but also the less pleasant aspects.


    Failing on the job can create an opportunity. In my last position, we had a project get overrun with scoop creep. I failed to speak up about the challenges the extra features were causing to the timeline, and we missed a key deadline.

    However, that experience taught me the value of being open about the impact of such changes in the future. That made me a better project manager down the line, as I wasnt just more aware, but also more willing to discuss my concerns earlier in the process.

    It is true that failing on the job has drawbacks. As I mentioned before, we missed a deadline on that project. Speaking with the customer about the timeline issue was difficult, and it harmed the companys and my reputation. Luckily, by being transparent, diligent, and working quickly, we were able to deliver an excellent product in the end, and that allowed me and the company to recover.

    Get Ready To Ace Your Interview

    Job interviews will always be nerve-wracking, and itd be nice if you had a crystal ball that would conveniently tell you everything that employer was going to ask.

    Unfortunately, we cant throw a crystal ball your way. But, these eight tough interview questions and answers should make a difference. Being prepared with polished answers to the common and challenging interview questions weve shared here certainly helps to tame those butterflies in your stomach. Youve got this!

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    Answering Tough Interview Questions

    Well done! You have been selected to meet with the company you applied to work for. They are obviously interested in you, your CV or what your recruitment consultant has said about you. Your foot is in the door but how will you deal with the next stage, the interview and the hard questions they may ask? Read on to learn more about how to answer difficult questions and maximize your interview skills.

    Even the most confident of candidates gets thrown by simple interview questions. There is no right or wrong way of dealing with these. But we can give you three key things to do when posed with a tricky question:

    • Listen carefully to the question

    • Think about what they are asking of you

    • Be honest

    Below we have put these into practice with 10 of the more difficult questions that are commonly asked.

    What Makes You A Better Choice Than The Other Candidates Who Have Applied For This Job

    How To Answer Tough Interview Questions

    Why They Ask: For starters, this is a great way for your interviewer to get a brief refresher on what you bring to the table. But, they also want to challenge you to see if you can confidently portray not just why you want that position, but why youre deserving of it.

    Listen they dont really need you to figure out why youre a more suitable candidate than anyone else . Instead, they just want to see how you promote yourself, as well as which of your own competencies you view as highly valuable.

    How to Answer: This isnt your chance to throw other candidates under the bus. Instead of focusing on what other applicants dont have, you need to focus on what you do have.

    This is your chance to call attention to any unique experiences and sought-after skills that make you a suitable fit for this position. And, when in doubt, even just demonstrating your enthusiasm for that opportunity is a great way to make your response a little more memorable.

    What This Looks Like:Im sure you have no shortage of quality applicants for this opportunity. However, I know that I have a lot to offer in this position. Particularly with my background working in small agencies, I think my ability to wear multiple hats and solve problems will serve me well in this role. Im really excited about the prospect of rolling up my sleeves and making an impactful difference here!

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