Describe A Difficult Work Situation And What You Did To Overcome It
This is one of those pesky behavioral interview questions and is one of the most common. You need to have a success story ready to go for this. Relate a story where you dealt with a problem successfully. The key here is to pick a success story that shows you exhibiting the qualities/skills required at the job and company you are interviewing for.
- Pick an example that shows you tackling a problem that could arise at the new company youre interviewing for. This shows your value.
- Be specific and fairly concise.
- Use the S.T.A.R. Method
- Dont bash anyone in your success story.
- Dont ramble.
What Attracted You To Our Company
This is your opportunity to show youve done your research.
Before the interview, read up on everything you can about the company: their values, their mission, their latest results and news releases, who their executive staff are, their origin story, as well as their products and/or services.
Then, identify what stands out about the companys mission and values, and how that resonates with you and your own career path. If youre a fan of their products or services, bring that up too.
Question: Do You Have Any Questions
My simple advice is: yes, you had better have questions.
When I hired people to work on my teams in the past, I expected interviewees to have questions.
This is your chance to interview the interviewer. In essence, to learn about the company, the role, the corporate culture, the managers leadership style, and a host of other important things.
Candidates who are genuinely interested in the opportunity, ask these types of questions. Those who dont ask questions give the impression theyre just kicking the tires or not really too concerned about getting the job.
It is imperative that you ask questions that do three things:
When given the floor to ask questions, you should realize the interview is not over yet. Good candidates know this is another time to shine.
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Tell Me About A Time You Screwed Up
An oldie but goodie. This is a tried-and-true test for self-awareness. Someone who takes ownership of their mess-up and learns something from it is usually humble and mindful. Candidates who blame others or give a “fake” screw-up are red flags.
A good answer to this question:
A good answer to this question will do two things well:
- Admit to a genuine mistake. Often candidates will dress up a mistake with a self-compliment or excuse to avoid looking weak. For example, “I was so committed to X that I overlooked Y.” On the contrary, good answers will just show that they miscalculated, plain and simple.
- Explain what they learned from it. It’s one thing to screw up, but it’s another thing to take that screw-up as an opportunity to improve. Great companies learn more from failure than they do from success — candidates who do too are exactly what you need to grow.
What Was The Most Difficult Period In Your Life And How Did You Deal With It
Everyone has gone through difficulties at some point in their life. This question provides insight into the candidate’s personality, experience with stress, and coping mechanisms. There are no wrong answers, but the question does invite the candidate to tell a story and reveal how they overcame adversity.
Red flags: The candidate cannot answer the question or provides a single-sentence answer.
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What Is Your Greatest Fear
Possible Answer 1
Before some time, public speaking has been a challenge for me. I was very nervous and hesitate while giving any presentation, so I started taking public speaking seminars to improve it. Now, I still get nervous before pitches, but I have learned how to remain calm and get the job done right.
Possible Answer 2
As you know that I have never worked in my life and this is my first job, my inexperience is my weakness. But I beg to differ. I am confident and a fast learner. I assure you that I will perform my job without carrying any pre-conceived notions regarding how I feel.
Pitch To Me As If I Were Buying Your Product Or Service
This is a slightly different, and more challenging, alternative to our earlier “What do you know about the Company?” question. Not only does it make candidates to reference material from their research, but it forces them to come up with a compelling message on the fly.
Focus less on the delivery here. Sales and marketing candidates have an unfair advantage as they should be accustomed to this kind of task. The key to a good answer is thorough research and clear articulation of your business.
If you are hiring for a customer facing role though this is also a great way to gauge how they’d deal with the curveballs that customer meetings often produce.
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Why Did You Change Your Career Path
If you recently changed your career path, the interviewer is sure to ask about it.
Dont worry – theres nothing wrong with this.
A lot of people go through a career change. Some even do it several times in their lifetime!
As long as youre good at what you do, no one cares if you were a pediatrician in one year, and a professional chef in another.
When asked this question, all you have to do is answer truthfully. Explain how your old job just wasnt for you, and how the job youre applying for is so much more interesting.
- Sample Answer
I realized that being a doctor is not for me. While I did enjoy my 3 years in med school, the 6 year study period was too much.
I wanted to start making money and help out my family way before that, so I dropped out of university and started taking online courses in accounting.
At this point, Im pretty good at it, having done 2 internships so far in and .
- Sample Answer 2
Simply because I enjoy doing sales much more than accounting. After 5 years of working as an accountant for Firm X, I decided I wanted to try something new.
I asked my boss at the time to let me transition to the sales team, and I ended up liking it AND being pretty good at it.
At Times You Will Be Asked To Do Many Things At Once How Do You Prioritise Your Tasks
Why employers ask this: This question aims to reveal your time management and decision-making skills, Shepard says. Employers want to understand how you prioritise things and the way you engage with people during that process.
How to respond well: Be prepared to give an example of how you prioritised things in a previous role, Shepard says. Can you talk about how you schedule your day to ensure the most important things get done? Or a time where you were able to handle an urgent priority by reorganising other tasks? Its also worth considering how you communicate with others about deadlines or how you keep track of your workload via to-do lists or other organisational tools.
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Is It Better To Be Perfect And Late Or Good And On Time
If your candidate responds with “It depends,” hear them out — the interview question itself is phrased in such a way that candidates can sense there is a right and wrong answer, and they’ll be looking for signs from you that they’re heading in the right direction.
A good answer to this question:
For most companies, the correct answer is “good and on time.” It’s important to let something be finished when it’s good enough. Let’s face it, every blog post, email, book, video, etc. can always be tweaked and improved. At some point, you’ve just got to ship it. Most managers don’t want someone who can’t hit deadlines because they’re paralyzed by perfection.
Try to remain neutral as they feel out their response, though. They might not be able to relate to work that’s measured purely by quality and deadline, but it’s important that they can express how they prioritize their tasks.
Whats Your Work Style
When an interviewer asks you about your work style, theyre probably trying to imagine you in the role. How will you approach your work? What will it be like to work with you? Will you mesh well with the existing team? You can help them along by choosing to focus on something thats important to you and aligns with everything youve learned about the role, team, and company so far. The question is broad, which means you have a lot of flexibility in how you answer: You might talk about how you communicate and collaborate on cross-functional projects, what kind of remote work setup allows you to be most productive, or how you approach leading a team and managing direct reports. Just try to keep it positive. And remember, telling a story will almost always make your answer more memorable.
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If I Could Provide You With Additional Training Or Exposure What Would You Suggest
If the candidate is focused on improving their career, they will have an idea of the skills or industry exposure they would need to advance their position. Candidates may also be looking for exposure or training outside of their field of interest but in a similar industry.
If the candidate feels that they don’t need any additional training or exposure, they should have a good explanation.
Red flag: The candidate cannot provide any suggestions.
Whats Something Positive Your Boss Would Say About You
This is one of those behavioral interview questions which can be tricky to understand exactly what they’re looking for.
Just saying that your boss approves of your work isn’t enough. The interviewer is looking to see what kind of relationships youve built with the management team, and get an impression about how you may fit in with their team.
How to Answer:
This is a great time to brag about yourself with someone else’s words. Start with My boss has told me that… so that it’s clear you understand the question.
Stay humble and refrain from sounding arrogant.
My boss has mentioned that my attention to detail and thoroughness cant be matched.
She said the last campaign we ran together produced amazing results because of my effort and ability to thoroughly run it from start to finish…
My boss mentioned that she’s gotten a lot of compliments about my customer service from customers.
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When Did You Leave
This is another of the top interview questions for checking credentials. Check to see the candidate’s answer matches what their resume says, without any large, unexplained employment gaps.
Red flags: There is a discrepancy between the dates they give and the dates on their resume, or their roles lasted for very short times.
How To Answer The Toughest Job Interview Questions
You can never be 100% prepared for a job interview. However, if you work hard and learn to expect the unexpected you stand a pretty good chance of making a positive impression.
Try to learn not just the answers weve suggested to the toughest questions, but the thinking behind our suggestions. Stay calm, stay professional, and use those burning questions as a chance to demonstrate your experience or thought process to your interviewer. Perhaps youll 12 they didnt expect.
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Tell Me About The Toughest Decision You Had To Make In The Last Six Months
The goal of this question is to evaluate the candidate’s reasoning ability, problem-solving skills, judgment, and possibly even willingness to take intelligent risks.
Having no answer is a definite warning sign. Everyone makes tough decisions, regardless of their position. My daughter worked part-time as a server at a local restaurant and made difficult decisions all the time — like the best way to deal with a regular customer whose behavior constituted borderline harassment.
A good answer proves you can make a difficult analytical or reasoning-based decision — for example, wading through reams of data to determine the best solution to a problem.
A great answer proves you can make a difficult interpersonal decision, or better yet a difficult data-driven decision that includes interpersonal considerations and ramifications.
Making decisions based on data is important, but almost every decision has an impact on people as well. The best candidates naturally weigh all sides of an issue, not just the business or human side exclusively.
Behavioural Questions About Innovation
It can be easier to excel in an interview if you can offer examples of how you’ve used innovation in the past. To understand your capabilities and experience with innovation, a company might ask you relevant behavioural questions, such as:
What steps do you take to develop an innovative idea or concept?
Tell me about a time when you and a colleague disagreed on an innovation. How did you resolve it?
What is an innovation project that you have worked on in the past?
Tell me about a time your innovative idea didn’t work out. What did you learn from it?
Tell me about a time you used innovation to lead a team.
How have you used innovation to overcome workplace challenges?
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How Do You Handle Stress
How you handle stressful situations is an indicator of your ability to solve problems. Employers want to hire candidates who react to stress constructively, so its important that your answer to this question demonstrates personal growth.
Spend some time thinking about your response to stressful situations and provide an example that communicates your abilities around perseverance, resilience and stress management.
Example answer:Im able to stay calm when I focus on the bigger picture and break down my projects into smaller tasks. I always start by asking myself, What is the ultimate goal Im trying to achieve? From there, I make a list of immediate and long-term action items with achievable but ambitious deadlines. Even if the big project is due tomorrow, I ask myself, Whats something I can tackle in the next 30 minutes? Before I know it, Ive made significant progress and that impossible project doesnt seem so impossible.
What Is Your Style Of Working/managing
This question directly aims at assessing your leadership style and qualities and your answer should be in such a way that it brings out those leadership traits within you. Be it your communication skills, command over people, or your ability to manage large groups, you must convey it most effectively and make your interviewers understand the kind of work style you follow. Show them how organized and responsible you can be and how seriously you will take your responsibilities, without any deviation from the major goals and compliance of the company. You can show some of your out-of-the-box ways to let them have a peek into your creative sides and how you can tackle problems more effectively.
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What Is Your Desired Salary
This is one of the best job interview questions for screening. Look for a number or range that falls within the market rate and matches their level of mastery of skills required to do the job. Be aware that in some cities and states it is illegal to ask this question.
Red flags: A candidate who is unable to answer the question or gives an answer that is far above the market rate. This shows they have not done research on the market rate or have unreasonable expectations.
It’s good to use this for screening early on. If you’re far apart on salary, it’s a hard gap to overcome.
Give An Example Of A Challenge You Had To Overcome
This interview question is a tough one and also a disliked one amongst those who find it difficult to think of the different challenges and professional hiccups they have had. Dont forget that this doesnt have to be a solitary challenge, as you might have completed it in a group or achieved the goal as a team. When you give your example, include the skills and necessary measures you took to ensure that the goal was reached and the challenge was overcome. Ideally, pick a challenge that would be relevant to the job youre interviewing for and make sure you follow the STAR format.
For more interview advice, read our blog for professional career advice such as how to calm nerves before a job interview or how to dress for a job interview. If you havent quite got to the interview stage of the job application process and youre still writing your resume, check out our resume builder and how easy it can really be to write a resume.
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How Much Do You Know About The Company
This interview question is one of the most common interview questions asked and is essentially a test to check that youve done your research and know your stuff. If you can prove that youve dug a little deeper than the company website and refer to a company achievement, press release or recent update, youll be sure to win extra brownie points.
Researching the company is a must, and almost all job candidates do it to some degree today. But the interview is not a test to see whether you read the company website. Instead, you want to identify opportunities and demonstrate how you can add value to the company, if they hire you. Take the information you gain through your research and prepare insightful questions and observations that can serve as discussion points during the interview. Here are some ways to do that: