Be Ready For Anything At Your Next Job Interview – How To Answer Those Really Tricky Interview Questions

May 20, 20130 Comments
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If you’re looking for your next professional opportunity, then you’re probably putting a lot of thought into how you’re going to approach interviews. Some people dread interview situations, feeling nervous about being grilled and evaluated by a panel of people who have the power to decide whether or not their dream job becomes a reality. Others actually quite enjoy them, relishing the challenge of proving why they are able to help a prospective employer thrive.

Whichever camp you fall into, there are some questions that interviewers like to use that just about everyone dreads. Here are some ideas to help you deal with them. Use them to help you prepare some answers you can have ready, and you’ll be able to confidently respond without missing a beat!

“Describe yourself in one word…”

Some interviewers love to put candidates on the spot with this question, or a variation on it, so have a few ideas of words that describe your working style in mind before you head in to an interview. Some people are tempted to try and be funny at this point and reply with something silly, ironic or self-deprecating (for example “tall”, “fabulous” or “crazy”). If the interview feels right for this, it can be a way to break the ice and show you have a sense of humour, but that won’t get you out of giving a proper answer so you’re still going to need one.

Think of something that is appealing to these specific employers, not too self-aggrandising, and apt. Words like “enthusiastic”, “energetic”, “direct” and “honest” can be good. Avoid buzzwords like “innovative”, which don’t really tell the interviewer anything (except that you use buzzwords), or things like “experienced” which tell them something they should already know from your resume.

“What would you say your weaknesses are?”

Nobody likes this one, but don’t fall into the obvious trap of “giving a weakness that is also a strength”. This is something the interviewer will have seen people do time and again, and is a clichéd response that doesn’t work (unless your interviewer has just arrived in a time machine from the eighties). Do not say you’re a perfectionist, or a workaholic, or you care too much about your staff, or anything along those lines, even if it’s true.

Instead, think of something that is a genuine weakness but which is skill based rather than personal and could be easily rectified. Something like “I’m not as good with Microsoft Excel as I could be” is a good one (assuming the job would require you to use Excel, but it isn’t one of the main responsibilities) – it highlights a training need rather than a serious personal flaw, and shows that you are willing to look at your skills objectively and admit where you need improvement.

By having answers to these questions in mind ahead of every interview, you won’t be thrown when 

Attached Images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.andertoons.com/interview/cartoon/6542/do-you-have-any-experience-in-addition-to-been-there-done-that/

Deborah Rodriguez, the author of this post, works for a successful legal recruitment agency and often writes blog articles related to her work. She likes to spend time with her family and friends on holidays.


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Deborah Rodriguez, the author of this post, works for a successful legal recruitment agency and often writes blog articles related to her work. She likes to spend time with her family and friends on holidays.

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