We’ve all been there. Ready for an interview, walking into the interview pumped up and ready for whatever questions get thrown your way, only to walk out feeling deflated. Recruiters are trained to throw curveballs your way that you may not know how to answer. Being thrown a two sided question is purposely done to tell a lot about yourself. Although these questions may seem silly or difficult to answer, you must maintain your professionalism and provide a great answer. Having an amazing resume only gets your foot in the door. Answering these tough questions is what displays your personality and problem solving skills ultimately securing you a job.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you handle and work your way through these tough interview questions.
“What is one of your Weaknesses?”
Much like interviewers throwing job seekers two sided questions, the key to this question is to throw the interviewer a two-sided answer. You don’t want to talk about your weaknesses. Recruiters are looking for a reason to withdraw your candidacy. How do you focus on your strengths when you’re being asked about your weaknesses?
First, you don’t say you don’t have any weaknesses because everybody does. You give them a two –sided answer that you personally see as a weakness that other people (like a recruiter) will see as a strength. A good answer for this questions is “I tend to put my job over my personal life”. If they ask you to expand on your answer a good response would be “putting my job over my personal life can get in the way of my relationships with people”. This answer tells the recruiter you’re a very career oriented individual that will put work first. They can count on you not to call in because you went out and had one to many drinks the night before.
“Tell Us About Yourself.”
This is another tough question that is commonly asked during the interview process. It seems more like an icebreaker than a question and its easy to get wrapped up in the answer and going on for too long. Recruiters don’t want to hear your life story. They simply want a quick summary of your work experience and the reason why you’re the right candidate for the job.
If you find yourself stuck and having difficulty answering this question, try to think of it instead as “tell me something unique about yourself”. Tell the interview a quick rundown of your experience coupled with your education, also a “trick” or quality you picked up on through your experience and how it helps you. For instance, you can answer with something along the lines of “my marketing degree along with my experience as a data analyst, has made me skilled at picking up on trends and creating sales strategies based off these. I’m confident I could carry these skills over and increase sales for your company.”
“Why are You Leaving your Current Job?”
Maybe you’re leaving because you haven’t had a pay raise in 5 years and are feeling undervalued. Maybe your boss is too much to handle. You never ever give these as reasons for leaving your current employer. The most important part of this question is to remember to stay positive. The interviewer may know what your boss will be like and will conclude, how you’re talking about your current employer will be how you’ll talk about your prospective employer one day.
Like all interview questions, the best way to answer this one is to of course stay positive. Express your desire for pursuing a more challenging role, how you want to keep advancing in your fields to become the most skilled you can be. Make sure to stay upbeat. You don’t want the interviewer to pick up on you having bad experiences at your current employers.
“Do You Have Any Questions for Us?”
The answer to this question should always be “yes I do.” Never go to an interview without a few questions prepared for the interviewer. Having questions for them shows you have a real interest and have done research on their company. Even if you don’t care about the company, you want the interviewer to believe you do.
Try to come up with creative questions they don’t get asked every day. Something that shows you put in time to research their company. You don’t want to ask a simple question there’s an answer to right on their website. Ask the interviewer “what is your favorite part of working for ABC Company?” Ask them “what is the company culture like here?” One of my personal favorites if it’s not right on the website is “what is ABC Company’s mission statement?” This shows you’re looking to work for a company that has an ultimate goal and it’s not just a job to you.
These are not common but they do occasionally get thrown out there in an interview. A question that seems strange and impossible to answer on the spot. A question along the lines of “how many marshmallows can you fit in this room?” There’s no way they expect you to know the answer. The interviewers want to see how you think when thrown a problem you’re unsure of how to fix.
These questions test your problem solving skills. The best thing to do is stick to logic. For a problem like the one used above you would want to ask a question before answering. They want to see a breakdown of how you think you would find out the answer to this question. They’re looking for something along the lines of “ I would need to figure out the cubic square footage of this room and know the diameter of marshmallow you’re referring to. From there I would take the cubic feet and divide it by the marshmallow’s measurements to determine the answer.”
Have you ever been asked a tough question you weren’t sure how to answer? Tell us about it in the comments!