You apply for your dream job. Days later, you get a call back from the hiring manager. They like you and want to interview you as soon as possible.
Of course, you are stoked, but a part of you is anxious. A job like this could change your life: financial security, benefits, and opportunity for advancements.
If you have already landed an interview, you already have a foot in the door, that is good. Now you must focus on the interview. Remember, the job hunt is extremely competitive. Chances are there are many other people that have applied to the same job you applied to.
You prepared for everything leading up to the interview, but did you prepare for the interview questions?
I can tell you from experience, I have been asked many difficult interview questions, some had me completely stumped. Luckily, I was able to think on my feet and answer them all with grace and confidence. Below, I have compiled a list of difficult questions that may throw you for a loop during your interview!
Reason why questions
Why do you want to work at this company?
Why are you leaving your current job?
Why is there a gap in your employment status? How did you make sure your skills stay sharp during that time? What did you do to add to your skills during your lapse period?
How to prepare
Research the company—read the company’s mission statement. Follow them on social media, if you can, and get a feel for who they are and what they stand for. Know their brand inside and out and figure out if your brand compliments theirs. If you are looking to change careers, tell them that, and tell them why this career path is best for your current position in life. This is a great opportunity to tell them about your passions and your motivation in a positive way. Every brand has a story and your reasons paint your own story. Practicing your response in the mirror is also good. Even role-playing in this scenario is good for the “reason why” questions.
Assessing your weakness and your strengths questions
What would your coworkers say is your biggest weakness?
What would you say your best strength is? And could it also be a blind spot?
What do you think your number one weakness is? And what are you doing to improve?
How to prepare
Transparency is the best policy here. Even if you give them too much information, you can also tell them how you have improved as a person and a worker overall. People love to see improvement, it means you are willing to try and you are open to constructive criticism. Here it is best not to ramble; stick to one weakness/strength for each question.
Are you open to criticism? Do you handle criticism well? Tell me about a time that you were critiqued and what did you do to improve?
Tell me about a time where you overcame an adversary?
How do you deal with difficult people? And how do you deal with difficult people in leadership positions?
How to prepare?
These questions help the interviewer determine if you are right for the position. Of course, your response to each question will be different if you are going for an entry (associate) position or management (senior position). If you are applying for a job with no experience for a senior positioning, draw upon your leadership qualities and your character. Vice versa, if you are applying to a job without any experience dazzle them with your drive and work ethic. Remember, we all have real-world experiences that can help us secure any job.
Goals and Leaderships Questions
Do you consider yourself a hard worker regardless of circumstances?
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 and 10 years?
What constitutes effective leadership?
How to prepare?
These questions showcase your ambitious and hard-working nature, again it also depends on what role you are applying for. Being ambitious is good, but allow the interviewer to lead and ask you questions about your goals. When you are goal orientated it shows that you are driven, focused, and organized. Being goal-orientated not only helps you as an interviewee, it also helps you in your career.
Preparation and skill questions
Describe how your skills and work ethic will be evident in the first 90days?
Are you willing to keep up with updated information regarding cutting edge technology, programming, and communication outside of work hours?
How will your skills add value to this company?
How to prepare?
Social and soft skills are very important in landing the job you want, but don’t forget about the hard skills! Employers want someone who is well rounded and has solid foundational skills that they can build upon. It is also a bonus if you have specialized skills as well. This makes you attractive and unique! Before the interview, read up on the skills the position you are applying for requires. Determine whether or not you have the skills that are required, from there you can also determine what additional skills you have that will make you the best candidate.
Happy job hunting!