How to Deal with Tough Interview Questions

When you’re going for that all important interview it can be daunting to think about what tough questions you may get asked. Here are a couple of thoughts and scenarios to think through before your interview:

1. Your Biggest Achievement Question

Many interviewers end up asking you about your achievements e.g. “Tell me about your biggest achievement” or perhaps to “Describe a time when you’ve had to overcome an obstacle or meet a deadline”.

To tackle these sorts of questions it can be useful beforehand to take some time to reflect on your skills and experience before the interview. Make a list of your top achievements at work and in other areas of your life. How did you accomplish these things? By thinking about your successes in this way, you’ll be able to use them to answer this type of question.

2. Weaknesses

On the flip side, another challenging question is “What’s your biggest weakness?” When asking this, the interviewers are trying to find out if you’re aware of areas you need to work at, and if you’re actually working at them. Tell the interviewers about an area you’ve been working towards strengthening.  If you’ve been working on your time management skills by assigning specific timeframes to particular tasks in your diary, give examples of what you are doing and how you are doing it .

3. Why are you leaving

Another type of tough question is the sort where it would be very easy to give negative information. “Why are you leaving your current job?” or “What was the worst thing about your last employer?” If you prepare for these questions beforehand, there’s less chance of just coming out with the first negative thing to enter your head when you’re actually asked them. Prepare for these questions by practicing turning the focus back on the position you’re applying for. You’re leaving your current job because this new opportunity is so attractive. There were no bad aspects to your relationship with your previous employer and you hope to have just as a productive, enjoyable relationship with this organisation.

4. Gaps in your CV

What happens if you have some gaps between jobs on your CV? You may well be asked about this. Just be honest and tell the interviewers that the gaps are there because you were made redundant/travelling/having children.  Be honest.  That way, you are authentic.  If you are not honest, you will be found out – sometime.

Tackling each of these questions can be tough but it’s much easier once you are prepared. Another thing you can do in preparation for your interview is to ask friends, family and colleagues what the hardest questions they’ve been asked at interview were. Consider how you’ll draw from your experience and knowledge to reply to them and then practice these answers.

Focus on your strengths.  What are you best at?  Don’t be arrogant but confidence backed up by examples is powerful and can really help you shine in your interview.

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