With competition for jobs fierce, many employers having numerous candidates applying for just one or two open positions, many are adopting new measures to screen applicants more carefully.
One of the popular tactics is to incorporate difficult, unsettling questions into standard job interviews, in order to prompt answers that may be more revealing of a job seeker’s true capabilities.
These questions may help employers eliminate bad hires, but for job seekers they present a new kind of challenge: in order to make a strong impression in an interview, as a job candidate, you must not only demonstrate your work skills, but how fast you can think and how gracefully you perform under pressure.
Here are six of the trickiest and most annoying interview questions, along with tips to inspire you
1. What is your biggest weakness?’
The problem with this question is that you’re being asked about your shortcomings, when your instinct, in an interview situation, is to keep your flaws as well hidden as possible. What you need to do is to frame your answer to as to give it a positive spin.
Do this by thinking about how you overcome the potential downside of your greatest strength. For example, if you’re a natural team-worker, is it difficult for you to cope with conflict or assume leadership abilities? How do you cope with this?
2. Why do you think you will be successful in this job?
This isn’t an invitation to boast – you are being asked to match your strengths to the qualities needed to do the job. Don’t forget, it’s a very specific question.
Why are you suited to this job, as opposed to any other? Thorough employer research will save the day, as it will enable you to match your skills, interests and experience to the job role and the company.
3. Why do you want to work with us?
This is another hard one, because in all likelihood, you want to work there because you’re tired of being interviewed and you need to pay the bills. But there is a good way to answer this question.
Before the interview, take a look at the company’s mission statement. Read a few recent press releases or news pieces about the company.Make sure your answer is in line with the company’s ethics and focus, and you’ll end up looking like a much better fit for the company.
4. Give an example of a time when you handled a major crisis
Feel free to re-frame the question. This is similar to asking ‘Can you give an example of a time when you had to cope with a difficult situation?’ or ‘Give an example of a time when you had to cope under pressure’.
However, ‘crisis’ is a much stronger, more emotive word. You may find it easier to give an example if you think back through your work experience, study, extracurricular activities and travel, and come up with a time when you had to cope with an unexpected problem.
5. Where do you expect to be in five years’ time?
This is another question that allows you to show off your employer research and your understanding of your chosen career path.
You’ll want to come across as enthusiastic, but not arrogant. Tailor your response to reflect the nature of the organisation, the sector, and your own experiences and skills. Specific details will impress.
Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments!