Difficult Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

7 min read

Education & Career Trends: July 29

Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS

Interviewers want answers that showcase genuine self-awareness and a growth mindset.

  • Excerpts are taken from an article published on makeuseof.com.

Are you up for a difficult job interview for a challenging role? While you may feel confident about your skills and qualifications, confidently answering tough interview questions can be a real test of your ability to think on your feet and showcase your best self to a prospective employer.

Keep reading to uncover some tricky interview questions that often stump candidates, plus tips on how to answer them with poise and confidence, so you can leave a lasting impression.

1. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

  • This is one of the most common interview questions you’ll encounter.
  • Don’t fall into the bucket of answering with cliché answers like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard.”
  • Interviewers want answers that showcase genuine self-awareness and a growth mindset.
  • To answer this question best, all you have to do is be honest about a genuine weakness you possess. To ace it, follow up with how you’ve worked to improve it.
  • You can go the extra mile by providing specific examples of how you’ve learned from your weaknesses and turned them into strengths.

2. Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?

  • When talking about your previous job, maintain a positive tone.
  • Revert the interviewer’s focus to the opportunities that the new position offers you and how it aligns better with your career goals.
  • Also, talk about how the skills and experiences you gained in your previous role have prepared you for this new position.
  • This shows your enthusiasm for learning and growing in your career.

3. How Do You Handle Conflicts or Difficult Colleagues?

  • Conflict resolution and interpersonal skills are vital in any workplace.
  • A great way to approach this answer is by highlighting your communication and collaboration skills.
  • You can share a specific example of a challenging situation and how you handled it professionally.
  • Explain how you actively listened to their perspective, acknowledged their concerns, and together found a win-win situation or a mutual compromise that benefited both parties.
  • The focus on “win-win” solutions is a bonus point regarding conflict resolution-related questions.
  • In a world where workplace dynamics are constantly changing, you need to be able to demonstrate your ability to adapt and handle various situations constructively.

4. Tell Us How You Handled a Difficult Situation

Employers often ask behavioural questions to gauge how you handle challenging scenarios. Responding to these questions with the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) can help impressively structure your answer.

To apply the STAR method, do the following:

  • Describe a relevant and challenging situation you faced.
  • Discuss the task you needed to accomplish.
  • Elaborate the actions you took to address the issue.
  • Share the positive results that came from your actions.

For instance, discuss a time when you were assigned a critical project with a tight deadline.

5. What Interests You Most About Our Company?

  • Interviewers are looking for heart and soul in your answer to this question.
  • They want to know you’ve done your research, just like every other candidate, but that you also personally relate to the company’s mission.
  • Ensure you prepare for the interview by thoroughly researching the company’s values, culture, and products/services.
  • While in the interview, be genuine, and don’t go over the top when displaying your excitement to contribute to the company’s mission and vision.
  • A great way to do this is by relating your skills and experiences to the company’s goals, and explaining how you see yourself being a major player in achieving those objectives.

6. Why Should We Hire You Over All Our Other Candidates?

  • The job market is a competitive place, and you need to make yourself stand out from other candidates during the interview stage.
  • Focus on specific accomplishments from your resume that directly align with the job requirements and demonstrate how your unique skills and experiences set you apart.
  • If you have any industry-specific or relevant awards, achievements, or projects, now is the time to talk about them.
  • Back up your accolades with concrete examples of how you’ve made a difference in your previous roles and how those experiences can translate into value for the new organisation.

7. How Do You Define Success?

  • This is a very subjective question, so there’s no exact right or wrong answer here.
  • However, how you relate to success as an individual goes hand in hand with how the interviewer will relate to your suitability for the job.
  • When talking about what success means to you, offer a holistic view that goes beyond professional achievements.
  • Moreover, talk about how you measure success not just by personal accomplishments but also by how your efforts positively impact the team and the organisation.
  • If you’re going up for a managerial or leadership role, you can highlight your ability to lead and motivate others in a way that contributes to a positive work environment.

8. How Long Do You Plan to Stay With Us?

  • This question can seem intimidating, especially if you’re not sure about the answer.
  • However, all an employer is looking for is an answer that reflects your commitment to growth and development within the company.
  • By framing your response this way, you show that your tenure with the company is dependent on mutual development and that you are open to long-term commitments.
  • However, avoid making promises you can’t keep or coming across as rigid in your future plans.

9. How Would You Describe Your Personality?

  • This question measures your emotional intelligence and also your sense of confidence and self-esteem.
  • A great way to both develop your emotional intelligence and showcase it with this answer is by being assertive.
  • Aim for a balanced presentation of yourself that highlights both your strengths and areas for improvement.
  • You can also draw on the specific personality traits that align with the requirements of the job and the company culture.
  • For instance, if the company values teamwork and collaboration, emphasise your ability to work well with others and contribute positively to group projects.
  • Talk about how you value open communication and adaptability, as these traits are often highly sought after in dynamic work environments.

10. What Other Jobs Are You Considering?

  • You can tackle this question by mentioning competitors or positions in a similar field you are considering.
  • This shows the interviewer that you’re actively sought after in the job market, making you a more attractive candidate that they wouldn’t want to risk giving up to the competition.
  • However, avoid disclosing sensitive information or being negative about other companies during this discussion.
  • Instead, focus on the unique aspects of each opportunity and how they align with your career goals.

Ace Your Interview Questions

Interviews are nerve-wracking, but they don’t have to be. With the right amount of preparation, practice, and foresight, you can confidently tackle any curveball thrown your way.

No matter what, stay true to yourself, your values, and remain authentic. This will leave a lasting impression on the interviewer and increase your chances of landing that dream job you want.

Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet

What is Augmented Reality(AR) and How Does it Work?

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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