30 smart answers to really tough job interview questions

The best way to prepare yourself for the interview is to know the questions in advance. Then practice your potential answers.

Following are some of the toughest questions you will face in the course of your job interviews. Some questions may seem rather simple on the surface, such as “Tell me about yourself.” Yet the easy answer is not the right answer. The more open ended the question, the wider the variation in potential interview answers. Once you have become practiced in behavioral interviewing skills, you will find that you can use almost any question as a launching pad for a specific behavioral example or compelling story.

Others interview questions in this list are classic interview fail questions, such as “What is your greatest weakness?” Most candidates answer questions such as this improperly. In this case, the standard textbook answer for the “greatest weakness” question is to provide a veiled positive such as: “I work too much. I just work and work and work.” Wrong. Either you are lying or, worse yet, you are telling the truth, in which case you define working too much as a weakness and really do not want to work much at all.

The following example interview answers are provided to give you a new perspective on how to answer tough interview questions. They are not there for you to lift from the page and insert verbatim into your next interview. They are provided for you to use as a guide, giving you the basic structure for formulating your own answers. While the specifics of each reply may not apply to you, construct your personal answer keeping in mind the perspective of the interviewer. Answer the questions behaviorally, with specific examples that show clear evidence of your competencies. Always provide information that shows you have the skills and experience necessary to become the very best _____ for the company and how you have specifically prepared yourself to become exactly that. Interviewers want to be sold. They are waiting to be sold. Dont disappoint them!

Each of the interview question links below gives further details about the question, why the interviewer is asking the question, the best approach to answering and sample answers for both entry level and experienced candidates.

It seems like an easy interview question. Its open ended. You can talk about whatever you want from birth forward. Right?

Wrong. What the hiring manager really wants is a quick, two- to three-minute snapshot of who you are and why youre the best candidate for this position.

So as you answer this question, talk about what youve specifically done to prepare yourself to be the very best candidate for the position. Use a behavioral example or two to back it up. Then ask if they would like more details. If they do, keep giving them example after example of your background and experience. Always point back to a behavioral example when you have the opportunity.

“Tell me about yourself” does not mean tell everything. Just tell what makes you the best. Read more…

The easy answer is that you are the best person for the job. And dont be afraid to say so. But then you need to back it up with what specifically differentiates you.

A sample response: “You should hire me because Im the best person for the job. I realize that there are likely other candidates who also have the ability to do this job. Yet I bring an additional quality that makes me the best person for the job—my passion for excellence. I am passionately committed to producing truly world class results. Here is an example of how many passion for excellence delivered outstanding results…”

Are you the best person for the job? Show it by your passionate examples. Read more…

The key is to focus on your achievable objectives and what you are specifically doing to reach those objectives.

A sample response: “Within five years, I would like to become the very best accountant your company has on staff. I want to work toward becoming the expert that others rely upon. And in doing so, I feel Ill be fully prepared to take on any greater responsibilities which might be presented in the long term. For example, here is what Im presently doing to prepare myself…”

Then go on to show by your examples what you are doing to reach your goals and objectives. Read more…

This is a broad question and you need to focus on the behavioral examples in your educational background which specifically align to the required competencies for the career.

A sample answer: “My education has focused on not only learning the fundamentals, but also on the practical application of the information learned within those classes. For example, I played a lead role in a class project where we gathered and analyzed best practice data from this industry. Let me tell you more about the results…”

Focus on specific behavioral examples supporting the key competencies for the job. Then ask if they would like to hear more examples. Read more…

Almost everyone says yes to this question. But it is not just a yes/no question. You need to provide behavioral examples to back up your answer.

A sample answer: “Yes, Im very much a team player. In fact, Ive had opportunities in my work, school and athletics to develop my skills as a team player. For example, on a recent project…”

Emphasize teamwork behavioral examples and focus on your openness to diversity of backgrounds. Talk about the strength of the team above the individual. And note that this question may be used as a lead in to questions around how you handle conflict within a team, so be prepared. Read more…

Note that if you say no, most interviewers will keep drilling deeper to find a potential area of conflict. The key is how you behaviorally reacted to conflict and what you did to resolve it.

A sample response: “Yes, I have had conflicts in the past. Never major ones, but there have been disagreements that needed to be resolved. Ive found that when conflict occurs, it helps to fully understand the other persons perspective, so I take time to listen to their point of view, then I seek to work out a collaborative solution. For example…”

Focus your answer on the behavioral process for resolving the conflict and working collaboratively. Read more…

Most career books tell you to select a strength and then simply present it as a weakness. Such as: “I work too much. I just work and work and work.” Wrong. First of all, using a strength and presenting it as a weakness is deceiving. Youre lying. Second, it misses the entire point of the question.

You should select a weakness that you have been actively working to overcome. A sample response: “I have had trouble in the past with planning and prioritization. However, Im now taking steps to correct this. Im now using a planning app to better plan and prioritize…” then pull out your mobile to show how you are using the app.

Talk about a true weakness from the past, then show what you are doing to overcome it. Read more…

This is a threat of reference check (TORC) question. Do not wait for the interview to know the answer. Ask any prior bosses or professors in advance. And if they are willing to provide a positive reference, ask them for a letter of recommendation.

“I believe she would say Im a very energetic person, that Im results oriented and one of the best people with whom she has ever worked. Actually, I know she would say that, because those are her very words. May I show you her letter of recommendation?”

Focus on two words: leadership and vision. Then tell of how that leadership and vision translated into your personal delivered results.

Here is a sample of how to respond: “The key quality in a successful manager should be leadership—the ability to be the visionary for the people who are working under them. The person who can set the course and direction for subordinates, keeping them focused on what is most important for delivering the highest priority results. The highest calling of a true leader is inspiring others to reach the highest of their abilities. Id like to tell you about a person whom I consider to be a true leader and the results achieved while working with her…”

Then give an example of someone who has touched your life and how their impact has helped in your personal development and results delivered. Read more…

Focus on a key turning point in your life or missed opportunity. Yet also tie it forward to what you are doing to still seek to make that change.

A sample response: “Although Im very happy overall with where Im at in my life, the one aspect I likely would have changed would be focusing earlier on my chosen career. I had a great internship this past year and look forward to more experience in the field. I simply wish I would have focused on my professional development earlier. For example, I learned on my recent internship…” then provide examples.

Stay focused on positive direction in your life and back it up with examples. Read more…

It is not enough to have solid answers for only a few interview questions. You need to be prepared for the full spectrum of questions which may be asked. Review our list of 100 common interview questions, with detailed information on why the interviewer is asking the question and samples and examples of awesome interview answers to each question, both for entry level and experienced job seekers. Dont just look at the questions, think through and practice your answers.

In reviewing these sample interview answers, please remember that they are only examples. Do not rehearse them verbatim nor adopt these answers as your own. They are meant to stir your personal creative juices and get you thinking about how to properly answer the broader range of questions that you will face.

The most difficult interview questions (and answers)
  • What is your greatest weakness? Strengths-and-weaknesses interview questions are a given. …
  • Why should we hire you? …
  • What’s something that you didn’t like about your last job? …
  • Why do you want this job? …
  • How do you deal with conflict with a co-worker?

If you could relive the last 10 years of your life, what would you do?

What They Want to Know: This is a “trick question” that employers will sometimes use to see if they can trip you up and make you reveal character flaws. So, be careful not to provide too much information. It’s also fine to say that there’s nothing about the last 10 years that you regret.

The last 10 years have been the most exciting of my life, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve been blessed in that I’ve had so many opportunities to learn and to grow both as a professional and as a person, first in college and then in my first job at ABC Corporation.

More Answers: What has been the greatest disappointment in your life?

Tips to Answer Tough Interview Questions

Are you still a bit worried about how you’ll handle the toughest interview questions? These tips should help as you prepare for your conversation with a hiring manager.

Get ready for a few questions without right or wrong answers (e.g., “Describe yourself,” or “How would you calculate the amount of toilet paper needed to span the state of New York?”) can be particularly tricky. Here are a few examples:

  • Tell me about your dream job.
  • What makes you unique?
  • Where else are you interviewing?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why shouldnt we hire you?
  • Prepare yourself to answer “Why are you leaving?” questions. Questions about why you are looking for work are among the toughest you will face, particularly if the circumstances are less than positive. An honest, well-thought-out answer can get you through this round of questioning.

    Decide how to explain if you were fired from your last job. Especially if you’ve been fired, it’s important to have a strategy in place to deal with questions about why you’ve left your previous job. Best practice is to keep it simple, stay positive, and end on an upbeat note. Showing your readiness for a new direction in your life can turn a negative experience around. Be confident in this answer.

    Know what to do if you don’t have an answer. Sometimes, despite doing all the preparation you can for an interview, you just dont have an answer or cant think of something to say right away. It happens more frequently than you might think.

    Dont panic! When you can’t answer an interview question immediately, the goal is to buy yourself some time. Don’t rush. Take a deep breath. Ask for clarification if you need it. And if worse comes to worst, use your follow-up letter as a way to answer once you’ve had some time to research and formulate a response.

    What was most and least rewarding about your last position?

    What They Want to Know: As with all tricky questions, you’ll want to emphasize the positive when answering this interview question. Focus on praising the elements of the job that will be most important in your new position. The “least rewarding” answer should mention something minor and innocuous, that won’t be important to your work for your new employer.

    I was born to be a pediatric charge nurse, and I loved the opportunities I had at Houston General to proctor new nurses. The only thing I disliked was the commute, which is why I’m eager to find a nursing job closer to home.

    More Answers: What were your biggest successes and failures?

    What did you like and dislike about your previous job?

    What They Want to Know: The tone with which you answer this question is more important than the response you provide; the interviewer is trying to learn whether you are a complainer. Focus on the positive, and make sure that you don’t whine about a work task that will be essential in your new role.

    I’m an introvert, and so I really appreciated the fact that my lab supervisor allowed me to work independently, without much supervision. I’m a very organized, analytical person who can focus like a laser beam on the small details of a scientific experiment. The only thing I disliked about the position was that the project funding was always in jeopardy – a common problem, and one I helped to remediate by writing a few grant proposals that were funded by the NIH.

    More Answers: Interview questions about handling problems at your last job.

    Previous Work Questions

    Employers want to get a feel for how you handle workplace situations and what you think of your colleagues. These questions look back at your jobs, and its a good idea to be prepared to answer them.

    Try not to say many negative things—but if you do put a positive spin on them. You dont want to look like a whiner or that guy in the office who cant get along with anyone!

    The “Weakness” Questions

    Ah, the “What is your greatest weakness?” questions! They are painful, but interviewers love to ask them, and you need to be ready with a good answer.

    They want you to be honest, but you dont have to dig into your dark past or reveal everything.

    There is a good way and a bad way to answer these questions. One thing is for sure: you should never say, “I dont have any.”

    It’s also a bad idea to offer canned answers such as, “I’m a perfectionist.” (The interviewer will rightfully suspect that you don’t consider that to be a weakness, and will chalk the question up as a loss — or worse, judge you for being cagey.)

    The best way to answer questions about weaknesses is to be honest, positive, and focused on solutions. Choose a weakness that wouldn’t be a deal-breaker, and then describe how you overcame it. For example, describe a time when you realized your skills needed brushing up and then talk about what you’ve done to improve yourself.

    Are you lucky?

    What They Want to Know: This open-ended question is asked to determine whether you are an optimistic or a pessimistic individual. Is your glass half-full or half-empty? Tailor your response in such a way that you can highlight the unique strengths you offer.

    I consider myself to be extremely fortunate in that I’ve been offered some great opportunities by some wonderful people and have been able to take full advantage of them. My manager at Hughes Hotel saw my potential back when I was a front desk agent, and she encouraged me to develop my skillset and to become an event planner. Since I love to cook, I also earned my chef certification so that I could offer private catering to clients to complement my event planning services.

    More Answers: What motivates you?

    12 Common Tough Interview Questions and Best Answers

    Here are some of the toughest interview questions that employers ask, along with advice on how to respond and sample answers.

    1 Tell me about something you would have done differently at work.

    What They Want to Know: This is another version of a “weakness” question, so think carefully about which example you would like to share. Emphasize how you learned from the situation and / or were able to turn it to your advantage.

    I made the mistake, back when I was just starting out, of thinking that I shouldn’t ask other people for help (even if they offered it). I was afraid that this would make me look incompetent or needy. What happened, as a result, was that I made a few mistakes that could have been avoided had I simply asked a peer about what approach I should take. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was more productive to ask for help (as well as to offer it back in return).

    More Answers: Do you have any pet peeves?

    What do people most often criticize about you?

    What They Want to Know: This question assesses your self-awareness and your ability to accept criticism. A good strategy is to talk about a “weakness” that has actually proven to be a strength.

    People often tell me that I’m too hard on myself – I invest a fair amount of my ego into my work, and always worry that the copy I produce might not be “good enough.” I think that’s a fairly common mindset among writers, though, and I’d rather try to raise the bar than to complacently dash off a lot of ill-conceived text.

    More Answers: Why should I take a risk on you?

    Are you willing to fail?

    What They Want to Know: Employers are interested in how you respond to failure. Do you learn from it and build upon the experience to do better in the future?

    While I don’t enjoy failure, sometimes it happens – particularly when you’re not sure which approach would be best for a project and you choose the wrong one. Not everything you try is going to work, and you just have to accept this and know when to change course. I learned this for the first time when, as a new project manager at Building Designers, I was tasked with coordinating the installation of a green HVAC system in a historic hotel. It became clear, after construction started, that the materials we were using would lead to a substantial cost overrun – so I had to resort to my “Plan B” in order to provide the deliverables we’d promised. One should always have a “Plan B!”

    More Answers: How do you handle stress?

    1 How much do you expect to get paid?

    What They Want to Know: Employers want to know that your salary demands are reasonable. The safest strategy is to provide a believable ballpark figure, accompanied by a statement of your willingness to negotiate your pay scale.

    Sample Answer: The major online salary calculators indicate that retail managers at my level of experience here in Miami can expect to earn between $48K and $52K. I’m more than open to negotiating this, depending upon your benefits package.

    More Answers: Are you overqualified for this job?

    Why Are Tough Interview Questions Important?

    These tougher questions have a purpose: they give the interviewer a deeper sense of who you are and whether youre a good fit for the company.

    Try to provide anecdotes and specific examples from your previous work experiences in your answers, especially focusing upon how these experiences have shaped you as an employee.

    What do you expect from a supervisor?

    What They Want to Know: Your interviewer is interested in knowing whether you, as an employee, are coachable and have reasonable expectations of your supervisor; answering this question negatively (by listing what you dislike in supervisors) won’t earn you much credit. Provide an honest example of the management style that is most likely to motivate you to do your best work.

    Sample Answer: I find I thrive in situations where my supervisors take the time to provide me with constructive feedback about my performance. This allows me to know that I’m on the right track. I also appreciate it when they have an “open door” policy where their staff feel encouraged to approach them about issues.

    More Answers: How would you handle it if your boss was wrong?

    What have you learned from your mistakes?

    What They Want to Know: No employee is perfect 100% of the time – everyone makes mistakes occasionally. Employers ask this question to gauge your flexibility and your willingness to own your errors and to learn from them.

    Mistakes are great learning experiences. While I try very hard not to make them, I’ve come to recognize that sometimes you just make a bad call. Years ago, our department was sorely understaffed, and the pressure was on to hire a new paralegal. So our selection team basically hired the first candidate who walked in the door, without really vetting him or extending our job search. He lasted all of two weeks. We learned that it pays to take the time to find good talent, even if you yourself have to work overtime until the position is filled.

    Why have you been out of work?

    What They Want to Know: When they review their job candidates, a major red flag for employers is when someone has been unemployed for more than a few months. It’s in their best interest to learn whether this was a result of the candidate’s personal weaknesses (lack of ambition, laziness, or a poor work ethic) or whether there were extenuating circumstances beyond the individual’s control.

    After the company I worked for was sold and I was laid off, I decided to take the time to really assess my career trajectory. Although working at the call center paid the bills and it allowed me to capitalize upon my “people skills,” the work itself had become monotonous for me. So I decided to go back to school to finally become a physical therapist – a dream I had put on hold.

    More Answers: Why were you fired?

    Personality Questions

    Preparing for an interview is a good chance to reexamine yourself. The interviewer wants to see what type of personality you have. These questions get to that core and dig into who you are on a personal level. Your response will help the interviewer determine whether you are a good match for what the organization is seeking in the employees they hire.

    Tough “On the Job” Questions

    This round of questions is trying to probe for how you would work in the companys environment. Each workplace is different in the expectations they have of their employees, but honest answers can help bridge any gaps.

    Who was your best supervisor and who was your worst?

    What They Want to Know: This is another question where a hiring manager is primarily seeking to gain insight into your personality. Can you appreciate the positive traits of your supervisors, or are you eager to throw shade on them? Avoid doing the latter and focus on what you’ve learned from your previous bosses, without casting judgement on them as being “good” or “bad.”

    Sample Answer: I’ve learned a lot about how to be a good manager from the supervisors I’ve had in the past. My favorite boss, Ted Jones, taught me to lead by example, and that there is no task too small for a manager to perform if it helps his team. That’s a quality that some of the managers I had early in my career lacked, and so I’m glad that Ted took me under his wing.

    More Answers: What was it like working with your supervisor?

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    We live in a world full of cut-throat competition. Irrespective of which industry you belong to, landing your dream job has become extremely difficult and tricky. People today work determinedly at every stage, right from creating an impressive resume to building an awesome personal brand just to stay ahead of the curve. It is thus natural to get nervous when you are about to face your interview rounds.

    While you can never exactly know what your recruiter might ask, there are certain questions that usually pop up. Over the years, recruiters around the world have refined their questionnaires to get some important answers from their candidates. How you answer these questions can decide your chances of getting your desired job.

    In this article, we will explore some of these tough interview questions. We will understand why recruiters ask these questions and the answers they expect from candidates. In this manner, you will have a fair idea of the meaning behind some of these tough interview questions and answers and feel much more confident while facing your upcoming interview rounds.Â

  • Why Are Tough Interview Questions Important?
  • Why Do Employers Ask Tough Interview Questions?
  • Most Common Difficult Interview Questions With Example Answers
  • Difficult Personality Based Questions
  • Tough Previous Work-Related Questions
  • Other Common Difficult Questions
  • Tips to answer some of the tough questions
  • How to make the best impression?
  • Some of the hard to answer interview questions that we will explore in this article are designed to reveal a candidate’s core personality that is difficult to figure by just reading their resume. Personality traits like facing challenges, facing failures, and accepting criticism can only be revealed through these answers to difficult interview questions. How you answer them is instrumental in landing your dream job.

    Furthermore, the ability to find an answer to tough interview questions on the spot is a measure of your quick thought-processing skills and creativity levels. When you prepare hard interview questions and answers, you are pushing yourself to bring out the best of your capabilities.Â

    Recruiters usually have to go through a pile of applications before they find the right candidate. It is not a simple task to separate the best candidates for the job.

    Therefore, employers look at difficult interview questions and answers as a tool to filter the best candidates from their list of applicants. These questions act like markers for recruiters to identify people who would fit best for the role.

    1) What critical feedback do you most often receive?Â

    What They Want to Know – Through this question, employers are looking to understand if you are actively listening to the criticism you receive. This attribute shows that you are constantly looking to work on yourself and positively accept the feedback given to you.

    How to answer this question – Approach this question by accepting that you pay attention to what feedback you receive. Let them know that you reflect on it seriously and work on implementing it in your daily life.Â

    Example – “In the past, I have been told that I rely a lot on my own biases and assumptions about people instead of relying on data. My first reaction is usually to think based on my personal assumptions. I now try to give myself a moment before jumping to conclusions and study data to take actions.”Â

    Here are some of the best answers to tough interview questions when it comes to your personality:

    1) Are you willing to fail?Â

    ‍What They Want to Know – Employers ask this question to understand how you digest failure and if you take it as a learning lesson. The last thing an employer wants is a candidate that cannot get back up when things go wrong.

    How to answer this question – Through your answer, you must convey that, despite failures, you maintain a positive outlook towards the exciting possibilities future prospects might bring and hope to learn from your mistakes. Sharing a relevant experience here can speak volumes about how you tackle difficult situations.Â

    Example – “While failing can be frustrating, I have always tried to look at it as a route to success. I strongly believe in failing fast and early to gain clarity in moving ahead. While working on my startup, we failed at scaling quickly only to realize that we were targeting the wrong customer base. A slight shift in our target audience helped us achieve scale quickly to raise a round of funding.”Â

    2) How do you handle stress?Â

    What They Want to Know – Stress can often cause frustration and push you to react irrationally and impulsively with your team members. How you handle stress is key to maintaining great company culture.

    How to answer this question – Acknowledge stress as a contagious phenomenon and chart out your plan on how you believe stress in the workplace can be handled.Â

    Example – “Stress can be a huge distraction from pursuing your goals. In a workplace, stress can greatly affect team spirit. Therefore, I personally believe the best way to tackle stress is through open communication. Being honest with each other and sharing your views regularly can be instrumental in breaking stress and bringing everyone on the same page.”

    3) What is your biggest weakness?

    What They Want to Know – Employers ask this question to check if you are aware of your flaws and actively working on them. Knowing your flaws is a sign of humility and focus.Â

    How to answer this question – State your weakness and proceed to explain how you work on countering it.Â

    Example – “One of my biggest weaknesses is speaking too soon. I am actively working to be a better listener and process my thoughts before voicing them.”Â

    4) Do you have any regrets?

    What They Want to Know – Employers usually ask this question to check if you are stuck with some regret in your life. Regrets are a baggage in peoples lives that keep them from realizing their potential

    How to answer this question – A spirit to let go of the past and a positive attitude towards the future should be reflected in your answer. Â

    Example – “I do not have any regrets in my life. I have made mistakes in my past but I have always tried my best to learn from them. My efforts are in not repeating my mistakes and always learning something from them.”Â

    5) If you could relive the last 10 years of your life, what would you do?

    What They Want to Know – This question is again closely connected with understanding if you have any regrets.

    How to answer this question – The best way to answer this question is by highlighting some of the best times from the last 10 years.Â

    Example – “I would probably not change anything from the last 10 years. These were some of the most amazing years in which I built 2 products from scratch and met some of the best people who shaped my career in the right direction.”

    6) Are you lucky?Â

    What They Want to Know – Employers ask this question to determine your approach to life. This question reveals if you are an optimistic or pessimistic person.Â

    How to answer this question – Approach this answer with a note of gratitude and by acknowledging your efforts and hard work in accomplishing everything that you have.

    Example – “I consider myself fortunate to be in the position I am and for the opportunities that have come my way. While I am grateful, I am also proud of the effort I have put in to make the best of all the opportunities I have had.”

    7) What have you learned from your mistakes?Â

    What They Want to Know – It is often easy to identify your mistakes but difficult to take a lesson from them. Through this question, employers try to understand your ability to learn and apply your lessons.

    How to answer this question – Sharing an incident that highlights how you learn from your mistakes and evolve may be the best way to answer this question.Â

    Example – “One of my earliest mistakes was to hire employees that weren’t experienced enough just to cut costs. I have learned to invest properly in things that make or break your project. Hiring the best talent is extremely crucial and can only help you save money.”Â

    8) Why have you been out of work?Â

    What They Want to Know – Being out of work can signal a lack of ambition or effort. Employers ask this question to know what you have been doing since your last employment and if you have been utilizing your time well.

    How to answer this question – A willingness to learn about yourself and your interests is always a good sign. Let them know that youve spent your time off work productively so as to chart a course for your future endeavours.Â

    Example – “I left my last job because I realized I needed a career shift since my work had become extremely monotonous. I took some time off in understanding what I truly wanted to do. I spent my time researching the latest in technology and business, reading case studies, and improving my communication skills to be better prepared for my next opportunity.”

    1) What did you like or dislike about your previous job?Â

    Employers ask this question to understand if you enjoy your work and to get an idea of how your general attitude could be in your new organization. A healthy, positive and welcoming attitude counts!Â

    Example – “I loved working in my previous organization. I enjoyed the new technology I was introduced to. While I enjoyed most things, I disliked the lack of challenges towards the end of my term.”

    2) Who was your best supervisor and who was the worst?Â

    Employers ask this question to know if you have the ability to pick up positive traits from your seniors and apply them in your professional life.Â

    Example – “I was fortunate to work with great mentors who have helped me be at the position I am today. I would specifically like to mention Mr. XYZ who showed me how to always lead by example.”Â

    3) What was the most and least rewarding about your last position?Â

    Ensure you focus on the positive while answering this question to not sound too complaining. Employers seek to find out if you tend to dwell in the negativity of a situation or move on to the positive aspects of a job.Â

    Example – “I have thoroughly enjoyed my last job where I got to learn a lot. The most rewarding was an opportunity to work with new technology and experiment with the product. The only small downside could be the long working hours which were a result of bad time management.”

    1) Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle

    Through this question, employers try to understand how you deal with challenges and find hacks to overcome them. Assert that you maintain a learning attitude in your stance.Â

    Example – “I firmly believe that obstacles are gateways to new opportunities. One of the obstacles while running my startup was funding. I overcame this by consistently researching and connecting with investors in my city and industry domain. This was followed by convincing them of my vision and getting them to invest in my startup.”Â

    2) What have been your most positive and negative management experiences?Â

    Through this question, employers want to understand your attitude towards handling teams, resources, and leadership qualities.Â

    Example – “While I have had to make tough management decisions, I haven’t seen them as negative experiences. I have had the opportunity to build and guide a team of extremely capable engineers and designers. I have learned a lot about technology and design through them as well.”Â

    3) Why are you leaving your current position?Â

    This question tells your employer about the things that mattered to you and what can possibly push you to leave your job. They can then check if their company can provide you with what you expect.Â

    Example – “While I enjoyed my last job thoroughly, I am trying to move towards new challenges that can expand the horizon of my work.”Â

    4) How many pennies if stacked on top of each other would equal the height of the Empire State building?Â

    Employers may ask such questions just to rattle you. Such questions do not have a wrong answer, but employers try to check if you can maintain your presence of mind and provide an answer with some logical backing.Â

    Example – “We can start by considering some of the known entities. The height of the building is roughly 1500 feet. Then we can assume that around 15 pennies stacked over one another can equal one inch. Multiplying the two can give us an approximate answer of 270,000 pennies.”Â

    5) Why do you want to work here?Â

    Employers ask this question to check if you have understood your role in their company and why you think it would be great for you.Â

    Example – “I think I love solving interesting problems. I think this company is solving a very important problem that affects people’s lives every day. It is also a challenging problem especially due to the current competition in the space. I want to work here to try and contribute to the solution.”Â

    6) Why should we hire you?Â

    Employers ask this question to understand how you look at yourself and your abilities. This question helps them understand how you can stand out amongst other applicants. This is an important question and you should be prepared with your answer.

    Example – “I think I have the necessary experience in driving this solution forward. My startup experience also gives me a fresh perspective on problem-solving which could be instrumental in building this product with an innovative, out-of-the-box approach.”Â

    7) Tell me about yourself.

    This question is usually asked as an introductory question. Make sure you highlight some of your achievements that would matter to the job you are applying for while answering this question.Â

    Example – “I have worked as a product manager in the last 4 years. Building roadmaps, user journeys, understanding customer needs, market analysis, and making decisions based on metrics were some of the most important things I was responsibleÂ

    8) What’s your greatest achievement?Â

    Employers answer this question to understand what you consider as something that added the most value to your professional satisfaction.Â

    Example – “When my product turned one last year, more than 200 users volunteered to celebrate this occasion. I knew at this moment that I had added value to people’s lives and it was the greatest feeling.”Â

    9) What do you expect from your supervisor?Â

    Through this question, your employer wants to understand if you are someone who has the capability to consistently learn from your superiors. Having reasonable expectations from your supervisor is a sign of ambition and curiosity.Â

    Example – “I look forward to work under someone who can push me towards my full potential and provide me with constructive feedback that can help me identify my flaws and correct them.”

    10) Tell me something you would have done differently at work.

    This is very close to the question asked about your past mistakes. Make sure you carefully tone your answer to help your employer understand that you always hope to learn from your mistakes.Â

    Example – “I have committed mistakes in the past but I have always tried to experiment with my work and learn from the things that go wrong. In my early days, I could have probably learned a lot faster if I would have asked for feedback openly instead of trying to figure out everything on my own.”Â

    11) How much do you expect to get paid?Â

    Employers ask this question to understand how much you expect to earn. It is important to ask for a realistic figure based on your expertise and experience.Â

    Example – “I am looking for something around $50,000 per month, considering my experience and abilities. However, I am more interested in this opportunity and excited about the idea. I am open for negotiations for the same.”Â

    Finally, now that we have explored some of the answers to hard interview questions and their possible answers, here are a few tips that can help you crack them and make a great impression.Â

    – You cant dodge those tricky questions so be prepared

    Questions that have no wrong answers are usually tricky and can take you by surprise. Make sure you research and prepare yourself for such questions.Â

    – Be ready for the “Why are you leaving” question

    The reason why you are leaving your current organization can tell your recruiter what excites you and what could be a deal-breaker. The answer you give here also talks about your loyalty and commitment. Thus, it is important to prepare yourself for such questions.Â

    – Prepare for some tough questions if you were fired from your last jobÂ

    If you were fired from your last job, it can be tricky to get hired again. Make sure you tell about your perspective and how it has been a learning for you. Make the employer feel like you have taken it in your stride and are ready to face your next challenge.

    – Know what to do if you don’t have an answer

    Dont panic. Not knowing an answer can also be handled elegantly. Accept you don’t know the answer and try to openly contemplate why this might be the case.Â

    Finally, here are a few tips to create a great impression at your interview:

  • Dress for the job
  • Arrive on time
  • Address every person in the room
  • Be confident in your abilities
  • Answer diplomatically when it comes to tricky questions
  • Be honest about your flaws
  • Show consistent curiosity
  • Display a willingness to learn
  • An interview is just an opportunity to exhibit your best professional self. Know that the only person standing in your way is you. Don’t panic, be transparent, and confident in your approach. Plus, preparation is key!WEBINAR +LIVE QA

    9 of the Most Difficult Interview Questions—and How to Answer Them

    Whats your absolute least favorite job interview question? Yup, these tough interview questions stump us all. Seriously, job interviews are difficult enough. So why this whole trend in asking questions that stump candidates? I love a thought-provoking conversation as much as anyone, but when youre trying to put your best foot forward in a job interview, chances are youre holding your breath waiting for the worst one to hit you. In the spirit of

    FAQ

    What are the 5 hardest interview questions?

    Here, Denham offers some advice on how to answer five of the toughest interview questions:
    • What is your biggest weakness? Strelka Institute/Flickr. …
    • What salary do you think you deserve? …
    • Why should I hire you? …
    • What didn’t you like about your last job? …
    • Where do you see yourself in three to five years?

    How do you answer the 10 hardest interview questions?

    9 Tricky Interview Questions (With Answers)
    • What are your weaknesses? …
    • Why do you want to work here? …
    • Where do you see yourself in five years? …
    • Why do you want to leave your current company? …
    • Why is there a gap in your work history? …
    • Tell me about a time you made a mistake. …
    • What can you offer us that other candidates can’t?

    How do you prepare for a tricky interview?

    How to answer 10 tough interview questions
    1. Story Highlights.
    2. “Tell me about yourself” is the perfect moment to toot your own horn.
    3. Always ask for feedback from your colleagues to gauge your performance.
    4. Don’t badmouth a boss or give a laundry list of reasons for leaving your last job.

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