How to Answer Difficult Interview Questions
No matter how knowledgeable you are in your field, there are interview questions that are difficult to answer. The key to feeling confident throughout your interview is anticipating the hard to answer questions, forming answers before your interview, and practicing your responses. By going in prepared, you will impress the interviewer with how comfortable and confident you are despite the difficult questions they ask.
Tell Me About Yourself.
Often this question is asked at the beginning of the interview as a warm up question, and it can set the tone for the rest of your interview. When the interviewer begins by asking you to tell them about yourself, they aren’t really interested in your cats or your favorite bands. Instead of going into detail about your personal life, use this question to briefly talk about your education, work experience and career highlights. Keep your response brief but make sure to highlight areas that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Most people don’t know where they will be in 5 years, making it difficult to respond to this question. So instead of responding with where you see yourself in 5 years, it is appropriate to respond with your short and long-term goals. For example, you can say, “my short term goals are to become successful in my next position, but long term I see myself moving up in a company and taking on more responsibilities”. What you want them to know is that you are seeking stability, long-term employment, and a company that will help you grow in your career.
What is a mistake that you have made in the workplace?
In this question, the interviewer is looking for honesty and ownership. They want to know that you have self-awareness and understand when a mistake has been made. They also want to see that you are able to problem solve. While answering this question, touch on the mistake that you made, but focus the majority of your response on what you learned from the experience. Also, focus on the steps you have taken to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistake.
What is your biggest weakness?
Similarly, the interviewer is looking for honestly in this answer. Everyone has weaknesses, and this is your opportunity to both tell them what yours is as well as how you plan to overcome your shortcomings. While answering this question, it is best to leave responses like, “I’m too detail oriented” or “I work too hard” at home (they have heard these a million times). Instead, reflect on areas that you truly could improve upon. Some examples of weaknesses that would be acceptable during an interview are public speaking and technology. Just make sure that after you state your weakness, you also discuss your plan to become successful in that area.
By crafting and practicing answers to these questions, you are ensuring that your responses are well thought out so that you can remain confident throughout your interview.