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16 June 2023

How to Answer 6 Difficult Interview Questions

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How to Answer 6 Difficult Interview Questions

During a job interview you will be asked a variety of questions depending on the industry and position you are applying for. There are many industry specific questions which would need a separate post, but there are 6 that come up in some form or another in any interview process as they are an excellent way for the client to get to know more about you as a potential candidate.

In this post, we will look at these six questions and some potential examples of what an employer is looking for.

"Tell me about yourself."

This open-ended question is likely to be the opening question asked by an employer or recruiter screening a candidate. It can be challenging because it is easy to go off on a tangent and give the person more information than is necessary. The best thing to do is give a concise answer that summarises relevant skills, experiences and accomplishments. This should give them an insight into your qualifications and experience.

"What is your greatest weakness?"

When answering this question, avoid responses like "I'm a perfectionist." Instead, identify a weakness that you are actively working on improving. This shows the client or recruiter that you have thought about this and are self aware

Example answer: One weakness I have been working on is planning things out instead of just diving straight into the project. I understand the importance of a strong strategy to ensure tasks are completed effectively and on time.

Describe a time when you faced a difficult situation at work and how you handled it."

An employer or interviewer asks this question to see how you deal with difficult situations and pressure. The most effective way to tackle this question is to use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) This will ensure you choose a relevant situation where you encountered a challenge and then came up with a solution to solve it effectively.

Example answer: I worked in a hardware store. A customer ordered a certain type of paint online and when it was sent to the store it was sold by someone. Before calling the online customer, I checked other locations and found the same type of paint. I was able to get this directly to the online customer and the problem was avoided.

"Why should we hire you?"

The recruiter or employer is looking for you to differentiate yourself from other candidates they have spoken to. The best thing to do here is highlight any relevant experience or unique skills that make you the right fit for the role. It is also very important to read the job description and review exactly what the company is looking for in a candidate.

Example answer: You should hire me because I am extroverted and have a proven ability to sell multiple products to both companies and individuals. In my previous role as a sales executive, I came up with an innovative way of approaching prospects. This resulted in a 20% increase in new business sales.

"How do you handle stress or pressure?"

No matter what job you are applying for, stress will be a component at some point when deadlines loom or something goes wrong. Employers and recruiters ask this question to ensure you can handle stress effectively in a professional setting. The best way to answer this is to give an example where you have stayed calm, made rational decisions and maintained productivity when things get tough. This could include managing time, delegating tasks, or seeking support from colleagues. This will enable you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Example answer: I need good communication when things get stressful as everyone being aware of situations and procedures is likely to result in everyone being on the same page. Project management tools are super helpful here as everyone can see what is taking place.

Tell me about a time when you failed and what you learned from it."

The recruiter or employer wants you to choose a relevant example that relates to the role. Describe a time when you took a risk or faced a setback that didn't pay off. Focus on what you learned from this and how you made improvements going forward to ensure it didn't happen again. This will demonstrate how resilient and adaptable you are as a candidate and could make you stand out from others.

Example answer: In my last role, I tried to change an accounting tool but it didn't integrate with our current system. Even though this tool didn't work, it highlighted to the company that they needed to update the system so it could integrate with other tools.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to tough interview questions. While some interview questions are used across all roles and industries, others may surprise you. Some companies use questions that take you out of your comfort zone to make you improvise or come up with an answer you haven't prepared for. No matter if the interview question is common or improvised, try to practice answering questions and adapt your responses so your answers don't sound rehearsed.