How to Answer These Tough Interview Questions
1: Why are you interested in this job?
First and foremost, you must make it clear that you have a firm grasp of what the job entails. Make sure you know what you’ll be doing, and which tasks make up most of the job. You don’t want to emphasize how much you love an aspect of a job if that aspect only makes up 5% of your workload.
Once you establish that you fully understand the role, you can delve into what parts you find exciting. Employers are looking for someone who seems like they care about the work they’re doing, so it is important to make sure you don’t come off as uninterested, or like you just want any job.
2: Why are you leaving your current job?
This can be a difficult question to navigate. The best thing to do is to prepare a short answer that truthfully explains the situation and highlights what you excelled in at your previous job. Don’t speak negatively of your previous employer, and don’t say that you were treating the previous job as a steppingstone for something better. Employers naturally don’t like it when employees talk about their employers negatively and don’t like the idea of you treating your job as a temporary gig while you look for something better.
Just keep it simple, honest, and positive. And always bring it back to why you are a good candidate for the job.
3: Tell me about a mistake you’ve made and how you were able to correct it.
This question stumps a lot of interviewees. Especially ones that didn’t come prepared with an answer. How do you make yourself look good when talking about a time that you messed up? This question provides you with a great opportunity to show an employer why you’re the best candidate. Everyone messes up. Being able to effectively recover from a mistake is invaluable.
When answering this question, always:
- Pick an example from work (not a personal story).
- Make sure the mistake was minor, but not completely inconsequential.
- Make sure you fixed this mistake.
- Succinctly describe how you fixed it.
- End with what you learned from the mistake.
Following this template will make one of the worst parts of the interview into an opportunity to stand out as someone who is flexible, reliable, and able to improve.
4: Do you have any questions for us?
Almost every interview wraps up with this question. You’ll likely want to just finish the interview at this point but having a thoughtful question to ask shows that you understand the job well and that you are interested in the sort of work you will be doing. It’s also a great way to start a conversation with your interviewer, which will make you significantly more memorable.
It’s difficult to think of a question on the spot, but it’s also possible that a planned question could be answered during the interview. There are a few ways this can be avoided:
- Research the company and come up with multiple (3-5) questions before the interview.
- Refer to something said earlier in the interview. This could be about a project, the company culture, etc.
- Ask about how this position came to be open. If you’re replacing someone, why was the previous person let go? If it’s a new position, why does the company feel they need this new addition?
It’s easy to let these tough questions trip you up and keep you from showing the interviewer how good of a candidate you really are. Following these tips and preparing ahead of time will turn these tough questions into softballs!