Everyone faces tough job interview questions now and again, but there a few queries that provoke a little anxiety in even the most confident of applicants. Why? Because these questions address topics that we’re better served by offering vague responses. For example, when asked “who was your least favorite supervisor” or “what are you weaknesses,” you should avoid being too explicit. In other words, you don’t want to drone on about a bad boss, because it results in you looking bad. Sure, we’re not perfect nor are those we work with, but professionalism requires us to be circumspect rather than turning the interview into a counseling session. Less is best with great answers to tough job interview questions, still, you need to be direct and deliver a strong enough response to satisfy the employer and be able to back the claims made in your resume. Here’s a few ways to do so.
Be Positive. Interviews are designed to narrow the pool of candidates so the best and brightest rises to the top. But winning candidates must not only be great at what they do, but also be likeable and easy to work with. Many questions help elicit such character traits and behavioral tendencies from an applicant by inquiring about challenging situations. This is not the time to share your personal objections, cite failures or blame or criticize others. Instead focus on successes, including those with colleagues, managers and clients. If you’ve had a difficult boss or demanding customer, avoid negative statements and instead be positive by sharing your win-win outcome of the challenge and how you helped others around you feel supported and successful.
Be Pithy. Pithy, not only means being brief, but being meaningful, as well. So keep your responses short, to the point yet brimming with impact and meaning. Avoid long answers that cause you to forget the question or worse, put the interviewer to sleep. But at the same time, don’t forget to share a well thought out and articulated response that leaves them wanting more. Being pithy also means you’re not afraid of silence. Lengthy pauses during an interview should be expected while the interviewer takes notes or configures their next question. Don’t feel you need to fill the gap after a tough question with words. Instead, respect their time and their thought process and your professionalism will shine through.
Be Productive. Seemingly tough interview questions should always be met with results-oriented responses. For example the question “What are your weaknesses” should not elicit a list of things you’re not good at, but rather how you overcame a challenge (weakness) and produced results. Career Coaching can you help you hone your best responses and we develop sound responses to tough questions that demonstrate worth. For example, “Why should we hire you?” “How do you handle rejection?” or “What was the biggest mistake that you’ve ever made?” should all yield impressive results.