Picture the scene: You have spent many hours preparing for interview and have identified all the possible questions you could be asked by the interviewer. You believe you are fully prepared to tackle any question they may throw at you….
It’s the day of the interview. You meet with the interviewer, shake their hand and sit down with them to begin the interview. They ease you into the interview by giving a brief background on the company and what they do. Then it happens. They ask you that question that catches you off guard, the one you haven’t prepared for. You feel a sense of panic and stumble out an answer you haven’t thought through.
When we prepare for an interview, it’s important that we consider every question we could be asked – whether they might be ridiculous or not. Interviews are used to test how you react and what value you could bring to a company.
Here are the 7 toughest interview questions and how to answer them:
- Why should I hire you?
This is one of the most obvious – yet easily overlooked question that you could be asked in an interview. The interviewer wants to know why you would be an asset to their company and what skills you could bring to the role. When answering this question, consider the job description and key responsibilities to identify the skills and knowledge you need for that job. Provide an answer which identifies past experiences that demonstrate those skills.
- Tell me a little about yourself
Interviewers use this question to assess how you sell yourself to them. Your answer should be brief and to the point – no longer than two minutes, and should cover education and recent work experience which relates to the job you are being interviewed for. Do not mention your hobbies and what you like to do at the weekend.
- Where do you want to be in 5 years’ time?
This question is asked to understand how much you have researched the company and to gain a better understanding of your own career path. By demonstrating that you are passionate and enthusiastic about the role you are being interviewed for will show your potential employer how much you want the job. Make sure your response highlights your skills and experience, in line with the organisation and their goals.
- What are your greatest strengths?
This is your opportunity to really shine. Try to provide examples and a brief backstory to each that illustrate what your greatest achievements have been in your past and recent work experience. Tailor your response as closely as possible to the skills the employer is looking for in their job description. A great approach to this question would be to identify the four key areas an employer is looking for: self-starter, ability to work in a team, use own initiative and good communication with colleagues and clients.
- What are your greatest weaknesses?
Highlighting your greatest weaknesses in an interview can seem like a trap. You don’t want to give the impression that you can’t perform well in specific tasks or don’t have experience with a specific skill required to succeed in the role. Identify a weakness that you are currently working to improve such as presentation skills or communication and show what you are doing to overcome it. This will show your drive and determination to develop your skillset.
- Give a time when you solved a difficult problem?
Competency based questions are tricky, but are a quick way to understand the mind-set of the individual and what solutions they can provide to overcome a problem. Consider your recent or past work experiences and think of a difficult situation and what you had to do to solve it. The best way to structure your response is by using the STAR (Situation, Task, Activity, Result) technique.
- Describe yourself in 5 words
When answering this question, ensure that your response can be supported by past or recent achievements and skills you have obtained in these roles. For example: If you are a team player, give an example of a time you worked effectively in a team. For each description, make sure that these are backed up with reasonable explanations for why you have described yourself as possessing those qualities.
What other tough questions have you been asked in an interview? Let us know in the comments below!