HOW TO ANSWER 12 OF THE TOUGHEST JOB INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Interviews are perceived to be tough. But, are they really? Hiring managers use almost the same questions to judge the candidates. Knowing how to tackle these questions will make a lot of difference in your performance on the day of the interview. An interview can be your turning point in your professional career. Sure, it can be daunting. But, with proper preparation, you will be ready to face the interview panel with your confident self.
Often, candidates are nervous for a simple reason that they are constantly being judged in an interview. From their body language to the words they utter, their intonation, their mannerisms, their intellect… The list is endless. The trick here is to be yourself and answer the questions with confidence and poise. This only comes through practice.
Here are 12 of the toughest interview questions that one can get asked. Read on to find out what approach you can use to answer them.
1. Why are you interested in working for us?
The hiring managers are not just interested to know as to why you want to work for them, but they are also curious to know if you have done a good amount of research about the company. Knowing what differentiates the company from other competitors is important.
Talk about all the features and perks that the company offers that other companies don’t. Draw lines between your goals and what the company has to offer and speak about how the company will help you realise your goals. This way, the panel knows for sure that you are there for a reason and will work actively.
2. What can you offer us that someone else cant?
There are probably many candidates applying for that one role that you are interviewing for, and it’s important that you know what differentiating factors you possess from the crowd. The interviewer is interested in knowing how well you know your skills. Also, your humility levels are also checked. So, don’t brag too much!
An interesting way to tackle this situation would be to mention your past stories in your professional life where you handled a situation differently as compared to others, to showcase that you have a tendency to think outside the box. You can also mention the skill set that you possess and how you plan on implementing them in your job.
3. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
Working in a company comes with its share of handling tough circumstances on a regular basis. The interviewer wants to know your tactics to deal with them. He/she wants to know if you are well equipped to deal with unforeseen situations.
The best way to answer this question would be to describe a situation where you felt out of place. Talk about how you kept your calm and were unfazed during the situation. Talk about what made that situation difficult for you and how you faced it. You can also mention how better prepared you were the next time a difficult situation arose, so the panel knows that you have a positive learning curve.
4. Are you willing to relocate?
The panel wants to know how willing you are to shift your location if there is a need. The best advice would be to answer it honestly and not make false promises. Relocation would be a big commitment to make, hence you must think twice before answering this question.
If you have zero interests in relocating, you must state your reasons for your unwillingness. This way, the panel knows that you have a valuable reason to not shift or relocate. However, if you are interested in relocating, state the reasons for the same- it may be exposure to a new culture, or travelling to a different city, or opportunities to learn more. Whatever your answer is, make sure you back it up with solid reasons.
5. Would you work on holidays/weekends?
The easy answer here would be to say a big yes. But, pause. Are you really willing to give up your personal time o holidays and weekends and become a workaholic? If you have even a 5% doubt in your head about it, then here is the best place to answer realistically to this question. This is also a point in the interview where the interviewer is checking if you are being too desperate to get the job!
Talk about how you important it is for you to spend time with your family or to destress at the weekend. Do mention about situations where you went beyond your call of duty and worked during the weekend to help the company achieve its targets. This way, the panel knows that even though you might not work every weekend, but you are more than willing to work if the need arises.
6. Who are our competitors?
In this competitive world, it is imperative to be aware of the competition in any industry. Hence, the interviewer is checking if you have the knowledge of the competitors of the company you want to work in.
Bring your analysis to the table when asked this question. Talk about the products or services about the competitors and mention why they are doing well or why they aren’t. You can mention how the company’s products are better than their competitors and what makes them stand apart. This analysis shows that you are interested in making efforts to better the company’s products in the market.
7. What was your biggest failure?
Talking about failures is as important as emphasising your successes. The hiring officials have years of experience behind them, and they know that the biggest of the failures are the best source for learning. Hence, don’t be afraid to own up to your mistakes and blunders.
Start by making a story out of the situation you want to talk to. Give them a lot of details as to what made you fail. Talk about the aftermath- talk about how you realised your mistakes, who helped you realise them and what lessons you learnt. This way, you emphasise on the learning rather than your mistake.
8. Who is your mentor?
A mentor is someone who guides you and points out the areas in which you can probably improve. Having a good relationship with a mentor showcases that you are a good student and are willing to be guided.
A mentor can be anyone, from your previous boss to your favourite teacher with whom you are still in touch. Talk about how your relationship with your mentor has added positively to your life. You can mention certain situations where you faltered and how your mentor advised you which helped you overcome the difficulties you were facing.
9. What makes you uncomfortable?
Everybody has certain issues that make them feel uncomfortable in the workplace. The panel wants to know how you handle yourself in these situations so that they know for sure that you are not someone who gets bogged down during uncomfortable situations.
Speak about situations that bring out the best qualities in you. For example, you can talk about how you feel uncomfortable when co-workers pile up their work till the deadline is nearby. This way, the panel knows that you do not pile up your work yourself. Also, mention how you have learnt to deal with situations like that. You can say how you have seen your co-workers carry a huge burden when the deadline is nearby and how you always make sure that you don’t put yourself in that situation.
10. What were your bosses’ strengths and weaknesses?
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is easy. But answering questions about your previous boss, in front of your potential future boss, can be tricky.
Mention ways in which your boss helped you grow professionally. Talk about his/her good qualities and how you have tried to incorporate them into your professional life. Mention one or two weaknesses that are not too polarised. Take the middle path and talk about mild things like he/she might have the tendency to overestimate the amount of time needed to complete a task, or scheduling a lot of things in a shorter time span. You can mention how you tried to bring to notice to your boss when these situations arose. This way the panel knows that you are actively involved in the decision-making process as well.
11. Are you a leader or a follower?
A good employee needs to be both a leader and a follower to achieve success within the team. By asking this question, the panel is not expecting you to choose either one of the options, but they want to know how you have showcased both the traits in your professional experiences.
The best way to answer this question would be to talk about a few incidents where your rose to the occasion when needed and helped the team perform better. This way, the panel knows that you are used to taking up responsibility, and not just do the assigned work. You can also mention a few instances where you were a good team player and how you followed the instructions of the team leader diligently.
12. What are your hobbies?
Being professionally successful needs you to have a good work-life balance. The hiring managers ask this question with the intent of knowing what you do in your free time, or how much effort you put into something that is not related to your work.
To answer this question perfectly, mention some productive activities like reading novels or playing a sport. Talk about how they have helped you develop a holistic personality. You can also talk about how you use your hobbies as a way to de-stress from the pressures of the job.
An interview need not be all scary if you are well prepared to face the panel. These 12 questions will certainly aid you in your preparation for that all-important interview. Do you want to read more about such interview questions? After all, the more questions you are ready for, the better are your chances of acing the interview. Here is a link to 48 interview questions, loaded with tips to answer them along with sample answers. Do let us know how your interview went! Best of Luck 😊
Abhyank Srinet holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe & has an
engineering degree with a specialization in Instrumentation & Control. His interest in the digital
landscape motivated him to create an online start up for Masters in Management application consulting (MiM-Essay.com), focused on spreading quality information about the MiM degree & performing application consulting services for clients. He is the chief consultant of the
company and takes care of Business Development and Digital Marketing side of the company. He is very passionate about writing and marketing.