Ace your interview

How not to get floored by tough questions

Ace your interview

You are sitting in the interview room, and suddenly the hiring manager asks you that one tough question you were totally not expecting.

Such questions are not meant to trick you or make you fail. They are intended to give the hiring manager a glimpse of who you are as a professional.

Here are some tough questions commonly asked during job interviews:

DESCRIBE A TIME WHEN YOU FAILED

The big secret in business is that everyone fails. In fact, if you have not failed at something, you have not really learned anything.

Your answer will show your character, honesty and willingness to take ownership — soft skills that are exceedingly difficult to teach.

Honesty is the best policy with this question. Take a moment to think about a time in your career when a project did not go as expected. Then think about what you did to correct or overcome it.

WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU?

The interviewer wants to ensure that you are confident in your abilities to get the job done.

Your answer demonstrates your knowledge of the position and gives you a short window to sell yourself as the perfect candidate for the job.

Research the position closely before arriving for the interview. Find out everything you can about the job, the company and its culture.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?

The interviewer wants to find out what type of person you are, and whether you are willing to own up to your weaknesses.

Many interviewers who ask this question will be specifically looking at whether you try to present a strength as a weakness. Doing this can hurt you more than help you.

Give an honest, true weakness. Don’t try to shape a strength such as being a workaholic as a weakness. That isn’t what the interviewer wants to hear at all.

Instead, focus on something you have been struggling with that isn’t a deal breaker but is not a strength in disguise, either.

Add what you have been doing to overcome your weakness at the end of your answer.

DESCRIBE A TIME WHEN YOU HELPED YOUR TEAM SUCCEED

This might sound like the perfect interview question, but is one that few interviewees prepare an answer for.

This is an extremely difficult question for someone who worked by themselves or is less than confident.

The interviewer wants to know what kind of problem-solver you are, and what you believe you bring to a team. Do you do your job and call it a day, or do you go beyond what is expected of you?

These types of questions give them an idea of whether you are a team player.

Think about a time you came up with the solution to a problem that hindered the team’s progress. The point of this question is to see how easy you are to work with.

Article by James Hu, the founder and chief executive officer of Jobscan.

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