5 difficult interview questions and how to answer them
Here are some of the most tricky interview questions that are asked and tips on how to answer:
1) "Tell me a bit about yourself?"
This question comes up in some form in most interviews and can be intimidating as people often feel they are being judged and having to prove themselves. In reality, though, the interviewer isn’t trying to trip you up but simply get to know you. Think of it as an opportunity to let them know how well you suit the role and the company. Do your research on the company, read through the person spec and pick things out about yourself that will show that your experience, attitude and outlook match what they are looking for. You are the expert on yourself, so do yourself a favour and highlight the best bits!
2) "What is your biggest weakness?"
Everybody hates this question, but in a way, it is as much about gauging outlook and self-perception than anything else. Interviewers know that nobody is going to sensibly sit there and reel off their worst points. What they want to know is how self-aware you are and also what action you take to improve what you see as a problem. Never pick anything crucial to the job (admitting poor attention to detail when you are applying for a proofreading position won’t cut it!). Choose something instead that used to be a problem, but you have found a way to overcome. Describe how you recognised the problem, your decision to deal with it and what you have done and continue to do to tackle it. By doing so, you will show self-awareness and your positive problem-solving skills.
3) "What are your strengths?"
Funnily, this can be harder for people to answer than the opposite. It is often best to prepare by disassociating yourself from the question - almost as though you are preparing an answer for a friend or colleague. Go through the job description and pick out two to three things required that you know you do well. Then come up with an example for each when you used this strength with a positive outcome. Ensure you don’t just describe the circumstances, but also the good effect it had on the people involved. This will make it relevant and real. If these examples tie in with your CV, even better. Once you have done this, practice speaking these examples out loud until you feel truly comfortable. So long as you are genuine and humble, speaking about your strengths is always helpful.
4) "Tell me about a boss you didn’t get on with and how you dealt with it."
Similarly to the weakness question, find an example from the past and make sure you have a solid idea of how it was resolved. You should remain calm and composed while you answer. Stay away as much as you can from blame, but rather describe the facts of the situation. If you found a way to resolve the issues between you, feel free to describe how you contributed to this. If your boss was let go because of their behaviour, focus instead on how you coped and kept things going. If the situation wasn’t resolved or you fell out with them, it is better to choose another less volatile example. What the interviewer wants to know is how well you deal with difficult situations and if you are capable of contributing toward a resolution that is the best for the company as well as yourself.
5) "What makes you better than the other candidates?"
Don’t get drawn into the competitive element of this question - after all, you may not even know who the other candidates are. Instead, focus on how your experience fits with the role and your enthusiasm to work for the company itself. Also, highlight a couple of personal strengths and maybe qualifications that you feel are specific to you. This way you can showcase the very best of yourself rather than start worrying who the other candidates might be.
The biggest tip out of everything is to breathe in a relaxed way and prepare. Say your answers out loud or to a friend to ensure they feel genuine and you are confident in what you have to say. Remember, they only know what you share with them, so make sure you are showing off your strengths, ability and interest in the company. That way you will feel you have come away doing yourself proud!