7 Tricky Job Interview Questions & Answers
Job interviews are rather deceptive in nature. Apparently they’re all about the standard and frequently asked interview questions. But because these questions appear to be very simple and straightforward, we often forget to prepare ourselves to answer them. And when the interviewer sits before us to ask us these very questions, no answer seems good enough!
One of the most common reasons why candidates fail to get the job that they’re actually qualified for is the lack of interview preparation.
Here are some commonly asked tricky job interview questions and our suggested answers.
Why should I hire you?
This one gets asked almost invariably in job interviews. Yet, no answer seems fitting enough for this tricky question!
For one, you should take a look at your CV and pick out 3-5 qualities/skills/experiences that highlight your ability to think and perform. Support this with an instance of a commendable performance in the last job. But if you are a fresher, here is another way for you to impress the interviewer.
You must also familiarise yourself with the job description of the role that you are interviewing for. Once you know exactly what this role demands, you can talk about your skills and experiences that are relevant to this job.
Why is there a gap in your employment history?
Gaps in employment history are common for several reasons. People lose and quit their jobs for various reasons, and employers understand that it isn’t quite easy to find another job soon after.
But they’ll ask you this question to see how you put this interim period to use. Make sure that you highlight any useful and productive ways in which you spent your time between jobs. Whether it is freelance projects, voluntary work, creative work, or even taking care of your family that took up your time, make sure your bring it to their attention.
Related: How to find a job in a slow market
Tell me about yourself
A very basic interview question that can be most difficult to answer.
Don’t recite details from your CV—that’s already there for the interviewer to see. Avoid bringing in personal details. Without taking much longer than a minute or two, throw light on what your education was about, past jobs and your recent work experience. Make sure not to exhaust too many details right here, as this is likely to be the opening question of the interview.
Read more on Tell me about yourself.
What is your biggest weakness?
Needless to say, highlighting a negative trait of yours is not going to make the interviewer want to hire you. However, there is a way in which you can intelligently speak of a weakness and turn it around into a positive trait.
For instance, you could cite a weakness such as the inability to say “no”. This could translate into something that works well in the work environment—because you find it difficult to say no, you tend to take on several projects at a time and make sure to deliver on each one.
What do you think your salary should be?
Don’t make the mistake of providing the employer with a salary figure when asked this question. It may well be that the employer was planning to pay you more than what you have asked for. And if you demand much above what they were planning to pay, they will find it easy to show you the door. Ask the employer to provide a range within which the company can pay you, and then make a demand that’s on the higher side of the range.
Related: 9 ways to get the salary you want
Why did you quit your previous job?
If you are asked this question in an interview, it is probably because the interviewer wants to see what about your previous job didn’t work out for you—your own weaknesses/failures, problems with the boss or the administration, etc.
Respond with something like “the previous job was not challenging/satisfying enough” rather than criticising the employers or the colleagues. A safe response such as that will allow the interviewers to believe that you are well prepared for all kinds of challenges at work.
Where do you see yourself a few years down the line?
Regardless of what you may or not may see about your future, it is important that you respond to this question cautiously. Do not make it seem like you are not interested in the current position and company. By all means, indicate that you hope to build a promising career with the company.
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Ajay Lamba October 28, 2014
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