The right and wrong way to answer difficult interview questions

  • interviews
  • April 13, 2016

Congratulations, you landed the interview! This will be the first conversation you’ll have with your potential employer — they are trying to determine if you will be a good fit, while you are trying to determine if the company is a place you really want to work. You shouldn’t be nervous, but you should expect more than just a Q&A session. 

Some interviewers will intentionally ask difficult questions to determine how you will respond. Smart, thoughtful answers can help you clinch any job. However, many candidates stumble over answering such challenging questions simply due to lack of preparation. Avoid potential blunders by familiarizing yourself with these recommended responses for five common questions.
What are your weaknesses?
If the interviewer asks about your strengths, they will almost certainly ask about your weaknesses too. While nobody wants to admit that they have weaknesses, a good candidate can turn their weaknesses into strengths by sharing shortcomings they’ve already taken steps to improve.

What do you dislike most about your work?
Employers ask this question not only to learn about your professional dislikes, but also to gain some insight into why you are looking for another job. No matter how frustrating a job was, you never want to bad-mouth an employer in an interview. 

Instead, stick to objections about behaviors, practices or conditions rather than people. Be general and refer to the lack or absence of what you seek in a job or work environment.

Why do you have a gap in your work history?
Unemployment happens. A gap in your resume isn’t a surefire reason to reject you, but you need to be prepared to present why there is a space in your work history.

Be honest about the main reasons for the gap and show that you’ve been busy. Discuss how your experiences and skills learned while not employed will transfer well to your career path. Emphasize classes you took plus your volunteer work, contracts, side projects and group involvement.

Why should we hire you?
This question is often used to bring an interview to a close, so treat it as an opportunity to make a personal sales pitch.

Believe you are the best person for the job, and don't be afraid to say so. Be sure to back up your statement by reinforcing the skills and characteristics that specifically differentiate you.

Do you have any questions for me?
In almost every interview, an interviewer will ask this question of you. The answer, every single time, should be “Yes.” 
Always prepare a few open-ended questions that will get the interviewer to share more information about the position or company. Or, take something you learned beforehand about the company and probe further. 
Whatever the questions, just make sure you ask them. This will show that youre interested, inquisitive and prepared.

In conclusion
Regardless of the questions you’re asked, if you are honest and put a positive spin on your answers, you’ll improve your chances of receiving a job offer.

If you or your friends are looking to make a job change, download our new Randstad Jobs smartphone app for iPhone or Android, and you’ll be on your way to finding a new job opportunity in minutes.