10 Hard Job Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them)

A job interview is never fun, but especially not now when companies are more selective than ever before. They can filter out the unqualified applicants by asking them difficult or tricky questions and placing them in stressful situations.

How these questions are answered often makes the difference between success and failure. This tactic helps the employer find suitable applicants, but tricky questions also provide an opportunity for those prepared with the correct answers.

Here are some of the tough questions you're likely to face, along with strategies to prepare for them from your potential employer in the interview process 

Are You the Type Who Checks Email During Your Vacation?

This is always a tricky question.

On the other hand, you want to portray yourself as someone devoted to their work. Potential employers understand that employee health and wellness are important factors for continued success and want to ensure that you're smart about taking good care of yourself even when you're not at work. Burn-out is accurate, and no matter how hard you think you're working, everyone needs a break now and then.

To answer the question, confirm your dedication to getting your work done and convey that personal well-being and happiness are essential for professional success.

Sample Answer:

"I am 100% dedicated to going beyond what is expected of me." That being said, it's also essential to take care of yourself to be successful for a long time. When I'm on vacation, I don't want to work. Before I go on vacation, I always make sure that everything is taken care of before leaving, and I make sure that my supervisor has my phone number if there is an emergency.

Is This Position a Similar Role to Any Other Jobs You Are Considering?

They might be trying to uncover where else you've applied for jobs or trying to get a sense of your past experiences and your future career goals. This can be a valuable way for employers to understand whether you're a good fit for the job role. 

When answering questions about your career history, don't list every job you've had. And don't mention any specific companies. It would help if you didn't switch jobs too often because you don't want your current employer to think that your skillset and interests are everywhere. It's good to have various skills, but it's essential to present yourself as the perfect fit for the specific job you're applying for. 

Sample Answer:

"I am looking for jobs that match these requirements." This is my main field of expertise, which I am personally and professionally passionate about. "Fortunately, the job description, requirements, and responsibilities of this particular job role seem to be well suited for me." 

What's Your Biggest Weakness?

The first step to solving a problem is admitting there's a problem. When employers ask this, they're looking for answers to two questions: 1) Are you aware of your weaknesses? 2) Do you intend to change them?

When answering questions about your weaknesses, be modest. Everyone has weaknesses, so don't be afraid to talk about them. But, don't let your weakness be a negative thing. Use it as an opportunity to highlight your strengths and underscore your determination for improvement.

Sample Answer:

"I'm a bit of a perfectionist." While this may mean that my work is always high quality, I've realised that I often spend too much time worrying about little details that don't matter in the long run rather than focusing on my next task. "I'm learning to work on balancing between perfectionism and efficiency; and learning about time management, productivity, and strategy."

If You Could Work for Any Company, Where Would You Work?

Your interviewer may be interested in finding out whether you're genuinely committed to working for their company and whether there are any other companies you'd prefer to work at. Sometimes people have trouble answering this question because they can't figure out whether they should be honest or not.

The best way to answer is not to mention any specific companies. If you were on a date and your date asked, "If you could go out with anyone else in this restaurant, who would it be?" What would you want to hear from your date? Make sure that the company you're interviewing at is your top priority. You want them to be happy with their decision.

Sample Answer:

"I've spent a lot of my job search researching different jobs I might be interested in, and this company stands out the most." "I share your mission, values and objectives and feel that this would be an excellent fit for me."

Why Do You Want to Work Here?

Employers want to know if you did your research about the company before applying for the job and whether you're interested in the position.

You shouldn't just say that you're interested in working at a company because they offer free gym access, complimentary drinks, and a casual dress policy. Make sure your answer is meaningful. Talk about how you connect with their core values, mission, and work, and be enthusiastic about it. Next, you can go into more details about the specific job you're applying for, including the exact responsibilities and requirements.

Sample Answer:

"I feel aligned with the company’s values, mission, and overall goals." Integrity, openness, honesty, and supportiveness are values that I value. "I think this position would be a massive benefit to our company. It would allow me to contribute to your goals and help the company.

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Employers don't want to invest in hiring, training and paying an employee who's not going to stick around or who's going to change career paths. Though it's becoming more and more common for people to spend less and less time at each job they hold, you certainly don't want to give your employer any doubts about your commitment to the role.

You don't need to say that you see yourself working for the same company forever. Instead, answer in the best way that shows your commitment to growing within your field. Employers want to employ self-motivating people who have an inner desire to improve themselves and learn new things. However, employers may ask for details about specific projects you've worked on, so be prepared to answer questions about them.

Sample Answer:

"I see myself progressing in this field, but I'd like to be at a higher level of responsibility and know more than I do now." As long as I keep learning, get better, and strive to become an expert at what I am doing, I hope after five years of hard work, I will say that I am an expert at what I'm doing. "That being said, I am also committed to staying happy, fulfilled, and engaged at work, too influences my five-year plans.

What Do You Think Your References Will Say About You?

Your employer wants to know if you're insecure about sharing your references and if you'd be willing to share any negative information about your previous employers or your ability to succeed at your current job.

Don't fall into the trap, but be modest. Don't give out any negative information. Your references wouldn't agree to be your reference unless they were willing to speak positively about your skills.

Sample Answer:

"I've had an excellent experience working with all of these referees, so I do hope they'll be able to reflect on all that we have done together at work and the positive rapport we share personally.

Which Part of the Job Description Sounds Most Challenging and Why?

Do you know everything you claim to know? A job description usually has aspects you can excel at and aspects that you might struggle with. Employers want to see if your skills match their greatest needs.

If you lie about your skills, you'll regret it later. So be honest. While at the same time, use your answer as an opportunity to show off your skills and prove that you're someone who's always up for a challenge.

Sample Answer:

"As a Production Manager, the bulk of my experience has been on the line, managing my team's output and performance, striving to meet and exceed our targets. Stepping into the role of Operations Manager will be more challenging as it holds responsibility for the other functions and teams; this is, however, part of my development plan, a challenge like that I live for. I just completed an advanced ILM Course to hone my management skills, and I'm currently getting more involved with the wider teams to grow my knowledge about what they do and how they contribute to the business goals."

Tell Me About Your Dream Job

Passion often leads to productivity. Determination leads to success. Employers want to understand whether you're fully committed to the role or if you see it as a temporary position. Employers want to know whether you're passionate about working for them or just interested in the job itself. Just because a job sounds glamorous doesn't necessarily mean you'll enjoy the day-to-day work.

Are you applying for your dream job right now? If yes, then tell them. If your dream job isn't too close by or doesn't seem realistic, don't mention it. You want the employer who hired you to understand that you'll give 100% effort to the job and not daydream about some other position while working. If the job you’re applying for is somewhere in the middle, you can tactfully phrase your answer to convey that you’re unsure.

Sample Answer:

"Becoming a General Manager or Site Director is my dream job, and the Production Manager job is perfect for me right now. Of course, I know I have lots of learning to do before achieving my dream job — a Site Director — and I believe this job will put me on that path."

Everyone Has One Exaggeration on Their Job Application. What's Yours?

Your interviewer may try to convince you that what he says is true. Hopefully, you won't. Hopefully, your cover letter or CV is free from any mistakes. Never lie on your application.

Be honest with yourself when answering questions about your skills and experience.

Sample Answer:

"I am confident that my cover letter and resume accurately reflect my experience and work." If you'd like to contact the references I provided, feel free to do so.

Conclusion

So those are my 10 Hard Job Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them). Your interview may feature all of them, some of them or none. Every employer is different, and each will have a preferred interview structure when questioning you.

Even if you are asked if you would prefer to be Superman or Batman (this question makes me laugh as it has no relevance but believe me, it has been requested), keep calm and answer the question methodically. What would you like to hear if you were sitting on their side of the table?

As long as you have been truthful in your application, do your research, and have a game plan for your interview, you will be absolutely fine - relax!

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