5 of the Toughest Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

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Congratulations! You sent in your resume and got a call back for the first interview. You’re ecstatic, but also apprehensive about your first impression. The truth is, you should be. Interviews are used as the final elimination process for most employers, and the questions they ask can either make or break you. That’s why we’re here to help you out and give you some advice on how to answer five of the most common and most difficult interview questions.

  • Tell me about yourself. This question seems easy, right? The first thing people want to do when asked this question is talk about their personal life, giving the interviewer too much information. This is wrong! Your employer isn’t looking for your life story – they don’t care if you have a dog named Lucy or that you like to play volleyball in your free time. The best way to go about this answer is to briefly touch on topics such as your early years, education, and work history. This is usually a warm up question, so don’t spend too much time on it. Your answer should be kept short – two minutes maximum.
  • Why should I hire you? This is usually the question that most candidates are unprepared for. In order to prevent stuttering your way through this answer, before the interview you should do some research on the company and the position. Review the job description and requirements/qualifications again and pick out what seems most critical, that way when this question arrives you’ll be ready to give examples from your past that exhibit your capability to best perform the job.
  • What salary do you think you deserve? This question usually makes candidates feel exceptionally uncomfortable. The one thing you should never do in response to this question is actually state a salary. If you throw out a number, it could end up being less than what the employer would have been willing to pay you. The best way to go about this is to wait for the interviewer to give a range. Sometimes, however, the interviewer will ask you for an actual figure, in which case it is best to have done some research beforehand on the average salary for your position, and give a salary that is a bit higher than the median.
  • Have you ever had a conflict or disagreement with a supervisor/co-worker? How was it resolved? More often than not, if you answer no to this question the interviewer will continue to try and have you dig deeper until you come up with something. The purpose of this question for the employer is to get a sense of how you react behaviorally to conflict. You don’t have to be too specific; you can say something like, “Yes, I have, but it was never anything major. Whenever a disagreement occurs I find it best to…” Never point a finger at anyone, and focus your answer on your behavioral process for conflict resolution rather than the actual conflict itself.
  • What is your greatest weakness? The most common advice for answering this question is to take a strength of yours and present it as a weakness, like saying that you’re a workaholic. However, this is deceiving and will most likely be perceived as so by the interviewer, and it really doesn’t answer the question. The best thing to do is pick an actual weakness of yours, but one that you have been working on, and tell/show the employer what you have been doing in order to overcome it.

So shake off those nerves! As of now, you are officially the candidate with all the right answers.

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