Tackling Tricky Interview Questions
Tackling tricky interview questions
Candidates know that if they are asked to attend a job interview, they are already being considered for the job but they also know, one false step and they could blow it.
Job interviews are about what you tell the recruiter or employer explicitly through words or implicitly through appearance and actions.
Preparation is the key to success and must cover everything from what you are going to wear, how you are going to get to the interview so you arrive just a few minutes early to what you are going to say.
Even with the best efforts, if you don’t think through some potential answers to the “tricky” interview questions ahead of time, you could hit the rocks during the job interview itself.
CareerOne spoke to distance education provider, the International Career Institute, which has a dedicated service to help its graduates sharpen their job hunting skills. Ms Gladys Mae, the International Career Institute’s Senior Student Adviser provides her tips on tackling the tricky interview questions.
Tell me about yourself?
No interview seems to be complete without the question “tell me about yourself?” This is not the time to blabber but rather it is a golden opportunity to share your personal qualities that are relevant to the position.
When there’s so much to tell, focus on the most important relevant information or rehearse three thingsï¿½to share about yourself and make the third work-related.
For example, “I am a Brisbane native, I play netball and I love being a paralegal. The attention to detail and need for research really suits my personality.”
Why did you leave your last job?
When asked why you left your last job consider acceptable reasons such as the need for a new challenge, the location, compensation and career path.
You wanted to work closer to home or where salary fits your experience or simply you are looking to work for a more dynamic company, the one you are interviewing with being an example. Responses in line with career advancement and stability are acceptable.
Tell me about a time when you handled a difficult situation?
Rehearse and then provide details of an experience where you succeeded by applying your experience, abilities and hard work to the situation. Keep your answer concise but explain what the situation was, your role and the steps you took to resolve the situation.
What didn’t you like about your last job?
Be careful when answering this question as you might identify some aspect of your last job that is the same as the one you are interviewing for.
The best way to deal with this kind of question is to dwell on what you like and skim over the opposite.
Why is there a gap in your career history?
Another trick question is “why you’re in between jobs for so long?” You can say that you’re not just looking for a job to pay the bills but you want one where you can build a lifelong career.
Why do you want this job?
Think of your long-term plan and find a connection between your plan and the job you are applying for. Mention why you are drawn to this industry in particular and which skills of yours give you an edge.
Provide concrete examples but always try to keep them short and straight to the point.
Why do you want to work here?
Not difficult to answer if you did your research. A fun workplace, a stable company, room for growth it’s time to share what you think makes this company tick.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
The future seems to pique the interest of most interviewers so be prepared to answer a question like “where do you see yourself X years from now?” It’s actually the interviewer’s way of asking if you’ll stay for a considerable period of time so make sure that you have aligned the position with your future.
The dreaded salary question
When the question about salary is popped, be realistic. You won’t get the job by stating unreasonable amount, whether that is too low or too high for your qualifications. Consider the going pay rate in the industry too.
The International Career Institute’s Ms Mae says it is also important to do a little interview admin.
“If you’re going through a series of interviews, you should keep track of what transpired: who interviewed you, what questions were asked and what you have learned from the interview in general,” says Ms Mae.
“Writing these down will help you assess and reassess your performance. “
Also, do send an email ‘thank you’ letter to the person who interviewed you. This is a good move to follow up on your application and remind the interviewer of your interest. Do the same even if you failed to make it.
Try not to feel bad if you’re unsuccessful. Keep on improving until that dream job is yours.
CareerOne, October, 2012.