11 Tricky Interview Questions – How to Answer Them Like a Pro

Interviewing is tough, nerve-wracking, and incredibly important if you really want that new job. It’s important to be well-prepared and thoroughly practiced for any interview, including a phone interview. You might seek career coaching to help you get in shape for the interview, or you might study interview questions you have had in the past or from articles like this.

No matter what, make sure you get plenty of rest the night before, and make sure you are well-fed that day. Then, be ready for a few tricky interview questions. We’ve assembled 11 toughies for you to study so that you handle every curve-ball like the pro you are.

  1. What did you do during a gap in employment? Here, try to put your best foot forward. Demonstrate that you were productive and, if possible, working in some capacity to sharpen your skillset. A professional writer might discuss the screenplay he wrote, and an engineer might discuss a set of plans he drew. However, if you took time to broaden your horizons in some other way, discuss how you became a better person as a result of that gap in employment. You could also volunteer for a worthy cause, showing you “give back” to your community.
  1. How do you measure success? Emphasize personal development as well as financial gains. Discuss how a success might open new opportunities for your team and company as whole. You want to show that success has more to do with ongoing processes than being an end-point.
  1. Where would you like to be in five years? This is one of the classic interview questions. Don’t take it for granted, though. Go over this with your career coach, if you need. Rather than spouting out a set of lofty goals, discuss how you would like to develop your skills and open new opportunities for them. Show the interviewer that you would like to use your personal development to help develop your team and company, as well.
  1. Why were you not promoted within your former company? This is a tough one. Discuss how you worked hard to support your team but that market conditions did not shift in favor of your company, so there were not adequate financial resources to provide for expansion and promotion. If you were given additional responsibilities with the same title, be sure to share that information.
  1. Are you diversified enough to handle today’s ever-shifting market demands? Yes, you are. Tell the interviewer how you are constantly reading and researching your field. You are up to date on the latest trends and technologies. In short, you are prepared to handle any situation that comes along, and you have the resources at your fingertips to provide support for yourself and your co-workers.
  1. You left your former company after a short tenure. Why should we invest in you? You want this job and strongly desire to work with the company, so show how your previous companies weren’t the best fit for your skills. Display your knowledge of this company and how you are excited to have the opportunity to be part of such an innovative, forward-thinking organization.
  1. Name as many uses for a X in one minute. Here, the interviewer is likely trying to see how well you think on your feet. Try to be creative and think of productive, helpful things you can do with the object. If it’s a brick, for instance, you could say that the brick is a great stepping stone, it keeps doors ajar, and it can hold your papers in place on a windy day.
  1. What do you do when you have a personality conflict? The key word here is communication. You would first try to empathize with the person, find some common ground, or some other way of relating to them. Tell the interviewer how you would try to open dialogue with the person. If those efforts don’t pan out, discuss how you might seek assistance from a supervisor who may have additional insights.
  1. What happens when you fail? Here, try to turn the word fail around into a positive. You didn’t fail, you found one way that didn’t work to achieve your goals and those of your team. Acknowledge that you may not be perfect, but that you seek to create new opportunities from even perceived failures. It’s also good close the question with “What I learned from this experience is….” It is always good to admit you have made mistakes (preferably early in your career) and you have learned from them.
  1. How do you handle inter-office competition? Discuss how you strive to rise above unimportant matters that are not business related or other road-blocks to the success of the company as a whole. Again, mention how you would use your communication skills to address the situation and seek to turn the competitive friction into a win for everyone.
  1. How do you face stresses and pressures in your professional life? Tell the interviewer how you have handled pressures in the past, using specific examples. Discuss how you prioritized parts of a project to break it down into manageable parts and how you handled yourself. Give specific examples of how you managed your personal stress level through exercise or some other healthy method.

If you have an important interview coming up, it may be a good idea to find some professional interview coaching. At Rush Recruiting & HR, we offer interview preparation services to help nail your next interview – contact us today!

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