How to answer 5 difficult interview questions
So, you’ve got an upcoming job interview? Congratulations! No matter the industry or role you have applied for, your interviewer will likely put you on the spot in order to find out if you are the right candidate for the role. In preparation for your interview, it is important to expect that there will be at least one, or more, “zingers” or questions you wish they didn’t ask. The important thing to remember is this: be brief, and then turn it around to illustrate how you can help solve the company’s problem. Here are some of those difficult questions and how to answer them.
Why did you leave your last job?
Stay positive. Think, take a breath, and go for it. Answers like, ‘I left for a new growth opportunity.’ or ‘I left to learn new skills at a more challenging job.’ are great ways to show your enthusiasm for this new role whilst still remaining respectful towards your previous position. Show your interviewer that you are excited about a new opportunity to use your skills and meet new challenges. Stay away from negative comments about your previous supervisor, the company, or your colleagues.
Why were you fired?
If this was the case and happens to come up during your interview, don’t panic. Remain calm and answer the question in a positive way. ‘The roles and responsibilities turned out to differ from what I initially understood during the hiring process.’ or ‘It was not a good cultural fit and it was a mutually agreed upon departure.’ are great ways to take ownership whilst looking forward. Turn it around and explain why working at this new company within this new role will suit you better.
What is your weakness?
Everyone has one. Be ready to talk about something that is not related to the job at hand. For example, if you are in the tech field, perhaps your weakness is in financial analysis. If you are in finance, perhaps it is social media. Then say what you have done to improve, “My weakness is time management but I have taken these steps to improve it.” Then move the conversation back to solving their problem.
Could you explain this gap in your CV?
Be ready for this one if you have not been working for the past one or more years. Whatever the reason, talk about how your time away from work will benefit the new role. “Over the past two years I was raising my child and during that time, I have honed my time management and organisation skills.” Then say, “And that is why I am excited to use my skills in x for your company.”
How would you handle a disagreement with your supervisor?
This question is about how you handle adversity and interpersonal communication. Say, “Although we may disagree, I always present the facts and research that support my point of view and put forward my suggestions and try to compromise and work towards a solution that works best for both parties and the company.”
The most important thing to remember in any interview is whatever the difficult question, be brief with your answer, then pivot with a strong skill and how you can use that skill to help solve a problem at the company.