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How To Answer Tricky Interview Questions

How To Answer Tricky Interview Questions

The recent monthly jobs reports show that the labor market remains robust. The headlines, however, showcase a steady stream of layoff announcements from prominent companies, AmazonSalesforceMeta, Microsoft and Goldman Sachs.

Record levels of inflation, high interest rates and escalating costs prompt people to start considering finding a new job that pays more than they’re currently earning to keep up with the soaring living costs.

When starting your job search, in addition to updating your résumé and LinkedIn profile, you need to brush up on commonly asked interview questions. Over the last 25 years, many of the interview questions have remained the same. Fortunately, human resources hasn’t made any significant changes, so you can hone in on the go-to questions that are usually asked.

To succeed in an interview, you must cultivate a rapport with the hiring manager or interviewer. Be your authentic self. If you put on the fake corporate facade and robotically answer questions, the interviewer won’t get a real sense of who you are.

“Could You Please Tell Me About Yourself?”

One of the first questions you’ll get is “Can you please tell me about yourself?” This is a softball question, if you are prepared. Basically, the interviewer is trying to learn a little bit about you. It’s also an icebreaker to kickstart the interview. Most people make the mistake of going too far back in history, misinterpreting the inquiry, as it’s about your personal life, or going off on tangents. The key is to use the question as an opportunity to sell yourself on why you are the best match for the job and offer supporting facts, data and anecdotes.

Before addressing the question, it’s polite to say, “Thank you for inviting me to interview for the position. I’ve read the job description, researched your company and hold your firm in high regard.” Answer the question by sharing your current job title and responsibilities. Provide some color and context on your daily work rundown. Follow up by providing a very brief overview of your previous jobs and experiences. Then, shift gears toward the future by discussing what you’d like to do next, and connect your skills, education, credentials and experiences, as it relates to the opportunity at hand.

Here’s What To Do When You Don’t Know How To Answer A Question

There will come a time when the interviewer stumps you with a question. It may not be difficult, but you’re at a loss and start to panic. If this happens to you, take a deep breath and calmly say, “That’s a good question. I’m not familiar with the topic. I’m glad you asked, as this is one of the many reasons why I’m interviewing with your company. Although I have a safe and secure role and am well-respected at my firm, I have a lot of respect for your organization and want to learn, grow and advance my career.”

You can also ask the interviewer to elaborate on the question. If the person provides more detail, you may be able to figure out a way to answer. If not, pivot away from the query and talk about what you do know. “My understanding of this position is that I could leverage my skills consisting of {insert skills} and could also learn new things and challenge myself.”

You can turn the tables and move forward without dwelling on the nonanswer, by asking, “Out of all the résumés you received, why did you pick me for an interview?” This question will prompt the interviewer to state why they feel you are a fit for the job. By talking about your appropriate skills, experiences and talents, the interviewer reinforces why you’re a good fit, and the previous missed question is already in the past and forgotten.

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“Do You Have Any Questions For Me?”

At the end of the interview, the interviewer almost always asks, “Do you have any questions?” Since this happens nearly all the time, job seekers obsess about what questions to ask. Sometimes they get so caught up thinking about questions to ask that they cannot be present and focus on the conversation.

The solution is to hold a genuine and authentic conversation. Ask your own questions to the interviewer as they arise. By doing this, you will develop an organic dialogue. The interviewer will start getting a feel of who you really are. You’ll feel more comfortable, and your answers will flow more smoothly. As you are talking with the interviewer, if you are unsure of something or need clarification, ask them to shed light on it. Feel free to inject questions when appropriate throughout the discussion, but don’t force it.

By the end of the meeting, when the dreaded question is asked, you can confidently say, “Thank you for your time today. I greatly enjoyed our conversation. I’m very excited about the opportunity and feel that my background, skills, experiences and education meet the criteria for the role. I’d love to work here if you’d extend an offer. You’ve been generous with your time and answered my questions throughout the conversation.” If there are any outstanding issues that you need to clarify, feel free to ask a couple of questions.




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