Getting Started Job Interview Tips

The 10 Trickiest Interview Questions and How To Answer Them

Written by Peter Jones

Don’t get so stressed out about the interview that you forget to relax and show yourself in the best possible light. Look over this list of interview questions and be prepared for them. Then charge into your interview devoid of fear.

Your biggest weakness

You want to frame this one in a positive light, but you also want to make sure it doesn’t look like you’re too blasé to admit your mistakes or failures. Find one weakness that isn’t too drastic, but isn’t a toss-off either, and then explain how you’re working constructively to make sure you’re a better employee because of recognizing it and moving past it.

Former bad experiences

They want to know how you dealt with a tough situation in the past. Don’t talk about getting yelled at by your boss, or suspended, or nearly fired. But do mention something that was a real stumbling block, and how you turned it into a positive by treating it as a valuable lesson, and learning from it.

Employment gaps

When the interviewer asks why you’ve been unemployed so long, the way you respond depends a little on the reason. If it’s personal and negative, be as vague as possible and focus on your bright future. If it’s for something professional, try emphasizing what you’ve accomplished in that time that makes you an infinitely more valuable employee.

Corporate complaints

If this is a corporate job and they want to know what you dislike most about that kind of environment, don’t sink to the occasion. Be sure to emphasize that you don’t find anything at all unsavory about the corporate world, but speak about one instance in which a particular corporation didn’t handle a matter the best way possible, and what you learned from it that you could apply to this new job, to make this corporation stronger.

Your screw-ups

You’ll never be able to sell an interviewer on the idea that you never once screwed up on the job. So don’t even try. Instead, admit to a mistake you made and what it taught you. Emphasize, of course, how you will never make the same mistake again.

How you break bad news

They’re looking for leadership qualities, and how you handle stressful situations and emotions. Show off your conflict resolution skills and diplomatic finesse.

The job you really want

If they ask if you’d be after their job one day, don’t be honest. Explain that you’re more than content with the job that’s currently on offer, and try to laugh it off.

Your record of changing jobs

Do everything you can to convince them you’re here to stay. That’s all they want to hear with questions about shifting from position to position. Emphasize how settled you are on exactly this position being exactly where you need to be now. And then throw in some details about how your varied experience will only make you more valuable to the company.

Your last job

Whatever you do, don’t bad mouth your past job or your former boss. Explain that you’re looking for bigger challenges and more rewarding work, and assure them that you’ve left no burning bridges in your wake.

Being fired

If you were fired from your last job, they’ll want to know why. Make it clear that you won’t be a liability, and never badmouth the company to make yourself look better.

Do your best to showcase your professionalism and grace under fire—no matter what the question—and you’ll do just fine.

About the author

Peter Jones