Far too many job seekers stumble through interviews, as if the questions being asked are unpredictable or too hard to answer. While it’s impossible to know exactly how a job interview will turn out, the truth is that most hiring managers tend to ask candidates the same set of tricky questions over and over again.
The reason? These questions work. They reveal much about a candidate’s motivations, work ethic, and goals, all of which help managers make hiring decisions. So, just what are these tricky interview questions? Read on to find out.
Tell Me About Yourself
Almost any job interview starts with the obligatory “tell me about yourself” question, which sounds simple enough, but actually sets the tone for how the interview will proceed.
First, you need to understand what hiring managers want to hear when asking this question. No, they’re not interested in your life story or a childhood memory that made who you are today. What they want to know is whether you know what your strengths, skills, and experiences are and whether these fit in with the organization and role you’re applying for.
What you should do is prepare an elevator pitch specifically designed for the position and company you’re eyeing. If you’re applying as a developer in a web design agency, talk about your specialties and experience, and how you think these would complement the organization.
Why Are You Applying For this Job?
When hiring managers ask this question, they want to know if whether you are genuinely interested in the position and company offering it, or you’re just looking for any job that will accept you.
This is an opportunity to show off your knowledge about the role and the company. You can talk about certain projects the company is engaged in that caught your interest, or mention that the company’s values are aligned with yours. You will find most of this information online, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to prepare for this question.
What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
The ‘strengths and weaknesses’ question is likely to come up in your next job interview. The trick here is to show self-awareness and self-deprecation. You don’t want to say something like “I’m good at everything,” or something too modest such as “I’m not really great at anything, just OK.”
- Everyone has strengths—it’s just a matter of putting them in the context of the job you’re applying for. Be specific and use figures and numbers to quantify your accomplishments. Just make sure these are actually relevant to the position.
- For your weaknesses, you can share something about yourself that can be improved (e.g. skills, training, expertise), but make sure you mention you’re doing something about turning these weaknesses into strengths.
When preparing for job interviews, doing your due diligence goes a long way towards making a good impression. For further tips and advice on how to answer tough questions, check out this blog post.