How to Answer Those Tough Interview Questions

Competition for jobs is making the interview process tougher with more tricky questions to answer!

With a lot of applicants to choose from, employers may look to make interviews more complicated. This is so that they can be confident that they're choosing the best candidate for the job.

Sometimes a question you weren’t expecting in an interview can send you into a blind panic – we’ve all been there – and before you know it you’re stammering through an answer that doesn’t show you at your best. This normally leads to mistakes being made during your interview.

To help you avoid this pitfall we’ve taken a look at some common ‘tough’ job interview questions and told you how we’d answer them...

'Why do you want this job?'

How to answer: Even if the holidays, perks and money are amazing don’t mention these. Look at the roles listed on the job description and explain that you have some experience in some of them (to show you can do the job) and that the others are opportunities to learn and develop on the job. Don’t lie, make sure you have the experience you claim to, or you’ll be found out later.

'Tell us about yourself…'

How to answer: This isn’t your chance to tell your interviewer whether you prefer tea or coffee, or Stranger Things over Orange is the New Black . They’re looking for you to provide a short career history covering your experience, your strengths and your general manner of working.

'What is your biggest weakness?'

How to answer: This is maybe a time where it might be a good idea not to be completely honest. Choose something that’s true but that isn’t going to wreck your chances of the job. There are a lot of clichéd ways to answer this question ('I work too hard', 'I care too much' and so on) job interviewers have heard them all. Imply that it’s not a common failing and make sure you tell them everything you’ve done to overcome this flaw.

'If you were an animal, what would you be and why?'

How to answer: This is an example of a ‘curveball’. The interviewers suddenly ask something random, out of nowhere. Other examples are 'if I asked you to get me an elephant by tomorrow, how would you do it?' and 'how many hotels are there in New York?' Often these questions are designed to test how you think on your feet and how you apply logic or look to solve problems.

The main thing is to not panic and show that you’re cool under pressure while you, rationally, explain your answer. In most instances it won’t matter what you say here. Simply remain calm and take it with a good sense of humour. So long as you don’t say anything extremely inappropriate or totally lose your cool then you should be fine here!

Competency Based Interviews

With most questions you will be asked you can use what is known as the STAR method. This is where you look at the question and come up with a relevant example of experience, and answer it in a structured way.

S is for the situation you were in.
T is for the target you were aiming to achieve.
A is for action you took.
R is for the result of that action.

For example for a question such as “what are your weaknesses?” you could recall a situation or task in which one of your weaknesses was shown, then give an example of how you managed to resolve this and what happened as a result of this.

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