Home » The Tough Interview Questions: and how to answer them

The Tough Interview Questions: and how to answer them

tough interview questions

Have you ever gone into an interview and gotten one or a few of those tough interview questions? You know the ones; where your like how does this pertain to my ability to do this job? The truth is when it comes to interviews being the applicant you hold little power. You know who you are and what you bring to the table but you have no idea who or what you are up against. This ranges from the information they may have found/interpreted, or the questions they may ask, how they already see/picture you, and a few more things. One of the reasons people find interviews so tough and stressful is because people have questions that they have no idea how to answer on the spot. And some of the questions can be extremely intimidating. Plus if you’re like me you may panic and think you have to have the perfect answer in seconds. The truth is you do not and I am here to help with a few of those questions.

Now to be clear not everyone asks these questions, different fields may have totally different ones but I didn’t want to leave you in the dark. So what are some of those tough interview questions asked to applicants? And what are ways you can respond that will make you shine? Here are some of my favorite tough interview questions that I have heard or have been asked and some good ways to respond.

  1. What are three words you would use to describe yourself? 
    • The best way to answer this question is to not be boring. And if your answers are generic answers back them up and describe them before they ask why. 
    • Example: I would describe myself as ambitious; I like to set short-term and long-term goals that I am constantly looking for as well as working at achieving them. 
  2. What is your biggest strength? 
    • Instead of saying ”My Biggest” strength is x (we’ll say communication for this example) because I keep my team informed. Spin it more like this: “A lot of people have told me that my communication is really strong and has helped keep the team informed as well as feel ready for their tasks before starting. And when I am told that it makes me know I am doing a good job so I would have to say that”
    • This not only shows that you have strong communication skills but also that other people have agreed and informed you of this. 
  3. What is your Biggest Weakness? 
    • For your biggest weakness, it is always recommended to choose something that’s not fully related to your job. (If you are a lawyer. You would not say I am bad at negotiating) on top of that acknowledging that you know about this weakness and that you are actively trying to work on it shows you try and take criticism.
    • For example, you may say “Sometimes I take things too seriously and forget to relax and have fun, but I have been actively working on it” 
  4. Why should we hire you? 
    • Loathe this question, no the answer is not because I need a job and you had a posting. I wish it was that easy. 
    • Complimenting the company as well as relate back to the facts you reached on them (Projects, core values, goal setting.) This shows you have had an interest in the companies and have done some research 
    • Example: I have been following the company for some time, and I really stand by the company’s goals and core values. I could really see myself working here to help reach the company’s goals as well as continuing to help the company grow in a positive manner. 
  5. Why are you looking to leave your current position? 
    • Now I know some places are not allowed to ask this question but if someone does PLEASE be cautious. You never know who knows who so even if the workplace you are trying to leave is toxic do not bash it.
    • Instead say: “I really have learned and grown so much as a person and worker over the past x years with my current company and am grateful for all the lessons, training, experiences, and things I got to do. However, I don’t find myself being as challenged as I used to and I want to keep growing and expanding my knowledge with new opportunities, challenges and I do believe this company can do all that and more for me. 
  6. Do you have any questions for us? 
    • ALWAYS SAY YES ALWAYS. This shows that you are interested, want to work at the company, as well as paid attention during the interview. 
    • A few of my favorites are: Can you describe the company’s long-term goals? Can you describe a typical day’s work? How would you describe the company’s ethics? What are some of the current struggles that would be expected of me to handle/resolve? 
  7. Why is there a gap in your resume? 
    • I have heard and seen this question asked especially by those who have just graduated college and may have decided to enjoy their last summer or just struggled to find a job. 
    • Yes, they see that you work a few part-time jobs but to them, it isn’t the same. So Instead say “Yes there is a gap, I have been actively working to find a job that I truly felt that I stood by their mission as well as being a good fit which I do see in this company. With my gap, I have taken up a few part-time jobs to help pay for my everyday expenses as I keep looking for a job that fits me and I feel I can truly grow and help the company in a positive way” 
  8. What are some ways in which you handle Stress? 
    • I see these questions popping up more and more due to mental health being such a big topic. And a lot of companies truly care about their employees’ health.
    • Think positive outlets this could range from: I workout, on really tough days I call my mom or best friend when I find myself struggling I may take a day or weekend to reset and refresh, I have a therapist that I talk to weekly to make sure my mind is in a good place, etc.
  9. What critical feedback do you often receive? 
    • This is always my least favorite question mainly because I always strive to fix or work on critical feedback so I can be better. A lot of people also tend to ignore get angry, or dismiss critical feedback, and thinking of them is not always a happy thought
    • When asked this question last, this was my response: “That I go too quickly to some this may not seem like a problem but sometimes my mind is moving at a mile a minute, that I hit send or speak too quickly without reading or processing the situation which can often cause errors or confusion in the long run. I have been actively working on these situations, taking a step away and then coming back. This has helped me a lot in catching those mistakes and finding the best solution. I always appreciate when people acknowledge that I have room to grow and be better because it shows I am trying and that people see it too.”
  10. The critical thinking question; Like How many pillows would it take to reach the moon from here? 
    • I know so many people that hate these questions but they are LOVED by those in the interview process. Why you may ask? Well, we want to see how you solve the problem. No, we do not care how many pillows; but we care how you begin to break down this problem to come up with an answer. 
    • This is your showtime to showcase that you work under pressure and have the skills to problem solve and think, You don’t need a logical answer. But you need to showcase that you know the steps needed to be done
    • EX: Well, let’s determine how many miles that is to start. Next, let’s choose a pillow size and the orientation we want the pillows to be. From there we can determine how many pillows equal one foot, and how many feet are in a mile, to how many miles are from here to space and we are able to get that question. 

I always call these the tough interview questions because they are very subjective; I know why I want to be hired but is it the same reason why you are looking for an employee? The questions are there to really see how you think and problem solve on the spot. Now I know not all these questions are used in every interview and even in some interviews these are never asked, but I think it is important to know. The main reason is if you can prepare for an interview,  you should. You don’t walk to someone’s birthday party without a gift and you don’t go into a meeting with a client not having a game plan so why shouldn’t you prepare for an interview for a job you really want? Now, remember you may be asked a question that isn’t above, and if you are do not panic. Take a deep breath and a moment to think no one is going to rush you. 

I hope that reading all these questions gets you thinking, how would I respond if asked these questions that showcase me in the way I want to be showcased? But also encourages you to not give up if an interview goes wrong, or after an interview, you find out you did not get it. Not every job is going to be a perfect fit and sometimes it takes time; hell I have been looking for months. Just trust the process and know that a job that is going to help you grow and become a better version of you is coming. Most importantly remember if you are asked tough interview questions it’s okay to take a second to pause, breathe, and really think about your answer. Keep the faith, and keep going because you deserve that. And if you have an interview coming up GOOD LUCK; I’m rooting for you all the way. Once you do get the job don’t forget work-life balance If you have any more questions you know what to do…just ask your big sis -KMH

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