It’s no secret that it’s a buyer’s market out there right now for employers. They’ve got more applications than they know what to do with. You may be competing with dozens of applicants for every job opening. If you are lucky enough to be granted an interview, you better be prepared to answer some tough questions.
The more responsibility a specific job has, the more difficult the questions will be. Any job that involves supervising or managing people, or parts of an organization, will be highly competitive. You’ll need to be able to think on your feet at the interview. This may be your only shot at impressing the employer.
One of the big fears of going into a job interview is being asked a tough question and having no response except a blank look on your face. This would be the worst case scenario, of course, but it plays out in many people’s heads. Unfortunately, this scenario could become a reality unless you prepare ahead of time for a challenging interview.
Here’s an example of some tough sample job interview questions:
Tell me what you enjoyed about your last job? What you didn’t like?
The first part of this question is easy. Most people can find one or more things they liked about a job, even if they thought the job sucked. The second part is tricky. You know you shouldn’t bad mouth your former employer, but you still need to think of something to say.
Pick one thing that you didn’t like about your last job and explain that it bothered you because you felt the company could do better in this area. Give a suggestion of what you would improve. Stay away from negative comments about former coworkers or the company.
Why did you leave your last job?
Stay away from money reasons or negative issues with former coworkers. Instead, explain that you left to find opportunities to grow, explore new interests, etc.
Give an example of how you made an impact at your last job?
If you’ve never thought much about this, then now’s the time. Every person’s job at a company has a direct or indirect impact on the people around them, the organization and those that come into contact with the company. Find an example of something you did at your job that had a positive impact on either your coworkers, the company or the company’s customers.
Describe your biggest challenge and how you handled it?
You must take time to think about this one. There’s no way you will come up with a good answer on the fly. Think of a person, place or thing that made it difficult for you to do your job. How did you work around this obstacle and come out a winner?
Describe your decision making process.
You want to appear strong on this one. So, you need to figure out if you make decisions quick and confidently, or like to weigh the pros and cons of an idea first before coming to the best solution for the situation.
There’s no right or wrong to this question, the employer is trying to find out if you are capable of taking decisive action when needed. Some people have difficulty making up their minds. These are not the people they’re looking to hire.
How would you describe your management style?
Here’s where you tell them what type of manager you think you are. Are you very hands on or do you like to give people more independence and act in a supporting role?
– Are you a people person?
– Are you strict, but fair?
Know what your style is and be very honest with the employer about this.
What is your greatest weakness?
Warning: this is a question that can stop you cold in an interview. We’re so used to talking about our strengths in an interview situation that often we don’t have a clue what to say to someone asking us to describe a weakness.
However, you cannot stay silent. If you do, you may lose your chance at the position. The employer isn’t that interested in hearing about your weakness as they are in seeing how you handle the question. The ironic thing is that if you stare at them blankly on this one, you’ll end up looking weak – even if you were great a moment before.
Say something like you’re too chatty or overconfident or maybe a tad bit too focused on little details, etc. Pick a lightweight weakness and turn it into a positive. You talk a lot because you’re a people person. You’re overconfident at times, but careful not to step on anyone’s toes. You’re picky about details because you care about the quality of your work. Keep a smile on your face while answering.
What assets and talents do you feel you can contribute to our company?
Here is where you should shine. Give them action steps you will take to be a top performer in their organization. Don’t say that you “feel” you would do this or that. Tell them exactly what you WILL do. Act like you’re already one of the team and all they need to do let you loose and you will help their company soar to new heights.
It will help if you’ve already done some research on their company and have an idea of what would benefit them.
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