We all love to answer questions that highlight our finest features and invite us to tell all those stories concerning our past achievements and glorious moments of deserved triumph. Nevertheless, in some cases we are faced with challenging job interview questions on how bad we are at certain things and how often we’ve screwed things up. And how much.
Honesty is the best policy, some claim. The optimal answering strategy for someone faced with the following job interview questions, would be to carefully measure one’s degree of candidness and be open and sincere. Nevertheless, you should at the same time avoid sharing stories about failures and drawbacks that might influence the hiring manager’s impression of you in a negative way. Regardless of the urge to be vocal about your flaws, try not to be inadequately blunt. Which means, don’t tell your reader stories about conflicts on the workplace, neither do admit that you’re secretly chatting with your girlfriend during work. That won’t sound charmingly human, we’re positive. So, let’s examine some of those tortuous job interview questions and the humble and elegant replies that might as well get you hired.
1. What is your biggest weakness?
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When asked that question one may feel tempted to demonstrate honesty and come along as pleasantly straight-forward. Regardless of the urge to be vocal about your flaws, it’s actually better NOT to come up with a vivid narrative of how you sometimes smack annoying colleagues or don’t shower for 2-3 days to get more work done. You will be perceived as neither entertaining, nor pleasant.
One decent way to respond to this question is to choose a trait of yours which is not entirely disadvantageous. For instance, you can point out at your perfectionism and mention that sometimes your knack for details annoys others around you. A lot.
Or, you can pick a positive characteristic of yours and analyze its potential downside.
Wrong Answer: I am very emotional and when something is bugging me I have the habit to unleash on my closest colleagues by forming a spectacular scandal for everyone to witness. It’s only then that I feel relieved. And we’re all human after all. (Get the point here?!)
Right Answer: Look, I like to examine details very closely before picking up the best idea; I am of the habit to take potential risks of launching a new project into consideration and do my best to take precautions. These characteristics of mine might be viewed as annoying by a more impatient colleague or one that has to meet specific deadlines.
2. Why do you think you will be successful in this job?"?
To give a loud account of your abilities might indicate self-promoting and boasting. And you know what nobody likes? Nobody likes a show-off. And interviewers tend not to like complacent and haughty people as well. This question is not an invitation to demonstrate false modesty or to deliberately belittle your achievements and qualification either. Just research the employer thoroughly prior to the interview and have several useful qualities of yours in mind ready to answer such a question.
Wrong Answer: I just feel like I’ll fit right. My intuition is telling me so. And I had a chance to notice you had a lot of girls working here, are they’re all married? I like to work with girls. Brings out the best in me. In various ways. Uh…what was the question again?
Right Answer:I think that my previous experience as a marketing specialist makes me a suitable and qualified candidate for the position. Moreover, having succeeded to generate a profit of 100 000 USD for my prior employer by launching the project X (quote the name of the project, and do quote the numbers) makes me think I have the capacity to do it again and even more successfully at your company.
3. Tell me about a bad experience you had with an employer?
Admitting your previous boss was a dick won’t make your interviewer experience disdain toward them and simultaneously feel sympathy your way. This, just like number 1, is a question aimed at elicitinga truthful answer. Try not to badmouth your previous employer, because doing so might invite the interviewer to see you as someone fond of disloyalty.
Wrong Answer: My previous boss was intolerable, she was a neurotic spinster that told me I was an idiot approximately 17 times a week, but I think I got my revenge when I downloaded a shitload of important files from the company server and sold it to the competitors.
A diplomatic response would be the best option here. This means try to tell about a conflict situation without evaluating it as good or bad. Do your best to be as neutral as possible about who was right and who was wrong.
Right Answer: I used to work for an employer that had a hard time giving me negative feedback and found it difficult to be specific about the requirements I had to meet. That resulted in me learning to be my own editor and advisor, yet I was often feeling confused because I wasn’t sure which my skill I had to work more on and what my mistakes were from a manager’s perspective.
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4. Give an example of a time when you handled a major crisis.
Feel free to reframe this question. “Major crisis” can be a difficult situation or working under pressure or on a tight schedule. This is your opportunity to tell a story of how you coped with a situation and came out stronger, more resilient, and wiser. Say you don’t droop when dealing with obstacles. Confirm obstacles do not discourage you from proceeding on the taken path.
Wrong Answer: I missed a deadline for an important project but managed not to pay attention to all the negative comments at the office and soon I had forgotten about my failure. I am proud with not paying too much attention to things like this. Everybody thought I had screwed up, but I didn’t give a damn. We only live once. #YOLO.
Right Answer: I had a health problem and a lot of work to do and I was afraid I wouldn’t have the resources do my work accurately. I managed to reorganize my priorities so that I did the most important things first and I managed to get my health issue under control and to do my job in a new way that I found surprisingly effective.
5. What motivates you?
It is not a sin to name money as a strong motivator. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to come along as avid, you should try to name some additional elements that light your fire. Working in an inspiring environment is a good choice. Be concrete about your true expectations and yet try to sound down to earth.
*Wrong Answer: * I don’t care too much about achievements – I’m humble and I’m not a social crawler! I’d like the cash, that’s what motivates me. And to have fun at the workplace – you know laughing, flirting, having an occasional beer at lunch. We’re all human. (Ah, wait! You already said that on the first question!)
*Right Answer: * I am motivated by having a chance to use my skills and improve them. I am motivated by regular, objective feedbacks given by my manager. I am motivated by transparency and challenging goals. I am motivated by giving my best and seeing how can I become better than yesterday.
Do not strive too hard to mesmerize your interviewer. People tend to have little tolerance for pleasers. Especially when they have been trained to spot pleasing behaviour even when it’s masked with the pretence of confidence and resourcefulness.
Do not use too much gestures, but try not to speak deadpan either. An expressionless face tells a lot more about its possessor that one that lets emotions dance on it.
Being yourself, speaking in your own words, and being carefully honest will generally do the work.
Ah, we almost forgot – don’t forget to smile – you will be surprised how powerful your smile is ?
Now that you know how to answer the scary job interview questions, you’re one step ahead to fulfilling your career-destiny – the only thing you now need is a fancy resume, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered on that base too! For inspiration, check our 23 creative resumes.
Make one that's truly you.