Learn to tackle tricky interview questions

Tackling those tricky interview questions can be the difference between landing a job or not… Pre-interview preparation is essential but navigating around questions you either don’t have answers for or would rather not elaborate on is the most common stress point for any candidate. It is probably right to say that you have been asked to talk about something you have minimal (or zero) prior experience with? If you say you don’t know or worse talk in circles without giving a straight answer it’s usually game over. The best way to answer a question you don’t know the answer to is to simply say “I haven’t encountered that problem before, but this is how I would fix it”. Elaborate and go into detail about where you would find out information on how to fix that problem, how you would do it and what controls you would put in place around measuring whether you were successful or not. This demonstrates three things to your interviewer. Firstly, you know how to problem solve. Second, you are calm under pressure situations and thirdly, you have a broad knowledge base to draw upon.

Some of the common interview questions are:

Tell me about yourself?

While this question may seem at face value to be an open invitation to babble on about your wide variety of hobbies and interests, your employer is probably asking that question because they are looking for some non-work related skills or experience which can transfer over into the role you have applied for. You may need to prepare some activities or interests as talking points as part of your interview preparation. Study the job description for the role you are applying for (ask your Recruitment Consultant for a detailed job description if you haven’t already) and try to match what you like to do for fun with some of the demands of the job in the hand.

Why are there gaps in your work history?

Career history gaps can be spun this way; “I’m quite strategic in the jobs I apply for. I’ve been on the look out for a role that really helps me to build upon the strong finance skillset I already have. Many roles I’ve looked at in the past have been great but not quite the right fit for where I see my career trajectory heading. This role, however, is an amazing fit which is why I applied.” Or perhaps, I started a family and while I was off, I focused on my personal development to enhance my career progression when I reentered the workforce.

What is your biggest weakness?

The problem with this question is that you’re being asked about your shortcomings, when your instinct, in an interview situation, is to keep your flaws as well hidden as possible. What you need to do is to frame your answer to as to give it a positive spin. For example, ‘Because I tend to get very passionate about the work I do, I get frustrated if others don’t share my enthusiasm.’

Why do you think you will be successful in this job?’

A good answer may be ‘I have the right combination of skills and experience. For example, the job description says you need people with project management skills who can work well in teams and last year I headed a sub-committee for the ….project so I’m used to overseeing tasks and working within a team.’

Why are you leaving your current job?

Questions about why you are looking for work are among the toughest you will face, particularly if the circumstances are less than positive. Best practice is to keep it simple and end on a positive note. A good example may be, ‘You are looking to broaden your level of experience’ or you have reached the highest level of achievement within your company and you are now looking for a position that has potential growth within the company.

There are many more interview questions and we could go on for ages with examples but simply put, the best tool for a job interview is the preparation. Learn as much as you can about the position you are applying for, brainstorm your answers for some of the potential interview questions, dress for success and be confident.

If you are currently looking for a change in career, contact us at Abacus today!

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