The Toughest Interview Questions


Many people go into interviews thinking they will be asked questions specific to the position they are interviewing for. In most cases, this is incorrect. Non-core questions are becoming the norm for all interviews and sometimes these are the only questions asked.?This means that your answers are just as important as the impressions you give off. What does this all mean? Failure to answer these tough questions could possibly cost you the job.

Lets address some of these tough but very common questions that might surprise you in an interview.

  1. Tell us about yourself:? This is the oldest question in the book, but is designed to see how you can summarize larger issues.? Don’t mess this one up.? The interviewer does not want to know about your life’s hardships, otherwise they would ask.?They want to know exactly what they have asked. Here is a way to break up the question into parts and answer it:? (a)? Your Key Strengths; (b) How You Accomplished Key Tasks In Your Last Job; and (c) How Do You Propose To Carry Your Strengths Into This Job.? If you are clever enough, you can weave your goals into your answer.
  2. Why do you want to leave your present job: Your real reason could be positive or negative but be sure to only express the positive reason.? If you were laid off, do no be ashamed as it had nothing to do with you but instead had to do with cutbacks or closing down of your division.? If you are looking to quit on your own, then express that it is for better prospects.? You are not challenged at your present position and would like to be somewhere more rewarding.? Be sure to use specific examples.
  3. What are your weaknesses: The intent of this question is not to embarass you.? They want to know how you live up to challenges.? Be sure to explain how you overcome each weakness you mention.? For example: I take on so many different tasks that I am not great at keeping them as organized as I should, so I know carry a PDA with me everywhere I go.
  4. Why do you like our organization: It is difficult to answer such an open ended question but it does present you with many possibilities.? A possible answer is because of their?great work culture, reputation?and career growth opportunities.

These are common questions that you should have answers to for every interview you go on.? They are general in nature and test your communication skills.

Be sure to read about resume writing?basics and the top 10 resume blunders for additional tips.


10 thoughts on “The Toughest Interview Questions

  1. I remember my last big interview which was for my last corporate job.
    My answers, I believe, were these :
    1. I am well-rounded with a diverse background in many different skills, and I am probably one of the fastest learners you’ve seen. etc. etc.
    2. I didn’t have a job at the moment so I wasn’t asked this question (I was 18 and fresh out of highschool – the last job I had was $11/hour at a local tennis club)
    3. I have a bad temper, but that stems from the fact that I am quick-witted and find it hard to deal with when others don’t understand me as quick as I explain myself. It’s a healthy fault.
    4. I want to experience a high-profile corporate job with one of the largest corporations in Canada.

  2. Great stuff John.
    When I’m interviewing people I ask the same open ended questions you’ve outlined. Just to put some pressure on after the interviewee has answered, I sit stupidly combing over their resume and say absolutely nothing.
    People get uncomfortable with silence. After a couple minutes at most they usually start rambling on. That’s when you get the real answer to the question.
    After a few open ended questions I like to grill point by point on their verbal answers and the things in their resume. And I sometimes move on to the next question when they’re in mid-sentence answering the last one.
    It’s not to be mean. It’s just to cut through the BS and get a real sense of someone’s character.

  3. The first one is definitely the most common. I had come across three interviews so far that asked that. One interesting one I had was when the interviewer asked what I had for lunch before, and from then on see how long I could hold on to that question. A ‘fine, I had mine’ answer wasn’t what they were looking for.

    1. That is a really strange interview question…
      I always ask what they have heard about our company, a lot have no idea…

  4. Good advice,
    I recently left a company after 11 years for a new job, I was asked 1 and 4, instead of weaknesses they asked about achievements in the last 12 months.
    Unfortunately this job hasn’t worked out too well, after two months I went for another interview and have been offered that subject to references and medical which are still pending
    The second organisation was very interested in why I wanted to work there, which was easy, as I genuinely do, and have good reasons for wanting to (money aside).
    Another common one they threw in was ‘where do you see yourself in x years’.
    Where they really differed from your advice was that they asked a lot of job specific questions, but it is an I.T. based role…

  5. This is a very smart way to go out an interview. Your first point was helpful because everyone always asks that question, and it’s so hard to figure out what exactly they want to know. But if you break it up into steps like you explained, it’s very helpful.

  6. The question I personally feel is very difficult to answer is “What is your compensation history?” Any guidance how to answer this question?

  7. I love job interviews. I got to the point where I was a zen master at the things. I walked in confident and usually made a great impression. I am changing job fields, though, and it turns out the teaching interview is a whole new animal.
    Any tips?

  8. Here are some more responses that one should avoid at the interview
    State hobbies just for the heck of it: OK so you enjoy soccer. Do you know the technical details of the game? How many Soccer clubs are there in the Soccer League or the English premier League? The Hobbies are not merely for adding spice to your CV. State only 2 hobbies and try to learn everything there is to that hobby.
    Impressing the panel consists of exuding the right confidence and carefully avoiding the major mistakes MBA job aspirants make in the MBA Personal interview

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