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The 7 Toughest Interview Questions and Answers

You’re ready to wow your potential employer at your interview. The only obstacle standing in your way? Those thought-provoking questions could make or break your interview.  

Practicing how to answer tough interview questions can help you ace the interview and walk away with a job offer. Let’s take a look at seven common tough interview questions and answers to prep you for the big day. 

 

1. Tell Me About Yourself 

 

Interviewers are looking for a brief introduction or an “elevator pitch” that concisely summarizes your professional experience and notes what qualifies you for the role. 

Example: “I spent the last five years working in a small firm. I started out as an assistant and was promoted to manager within two years. I’m now looking to bring my experience and managerial abilities to a larger company where I believe I will have more opportunities for growth.” 

 

2. What Is Your Biggest Weakness? 

 

You don’t want to bring up a serious weakness that could take you out of the running. Responding with, “I don’t have any,” could turn off your interviewer, too. Aim for balance and honesty, and focus on what you’re doing to overcome the weakness. 

Example: “I sometimes struggle with public speaking. I took some classes to help get over my fears, and I picked up a lot of valuable advice that has really improved my delivery and presentation skills.” 

 

Woman with head on desk

 

3. How Do You Perform Under Stress? 

 

Here, the interviewer is looking for insight on how you respond when things get tough. Try to answer with a positive, problem-solving spin. 

Example: “If I’m dealing with stress, I look at my calendar and figure out my top five priorities for that day or week. Then I make a plan to get those done, so I’m feeling motivated to check things off my list.” 

 

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4. Talk About a Difficult Situation at a Previous Job and How You Handled It 

 

Come up with a situation you faced that was clearly challenging — but also gives you the opportunity to showcase your professionalism and can-do attitude. The best answers to interview questions touch briefly on the problem and place the main focus on your solution. 

Example: “My boss was on vacation, and I received an urgent call from a client. I didn’t have access to the file, and my boss’s office was locked. I was able to talk the client through the question since I had worked on the account before. Because I had taken the time to talk with the client and answer the questions as thoroughly as I could, the client ended the conversation on a good note, and we were able to address the rest of the matter when my boss returned the following week.” 

 

5. Why Should We Hire You? 

 

Review your resume and pick out a few of your achievements — items that really set you apart and make you the ideal choice for the job. 

Example: “I know you’re looking for someone who can take charge without much training. I have five years working in this field, and I was one of the top-five earning salespeople in my last position. I was even asked to mentor the newer employees at the company. I believe this makes me a great fit for this position, since I already have the experience and the training to get up to speed and lead teams with great results.” 

 

Woman shaking hands with man

 

6. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years? 

 

Talk about your professional aspirations and how they fit into the company for which you are interviewing. 

Example: “I’m very interested in this job because I believe there are a lot of opportunities for me to grow and expand my skill set. In five years, I see myself leading a team with managerial responsibilities. I’ve heard that many of your employees have been promoted to managers after just a few years of working here, which I think is very exciting.” 

 

7. What Did You Dislike About Your Last Job? 

 

Don’t criticize anything about your last job, your coworkers, or your boss. The best answers to interview questions always bring the focus back to the present. 

Example: “I enjoyed my last position but wanted more of a challenge. I felt I had advanced as far as I could go in the company. That’s why I’m looking for a position with a company with more opportunities for advancement.” 

After you review these example interview questions and the best answers to interview questions, check out our other tips and advice for nailing your next interview

By iHire | August 12, 2021
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