5 Tough Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them Like a Pro

Is the thought of facing a job interview keeping you up at night?

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking: there’s a lot of pressure. No matter how good your resume is, or how experienced and qualified you are, landing the position depends on how well you do at the interview.  

One of the most common challenges our clients face during job interviews are questions that caught them off-guard. As experts, our role is to prepare our clients to answer some of the most difficult questions interviewers will ask them. 

So, we have chosen five tough job interview questions and given advice on how to answer them like a pro.  

Question 1:

What do you consider to be your biggest failure?

Think about a small hiccup you have had at work or an instant where you felt like you were being challenged. Now give it a positive spin.  Talk about how you overcame the challenge, what you learned from the mistakes, and how it helped you to grow as an individual.  After all, you never learn anything new by doing everything right. 

⚠️ Avoid:
Never answer this question, saying you haven’t had any failures!

Question 2:

What are your salary expectations?

Before you go into the interview, have an idea of the salary scale for the role. Check if it’s specified in the job description, if not, do research on pay for that sector, the industry, and how similar companies compensate their employees for the same role. Be informed of your answer before the interview.

You can also ask the interviewer what their pay rate is like for a similar role – because if you’re out of range than what they are willing to pay, be prepared to explain why and how you would add value utilizing your experience and skills.

Use Glassdoor to uncover what other professionals like you are getting paid so you can negotiate with confidence.

⚠️ Avoid:
Do not ask for a salary that is unrealistic. This could ruin your chances and make you seem misguided and confused.

Question 3:

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question and everyone’s answer will be unique and different. However, make sure your answer reflects your personality, passions and your strengths. In 5 years most likely you want to be an expert in your field. Meaning, it could earn you awards, kudos, and recognitions so, discuss relevant major milestones you like to attain in the next 5 years.

Additionally, use a search engine like Google to research about the prospective employer’s background, vision, and read employee reviews on Glassdoor to uncover what other employees experience is in regards to growth an opportunity. Explore what kind of progression there is in similar roles and companies. You can also ask the employer questions like: Can you walk me through steps for personal development within your company? Do you align with what the company can provide?

⚠️ Avoid:
Never say you are not sure of what you want to do or become in the future.

Question 4:

Do you prefer working by yourself or in a team?

This is a trick question because both are important, and employers usually want someone who can work alone and in a team. It could be beneficial to say you prefer one over the other after asking yourself what your preference is as this could give some indication of your character as well. But you need to make it clear that you can excel in both areas. Talk about instances where you have worked in both capacities and delivered great results.

⚠️ Avoid:
Do not contradict yourself and say you prefer both.

Question 5:

Why should we hire you?

This is your opportunity to justify why you should be hired. Answer clearly and concisely by listing out positive traits that you have spoken about earlier in the interview with real-world examples to back them up. Have an idea about what the company’s values are, and what the role requires; use these to inform the positive traits you choose to speak about.

⚠️ Avoid:
Do not brag or oversell yourself.

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