How To Answer 6 Tough Job Interview Questions, Part Two

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Interviewee sitting at table in job fair.

Since we already talked about this topic, does that make this a second interview?

We recently posted How To Answer These 6 Tough Job Interview Questions, and many of you asked for specific examples for your reference. We are delivering!

Below, you’ll find some scripts and templates you can use when answering these tough job interview questions. Naturally, your response should vary based on your experience and the job. However, these should point you in the right direction.


1.   What’s One Thing You Would Change About Your Last Job?

As I mentioned previously, avoid trash talking old employers. Instead, say something that makes you look like you know how to spot issues—and how to solve them.

For instance, “I would have changed our process for answering customer service emails. Many of them piled up, and it was disorganized. ”

Then, explain how you would change it: “I would have implemented a filtering system so we’d know which emails needed top priority and which ones could wait.”

2.   Why Should I Hire You?

Many fumble this question because they worry what other candidates have answered. Or, they think they will sound conceited. Both are poor assumptions.

Instead, draw from your work history, apply it to the situation, and be sure to explain what’s in it for them if they hire you.

Use this formula for a spectacular pitch: “I’m a great candidate because at (previous company) I gained (relevant experience) that will help me in this job by (benefit for potential employer).”

3. Why Is There A Gap In Your Employment History?

This is a very common, and you’ll want to show the recruiter that you weren’t just sitting on your behind.

Chances are you are just out of school, so that’s a valid answer. However, you’ll also want to say something like, “I’ve been working for (volunteer experience)/(freelance client) to gain some experience doing (relevant skill).” (Of course, only mention this part if it’s true.)

4. What’s The Biggest Risk You’ve Ever Taken?

Again, avoid adventurous answers like racecar driving or bungee jumping.

What the employer wants to know here is how you put out a fire at work—even though you may not have had all the information you needed to do so. Show them how you took control.

For instance, if I were answering this question, I’d talk about when I started recruiting. I was thrown into it because a co-worker quit unexpectedly, and we were booked solid with interviewing candidates. That day, I ended up doing all the interviews.

That was a huge risk because, until that point, I had not been trained in interviewing or dealing with candidates. However, it paid off and from that day forward, I conducted job interviews on a daily basis.

5. How Would You Explain [Complex Idea] To An Eight Year Old?

Similar to the “why should i hire you?” question, you’ll want to keep it simple here because this is a test of your communication skills. For instance, “Accounting is when you do the math for a company’s money. You add and subtract all day to make sure everything is right. This is really important because (benefit to the company).”

6.   What’s Your Biggest Weakness?

Many people have different advice on this topic. For me, the key remains answering this question with a weakness that isn’t considered a weakness by that particular company for that particular job.

For instance, if the company is looking for a customer service rep, you can say, “My last job asked me to do a lot of accounting, and that definitely isn’t my strong suit.” This works because accounting likely has nothing to do with customer service, yet it’s still an honest weakness. As a bonus, this answer could also show the employer why you’re interested in their job.

Keep these examples in mind when prepping for your next job interview, and you’ll be able to tackle the hardest questions.

Need specifics about a different question? Post it in the comments!

(Photo: bpsusf)

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