5 Difficult Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
Posted by Harry Robins
There are several tough questions that employers commonly use in their interview process. Employers might ask you difficult questions to seek out important information, learn about your thought processes, or to gauge your capability with difficult tasks or tricky situations. Tough interview questions vary between industries, but we have explored some of the most common questions and the best way to approach them! 1. Why did you leave your last firm / what did you dislike about your last job Do answer this question honestly. If there are certain things you were not happy with in your last role you need to ensure you don’t end up in the exact same situation in your next role, but try to steer clear of simply listing all the bad things about your last employer. Instead, try to use this question as an opportunity to show how you are looking to better your own career. For example, if you’re unhappy that you haven’t had a promotion, a better way to discuss this would be; ‘In my last company I progressed as far I could’, ‘I reached a glass ceiling where there are no longer any opportunities for growth’ or ‘I want to take on a new challenge and broaden my knowledge’. 2. How do you handle stress? This can be a tricky one and often catches people off guard! Stress tends to be a component in many jobs and employers will want to know you can handle stress constructively and with a good attitude, so make sure you think about this question and have an answer in mind before your interview. You might say that you consult your colleagues and manager in a stressful situation, or ensure you have a good work-life balance to reduce stress and focus on other things outside of work. This will depend on the position you are interviewing for, but make sure to emphasise that you would make an effective plan on how to tackle the problem and relate this to your own experience or potential future role. 3. What salary are you expecting? The best thing to do when it comes to this question is leave it to your recruiter! During your interview process, do what you can to find out as much information as possible about the role and sell yourself, and when asked directly, you can simply say that this is something you’d like your recruiter to discuss - remember, we are able to go back and forth with your potential employer regarding salary and you won’t be stuck in that part of the process! 4. What’s your biggest weakness? Employers typically ask this question to see if you have a sense of self-awareness. To effectively answer this, think about a piece of criticism you have received, or a weakness you are aware of, and explain how you are working to improve this! Try to avoid giving a completely negative answer or an obviously calculated answer like ‘I work too hard’ or ‘I am too committed to my job’. Instead say something realistic like ‘I’ve been working on my ability to provide constructive criticism’ or ‘I sometimes take mistakes too much to heart, but I make sure I don’t make the same mistake again’, and use this question to demonstrate self-awareness and show that you are working to improve. 5. Do you have any regrets? This is a particularly difficult question to answer. Employers might ask this to get a self-assessment from you about the possible shortcomings in your life, but it’s hard to know whether to focus on your personal or professional life! You might choose to say you have no regrets in your life for a certain reason. Or you could show them that you have made mistakes with regards to your career but have learned from them, for example, ‘I always wish I had started the career path I am on now earlier in my life, but I learned skills in my previous jobs that have helped me progress in my career today’. *Bonus question* We recently spoke to a hiring manager and asked them the toughest interview question they ask candidates! “Very often on people’s CV's, they mention their sporting achievements. If they mention rugby, I ask them if they have ever punched someone during a game. It’s a difficult question, because you don’t want to come across as violent, especially in an interview! But the chances are you have... The correct answer would be that the game is a fast, physical and competitive sport and sometimes situations boil over, but once the game is over we would always shake hands and meet up in the clubhouse.” So, there you have it! The best way to approach the toughest interview questions you're likely to come up against in your next interview. While some interview questions are common and often expected, others may surprise you, and it is important to prepare as much as possible for interview scenarios. Our recruitment specialists are here to offer interview advice and guide you through the entire process - from preparing you for the questions you will be asked, to negotiating the best possible salary. For more information on this article or for help with any of your recruiting needs, contact Harry Robins on 020 7269 6355 or email@example.com.