The 5 Hardest Interview Questions and How To Answer Them

You did your research, built your resume, wrote your cover letter and submitted everything neat, orderly and on time. And it’s finally paid off. You’ve been invited for an interview at your dream company or medical facility. Your experience, skills and goals are fresh in your mind and you’re ready to go! But many potential employers like to throw tough questions and curveballs at you during an interview to see how you think on your feet.

Here are five common and difficult questions you could be faced with, and how to answer each one:

“What’s your greatest weakness?”

Most employers ask this question because they are interested in how you answer it, not necessarily what your answer is. They’re trying to put you in a complex position and see how you handle yourself. While this may seem like an unfair question designed specifically to trump you up, it’s actually an opportunity in disguise. It’s a chance for you to show your abilities. Self-reflection, analysis and critical thinking will lead you to a great answer.

The best answer has two parts: an admission and a recovery. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Think about yours before the interview. Be honest with yourself and come up with one or two things that you’ve had trouble with. If you don’t have relevant work experience, think about a weakness you experienced during your time studying at your school or academy.

The next step is to think about the steps you’ve taken to overcome this weakness. This is the part of the answer most employers are interested in. If you can prove that you are aware of your weaknesses, and actively work to improve in areas that you’ve struggled in, ultimately you’ll be in great shape.

“Why did you leave your last job?”

This question comes up frequently. Sometimes your answer will be obvious. Maybe it was seasonal work, or you had a contract with a pre-arranged date of termination. However, if you decided to quit, or were let go, your answer will require a bit more thought. As your possible future employer, the interviewer is trying to find your work values. The most important thing to convey in your answer is that this is the job you want. Be honest about the reason you left your last job, even if you were terminated, but be sure to show that you have a good attitude towards your previous employer.

If you can list your previous supervisor as a reference, that’s helpful. If you can’t, be humble and honest when letting your interviewer know why. Even if you left your previous job under difficult circumstances, explain what happened, and why this new opportunity is different.

“Why should I hire you?”

You should expect this question to come up, and have an answer prepared. This is the ultimate chance to sell yourself to your employer. You should be able to convince your interviewer that you understand what it takes to do the job and deliver the results they’re looking for. You should also illustrate how you will fit in and enhance the team that you’ll be working with. Be prepared to tell them what makes you stand out from the crowd. By the time you’re finished answering, your employer should feel like hiring you, and any other choice would be wrong.

“How will you improve this company?”

In order to have a good answer ready for this question, you need to research the company and the job that you’re applying for. Just saying “I will do the job well and exceed expectations,” is a generic answer that doesn’t show your employer much. You should already be aware of at least some of your responsibilities should you be hired. Identify the most important things you’ll be doing and give a detailed account of how you plan to accomplish them.

“Why do you want to work here?”

When answering this question, you should address two points: why you want to work for this company, and why you want to work this job specifically. If you can show that their company provides the type of environment that will inspire you and keep you working hard, your interviewer will likely feel good about you and your potential as an employee.

These questions might seem intimidating, but the truth is that each one is an opportunity in disguise. Use these tips to craft your answers, and you’ll likely nail the interview — and hopefully land the job.

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