How to Handle 4 Tough Job Interview Questions

Congrats! You’ve landed an interview for your ideal job. Now it’s time to let your potential employer know why you’re an outstanding candidate. Prepare yourself for some tough but typical interview questions.

Describe Your Setbacks or Weaknesses

No doubt you will try to keep the interviewer focused on your strengths, but sooner or later you’ll be asked about the areas where you still need to grow. Here’s how you can talk about your weaker areas yet still sound capable.

  1. Steer clear of anything major that would most likely sink your chances of getting the job offer. Choose a limitation that’s significant but not a deal breaker.
  2. Provide an example of how you’ve learned from your past missteps. For instance, maybe you once made an embarrassing typo on a financial spreadsheet, and now you’re meticulous at proofreading.
  3. Let your prospective employer know that you’ll stand behind your work and resolve issues as soon as possible. Take responsibility for your performance.
  4. Speak about tasks that would play a small role in the position. For instance, if you’re an accountant who shies away from public speaking that will raise less concern than if you have trouble with placing decimals.

Discuss Your Greatest Achievements and Strengths During the Interview

How can you let the interviewer know that you’re extraordinary, without sounding arrogant?

  1.  Stay relevant. Share qualities that are mission critical. If your prospective employer is looking for someone to reduce travel costs, describe how you recommended and implemented cuts resulting in 50% savings to the travel budget at your last job.
  2. Let your enthusiasm be known. Create a personal connection when you reveal details about your approach to tackling a project.
  3. Make yourself desirable. To clarify, I’m referring to the position. Distinguish yourself by offering a benefit that will set you apart from other candidates. Perhaps you speak three languages instead of just two or have obtained more than the desired certifications for the position.

Negotiate Your Salary

Money matters can be tricky. Develop a strategy that keeps you as a viable candidate without reducing future earnings. 

  1. Research your market. Determine what the current rate is for the job. Use tools and resources on the Internet to help you conduct your research. Strengthen your bargaining position with knowledge.
  2. Postpone negotiations. Don’t discuss salary without having a clear picture of all that the position entails. If your requirements are flexible, let the interviewer know. Consider everything before making a final decision (job location, benefits, workplace culture, etc.). Salary may be just one factor in the equation if you consider other benefits that are important to you.
  3. Speak in ranges. Once the interviewer brings up salary, ask if a salary range is available. If the answer is no, remember that giving a specific number instead of a range can decrease your leveraging ability. Make sure you’ll be satisfied with the low end of the range.

Pose Your Own Questions

Presenting thoughtful, relevant questions throughout the interview will make you more memorable and strengthen your case for being a good fit for the position.

  1.  Ask questions to summarize and recap your qualifications. For example, asking about the company’s social media strategy could help you call attention to your experience with social media campaigns.
  2. Be courteous of the interviewer’s time. Be attentive to signs that the interviewer is ready to end the interview.
  3. Determine if you really want the position. While it’s gratifying to get a job offer, make sure it’s a career move that’s advantageous for you. Don’t forget to ask about training opportunities, workplace culture, and anything else that’s important to you. Find out if it’s possible to see the location where you’ll be working.

Taking the time to rehearse your answers will make it easier to respond to difficult interview questions. It’s just one more way to impress a potential employer with your confidence and advanced preparation.

Contact us if you need help preparing for your next interview.

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