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5 tough interview questions you should consider for your interview prep

5 tough interview questions you should consider for your interview prep

  • What are the hardest questions in a job interview?
  • How do you answer difficult interview questions?
  • Key takeaways

Not all interview questions are simple and straightforward. Some are intended to test your intelligence to the limit. Here are a few tough interview questions and how to respond to them.

Preparing for a job interview can be a stressful task, especially if you’re unaware of the different curveballs the interviewer is likely to throw your way. After all, not every question is as simple as it seems. Some tough interview questions require you to really think, plan ahead, and rely on a storytelling approach.

In this blog post, we’ll share:

  • 5 commonly-asked tough interview questions

  • 3 tips on answering challenging interview questions

What are the hardest questions in a job interview?

The purpose of tough interview questions is not to discourage you. In most cases, interviewers end up asking a couple of challenging questions to learn more about you. They’re usually looking for information that’s not on your resume, such as your leadership, time management, and problem-solving skills and whether you would make a good cultural fit. 

Here’s a look at five tough interview questions and answers:

1. How do you manage stressful situations?

According to a recent survey, more than 90 percent of people in the United States feel stressed at work. This alarming statistic shows that job stress is a common phenomena, which explains why your interviewer would want to assess your stress management skills. 

Your response to stress-related questions should involve a short story. Describe a stressful situation you encountered at a previous workplace, what you did to manage stress, and how you were able to save the project. You can also discuss how you manage daily work stress, and then mention a past situation where your stress management skills came in handy.

Example

When it comes to managing stressful situations, I take a step back, do some deep breathing, analyze the situation with a clear mind, and then try to come up with a solution. For example, at my current workplace, I found out that two of my colleagues ended up duplicating their work on a project with a two-day deadline. I scheduled a meeting where I worked with both of my colleagues to eliminate the duplicate work and complete all pending work. As a result, we were able to complete that project within the deadline.

2. Why do you want to leave your current employment?

As much as the interviewer would want you to work with them, they may want to know why you’re leaving your existing employer. This is especially true if you’re moving from a supervisory role to a more entry-level one. 

The interviewer is interested in knowing whether you’re leaving your job due to performance-related issues or any disciplinary actions. The key to answering this tough interview question is to be honest, but not to delve too much into the reason for the switch. 

Example

While I enjoy working at my current employment, I feel that there are no opportunities for me to grow within the organization anymore. I also feel that there is no opportunity that aligns closely with my long-term career goals. The position at your organization not only aligns with my skill set, but it also provides a way for me to grow professionally. 

3. What is one of the biggest regrets in your professional career?

Employers aren’t just interested in your professional career triumphs and accomplishments. They might also want to know about any moments of weaknesses or regrets you experienced. After all, it’s important for growth!

When responding to this question, think about some of the mistakes you’ve made in the past or any professional setbacks or shortcomings worth disclosing. Focus on what you’ve learned with those setbacks and how you’ve been able to keep such mishaps at bay since then. 

Example

One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t start early. I spent the first few years of my professional career working a job that I didn’t like. I wish I had spent those years figuring out my field of interest and developing the skills I needed to excel in that career. However, I wouldn’t say that those years were completely wasted. I did acquire several transferable skills, which helped set me up for success in my most recent role.

4. What’s the most critical feedback you have ever received?

This question ties closely with another commonly asked interview question: “What are your biggest weaknesses?” The purpose of this question is for the employer to assess your self-awareness and ability to learn from your mistakes. 

To respond to this question, think about a genuine, constructive criticism you’ve received at work or a weakness someone has pointed out. Provide a brief explanation of the feedback and explain what you’ve done to overcome the weakness.

Example

At one of my previous employment, I was told that I have a habit of interrupting others during conversations. While I do get excited everytime I have a new idea or I complete a project, and I’m eager to share it with others, I understand the importance of active listening and letting others speak. Since then, I’ve made it a point to let others talk during a meeting and share their ideas and results first. If I feel like I have something to add, I raise up my hand instead of interrupting everyone.

5. Why should we hire you?

The main reason why interviewers ask this question is that they want to understand what sets you apart from all other job applicants. Dozens of applicants are vying for the same role, so why should the employer select you?

Perhaps the best way to answer this type of question is to play on your skills and attributes that make you the right fit. You can also mention your career aspirations. For this reason, it’s important to carefully review the job posting and keep it in mind when answering this question.

Example

I believe my strong attention to detail and problem-solving skills make me the right candidate for this job role. At my previous employment, I served as the Chief Editor for a team of 10 content creators. I would review and evaluate their work and compare it with the project brief to ensure compliance with all client instructions. As a result, we were able to close more than 20 projects, with 15 return customers.

How do you answer difficult interview questions?

At the end of the day, there are limitless tough interview questions, and the interviewer can ask you as many of these questions as they please. However, there are a few ways you can prepare for these curveballs beforehand and ace your job interview, including:

1. Pause and reflect

Instead of rushing into answering a question, pause and think. Develop a well-planned answer to the question, and then respond. This will help ensure that you answer the question to the best of your abilities. It’ll also establish you as an articulate individual.

2. Stay confident and honest

The interviewer knows that all job applicants have their weaknesses, which is why it’s important to be honest with your answers. Discuss your key skills and how they can benefit the company. Keep the interview positive. Be honest when responding to questions about your weaknesses, but mention what you’ve done to overcome those weaknesses.

3. Practice as much as you can

They say that practice makes perfect, and this could not be more true for job interviews. Do your own research and prepare and practice your answers to as many job interview questions as possible. That is the key to answering all types of tough interview questions with confidence.

Are you nervous about an upcoming job interview? Check out our interview prep services and improve your chances of making a solid first impression on the interviewer! 

Key takeaways

  1. Not all interview questions are going to be simple and straightforward.

  2. Some interview questions are designed to test your intelligence and ability to tell a story.

  3. When preparing for a job interview, practice for some tough questions. 

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