…8 trickiest job interview questions (and how to nail them!)
“How many cows are in Canada?” Erm, what? That was a real life interview question asked by Google two years ago.
And that’s not even the weirdest. If you were a box of cereal, what would you be and why? If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out? And possibly the barmiest of them all: what makes you happy about work on a Friday evening?
Let’s face it, the majority of us want the highest paying job we can get – but it’s not always easy, especially when some of the most valuable jobs in Britain come with questions like “what is flow control?”… gulp.
Still, even the toughest jobs come with some of the standard (irritating) interview questions everyone hates answering. They may sound like a load of brain puke, but they’re actually real interview questions, from real companies. These, of course, are impossible to prepare for, though there are questions you can expect to have thrown at you. This guide will help you answer the most challenging of them all.
- What is your greatest weakness?
Bears… moving on. This is basically a really annoying way of asking “what good characteristic of yours can sometimes be a pain?” i.e. a strength in disguise. Think about what holds you back professionally: maybe you’re too self-critical, perhaps you’re a people pleaser. Most importantly, tell them how you make a conscious effort to work on these weaknesses.
- What do you know about our company?
All hail Google! There’s no excuse to know nothing about the company you’re applying to work for, so make sure you research them. Answering the question can still be tricky when you’re put on the spot, so make sure you know what they do, their products/ services, locations and major competitors.
- Why should we hire you?
What makes you stand out from the long list of candidates I have to interview today? This is the perfect chance to sell yourself and demonstrate your knowledge of the company. List your accomplishments and match them to the position at hand. Do you have any expert knowledge in the field? Tell them! If you have value, they’ll sure as hell nab you.
- Tell me about yourself
Where do you start? Well, I was born 4 weeks prematurely, I like crisps and cats, and my favourite TV show is Game of Thrones. Stop! Tell them what you’ve done professionally over the past few years, the areas you excel in and what you’d like to do in the future. Be natural and conversational, but remember, this is still an interview.
- What is your greatest strength?
Sure, you’re awesome, but you’ve got to be awesomely relevant to the position at hand. Write down a list of things you rock at and are proudest of, times you’ve been recognised by a boss, problems you’ve solved, processes you’ve improved and profits gained from your general awesomeness.
- Why is there a gap in your work history?
Whatever you do, don’t tell your employers you spent that entire year of unemployment binge-watching TV shows at your parents’. Of course, you were looking for work, and it’s not easy to find one fast. List the freelance projects, volunteer work, or times you had to take care of family to show that time was spent productively.
- Why do you want to leave your current job?
The truth may well be that it was absolutely terrible and you hated every day in that godforsaken hell pit – but you can’t tell your interviewer that. Tell them you’re looking for new challenges, and the place you’re currently at doesn’t offer anything in terms of career advancement.
- Do you have any questions for us?
The end is here. Hurray! Don’t run off just yet, though – now is the time to impress them with your boundless enthusiasm. Ask them where they see the company going in the future, if there’s anything else you need to know about the job that isn’t in the description, or, on a more personal note, ask the interviewer why they enjoy working there.
DON’T FORGET YOUR BODY LANGUAGE!
- Sit up straight
- Be courteous
- Maintain eye contact
- Use your hands
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