(Not so) fun fact – 92% of people fear at least one aspect of the job interview process. Specifically, most people worry about not being able to answer challenging or curveball questions. While it can be difficult to anticipate what will be asked during an interview, we’ve compiled some of the most common challenging interview questions and provided guides on how to best tackle them so that you can walk into your next interview with confidence.
- “Tell me about yourself”
- “Why do you want to leave your current job?” or “why did you leave your previous job?”
- “Why do you want this position?”
- “What is your biggest weakness?”
“Tell me about yourself”
A simple prompt that can often send people into a tailspin because of how broad it is. As such, preparation is key to responding in an effective and constructive way. Before your next interview, prepare a short elevator pitch that describes who you are, what you do, what you are best at, and what your career aspirations and goals are. By doing this, you’ll be able to respond to this prompt concisely and avoid getting lost in a tangent. The trick is to practice, practice, and practice some more until you feel comfortable and confident talking about yourself.
“Why do you want to leave your current job?” or “Why did you leave your previous job?”
Whether you had a positive or negative employment experience, it’s important to never speak negatively about your employer in an interview context. Talking down on your experiences may inadvertently raise alarm bells for interviewers as they will have limited insight into the context of your experiences. So, if you have had a bad experience, it’s best to either position your response in a positive way or avoid touchy topics entirely. For example, you could avoid touching on the negative aspects by saying “I’m looking for opportunities for growth that weren’t present in my previous role”. If you can’t think of a positive answer, respond objectively. For instance, instead of saying “I didn’t like the culture”, it is much better to say, “there were clashing personalities in the team”.
“Why do you want this position?”
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to talk about the aspects of the job or business that you are passionate about or interested in. Are you attracted to their workplace culture? Great, talk about that! Are you passionate about the industry or the business’ values? Talk about that. Any answer that highlights your compatibility with the organisation is a winner. Just be sure to also highlight how your skills relate to the position you’re applying for.
However, no matter if you’re engaging with an employer or a recruitment agency, the last thing you should say is “for the salary”. This is the quickest way to make them think that you’re in it for the wrong reasons.
“What is your biggest weakness?”
This one can be tricky to answer, as nobody wants to talk about their weaknesses! However, we are always impressed whenever a candidate can highlight a weakness of theirs and follow up by explaining the steps they are taking to address it. For example, “I have not had much leadership experience, but I have recently engaged with a mentor to develop this skill”. This approach puts a positive spin on a typically negative topic while also demonstrating a commitment to growth, development, and improvement. When choosing an issue to talk about, avoid talking about weaknesses that directly relate to the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a recruitment consultant position, don’t talk about how you’re a bad judge of character.
Want to put your newfound knowledge to practice? Head to our ‘Current Positions’ page to find out more about the fabulous opportunities we currently have on offer: https://www.sullivanconsulting.com.au/current-positions/?rSearch
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