September 10, 2013

Preparing for Difficult Interview Questions

3d man jumping over hurdle obstacle entitled trainingThere is nothing scarier in the ‘job seeking world’ than sitting in an interview room staring at a hiring manager realizing that you have no idea what to say in response to the question that he or she just asked you. This can make you stutter, stumble, sweat, and look all together unprepared for your interview, much less for starting a new career.

To make sure that the hiring manager or recruiter sees you in the best light possible, it is important that you feel confident and prepared for all of the different types of questions that may be thrown your way.

You are generally going to be asked questions that fall into one of the following categories:

  • Background: This will be the category that involves your experiences, various education, and general qualifications.

Example: “How did you like working at XYZ company? Please describe some of your work.”

  • Knowledge and understanding of the job: This category will evaluate your understanding of the position for which you are applying, the specific company, and the overall industry.

Example: “What led you to apply for this position?”

  • Personality and individual characteristics: This category will evaluate your individual personality so that the interviewer can understand your work style and interaction style so that he/she can determine if you would make a good fit for the company. Being able to get along with and cooperate with the other people in a company is crucial to your success in your position and in the company overall.

Example: “Describe a time during a previous job where you faced conflict with a coworker. How did you handle this?”

  • Work skills: This category will help the interviewer get a feel for the applicable skills that you have for the position, your abilities, and your competency for the job. This will involve investigating your knowledge of the needs of the position.

Examples: “How do you feel your skills make you the best fit for XYZ position?”

  • Future goals: This category will investigate your career aspirations so that they can determine how motivated you are to get the position, succeed in the position, and develop within the company.

Example: “Please briefly describe you short-and-long-term goals and how this position will help you achieve them.”

If you feel that you are fully prepared to answer questions in all of these categories you will be ready to face the interviewer with confidence. Remember that you need to be open and honest in your interview, but that there is no need to divulge a tremendous amount of private information. This can come across and inappropriate and unprofessional. Ensure that all of the answers that you give, even in the categories that delve into your personality and background, are geared toward your professionalism and how you can fit in the position. Make sure that you give a good idea of who you are and come across as personable, but don’t make the interviewer feel as though you are not taking the interview seriously.

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Marie is a writer for covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.