How to get a job: Great answers to tough interview questions

Tough interview questions can strike fear in the hearts of the most prepared job seekers. Even with a flawless resume and superior references, making a bad impression during a face-to-face interview can douse all hopes of getting hired. Preparing great answers to tough interview questions is the key to success because in this current competitive job market, “winging it” is not an option.

Preparation is the Key

The best way to ace the interview is to relieve some of the nervousness through preparation. Prepare thoroughly enough so that questions can be answered without even thinking, and turn the interview into a flowing conversation. If the interviewer’s style is more “question and answer,” the applicant can hide that he has rehearsed the answers by pausing a moment before responding to each question. Writing down interview questions, the answers to them, and examples that illustrate the answers will be time well spent, and will ensure that the interviewee does not draw a blank.

Possible Questions Uncovered

In the age of the Internet, it is common to find individuals who have posted questions that they were asked at their own interview, which may, in turn, provide great ideas for answers that had not come to mind. Websites such as glassdoor.com post actual interview questions by job category and by company.

The First Question

Nine times out of ten, the first question is always, “Tell me a little about yourself.” That is an open- ended question, but employers are looking for evidence of job skills, education, experience, qualities, etc. that the job seeker possesses that would be beneficial to their company.

Basic Questions

After answering the first question, other basic questions will ensue. These questions include, but are not limited to:

  • Why should I hire you?
  • Are you a team player?
  • What is your greatest strength/weakness?

Situational Questions

Situational interview questions are often used to predict how the applicant would react in certain situations based on actions in the past. Answers to these types of questions should be prepared for as well. An example of a situational question would be, “Describe the toughest problem/challenge you ever faced and how you worked through it.”

An easy method to remember when answering these tough interview questions is the STAR method:

S-Situation; What was the situation you were in?
T-Task; Describe the task you were faced with.
A- Action; What actions did you take?
R- Results; What were the results of those actions?

Why Were You Laid Off?

On March 6, 2011, Patricia Hunt Sinacole posted “Take tough interview questions in stride; Job Doc” in the Boston Globe. Sinacole states, “When asked a tough or unusual question, take a moment to think before formulating a response. It is best to respond in a factual, open, yet positive way.”

Questions related to layoffs should be answered as honestly as possible. For example, the applicant can state that due to the tough economy, the company implemented a massive staff reduction that had nothing to do with job performance. Examples of accomplishments should be given to prove this point.

Ridiculously Hard Questions

Think you are prepared for the tough interview questions? What about the ridiculously hard questions? On March 1, 2011, Nicole Hardesty posted “15 Ridiculously Hard Job Interview Questions From Top Employers Like Google, Goldman Sachs” on the Huffington Post. Hardesty states, “Many top-flight employers aren’t trying to make the interview process any easier.” Instead, they are asking potential employees to think way outside of the box with questions like, “If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?” and “How many basketballs can you fit in this room?”.

The ones who are able to think way outside the box are willing to share their answers with those in need. On March 2, 2011, Alyson Shontell posted “17 Great Answers To 17 Job Interview Questions You Don’t Want To Be Asked” on Business Insider. Shontell states, “If you were stumped by any of them, here are the best answers people gave on Glassdoor’s Interview section.” Thanks to these guys and their brilliant answers, the crazy-question impaired job seekers are forever in their debt!

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