Despite the best preparations, a job interview can still be a nerve-wracking experience. Interviewers have several questions that can easily trip you up. Though these job interview questions are mostly designed for the interviewer to understand you better, some are meant to throw you off balance, to see how well you will perform under pressure at the workplace. To prevent yourself from fumbling, prepare yourself with responses for the following tricky job interview questions.
- How did you prepare for this job interview?
The purpose of this question to find out whether or not you really care about the job or if you’re just going through the motions. When answering this job interview question, show that you took the time out to research the company and its industry before the interview by talking about the company’s background, or mentioning current trends in its industry and how you can make a positive difference. Describe a product or service they provide in-depth, and point out any problems you’ve observed, and your ideas on how to solve them.
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
If you give the impression during a job interview that you are looking to get a position in another company or industry altogether, or want to continue your education or otherwise not looking to be with the company long-term, it could hurt your chances of getting the job – or if you get it, your chances of keeping it for long. The company could let you go – not because of your performance on the job, but because they will not be keen on investing in a worker who will not be around in the long-run. When you answer, you don’t have to lie, but answer truthfully. You can say that you’re looking for a job you’re passionate about and that will challenge and develop you. If you believe that the position will do that, then say how the firm can help you achieve that.
- What are your salary requirements?
This job interview question probably makes the interviewer as uncomfortable as you. Keep in mind that the interviewer may not have the power to negotiate or discuss your wage. This question is asked so that the firm can be sure that they can afford you. It may also be asked to know whether your salary requirements are reasonable. To answer this appropriately, you must have done your research into the industry and determined what a reasonable salary will be. If the question is asked in a soft way like “What salary range are you looking for?“, an appropriate answer will be “Let’s talk about the job requirements and expectations first, so I can get a sense of what you need.” If it’s asked in a more direct way like “What amount are you expecting in terms of salary?” you can reply “I am interested in finding a job that is a good fit for me. I’m sure whatever salary you’re paying is consistent with the rest of the market.” This shows that you respect yourself and want to believe the company will do the same.
- Why do you want to work here?
This is another test to see how much you know about the company, and whether or not you did your research and are fit for the company’s culture. Here are five answers you can give to this job interview question:
- “I’ve known several colleagues over the years who have worked at your company, and they have all said great things.”
- “I was excited to see on your website that you feature employees talking about how great it is to work for your company.”
- “Your company is known for making great products that help people do [insert function of product or service].
- I know of your company’s leadership role in our community through your support of [insert cause here] Your products and philanthropy show you to be a company that cares about both the bottom line and about giving back to society.”
- What is your dream job?
Is this job interview for your dream job? If yes, say it decisively. If your dream job is something far-fetched, it’s best to keep it to yourself, as saying so may imply that you won’t be fully invested in the position. If the job is somewhere in between, you could say “This is my dream field, and a junior position is an ideal placement for now. I know I have a lot to learn and do before i can get that position i want, and this job will put me on the path to getting there.
- If you could work for any other company, where would you work?
This job interview question may be used to determine if you’re fully invested in their company as well as where else you might want to apply. People have trouble with this question because they can’t decide whether to keep quiet or mention where else they’ve interviewed – especially if the other company is a big name. The best way to answer is to refrain from mentioning any other company name. Ask yourself “if i asked a date such a question, what would i want to hear?” Emphasize on how the company you’re currently interviewing with is your top priority at the moment. An example of an ideal answer is “During my job search, i spent a lot of time researching different companies I might want to work at, and this company stood out the most. I share your mission, values and objectives and feel that I would really thrive in this work environment.”
- Describe an instance at your previous job or school when you made a mistake.
This is a dicey job interview question – on one hand, they’re trying to find out whether you learn from mistakes or keep repeating them. On the other hand, they might be trying to determine whether you feel too self-important or not self-aware enough to take responsibility for your mistakes. The worst way to answer is give a list of your major mistakes. Not only are you showing that you’re insecure, you’re also guaranteeing that you won’t get the job. Briefly mention one minor misstep, and follow immediately with a good lesson learnt from it.
- Why did you leave your last job?
Keeping your head and refraining from speaking ill about your former employer or coworkers is critical in any job interview. Bad-mouthing your former boss and colleagues is a huge red flag, especially when your interviewer contacts your references. When answering this, be honest and don’t dwell on negatives, but talk about what you learned at your former workplace and how it helped you grow. The reason why you moved on was because it was time to move on and explore new opportunities that would push you out of your comfort zone.
- Do you like to work alone or prefer to be part of a team?
Saying that you like to work alone might make you come across as a loner who can’t work well with others, while saying you prefer working only in groups might make you seem like you’re not self-confident enough to make independent decisions. When answering this job interview question, it’s best to choose a sort of middle ground and state that you enjoy working both ways and can handle the two working relationships. You can go ahead and list some pros and cons of each of them. For example, “working in groups helps you learn new skills and exchange ideas, however working independently allows you to complete tasks quicker and with no interruption.”
- Are you the kind of person that can handle work emails during vacation?
While you want to show dedication to your work by letting your job interviewer know that you’re available and can be relied upon, you also want to make it clear that you know the importance of balancing work and your personal time, so you can handle personal activities and also avoid burning out from too little rest. Answer by letting your employer know that while you are fully committed to your work, you also need time away from the office. Let them know that you will complete all your work duties before any vacation and can be contacted in the instance of an emergency.
The key to making a good impression at a job interview is to be prepared, simple. While your dressing and presentation are very important, your answers are what will get you the job.