Recruitment | Executive Search

The top 10 trickiest interview questions and answers

Everyone knows the situation. Your CV looks great, your interview goes well and you feel you have established a bond with the interviewer. Then suddenly life throws you a curve ball, the interviewer smiles at you and asks you a question that you find interesting but somehow difficult to answer, considering you are here to impress.

As a recruitment agency we are familiar with the latest interview techniques and questions and have compiled a list with the 10 trickiest interview questions encountered by our candidates.

Tricky job interview question 1: What are your biggest weaknesses?

When asked this question, don’t answer with “I am lazy and like to sleep in” or that in stressful situations you develop a temper and shout at collegues. Also don’t answer with “I love yoga and my favourite yoga lesson happens daily from 2-3:30 pm”. Rather say something like: I work too hard and sometimes my private life suffers or I am a perfectionist.

Tricky job interview question 2: What was your most challenging situation in your previous career?

With this sneaky question, future employers try to find out A) If you have dealt with challenging situations before, B) what you find challenging and C) how you dealt with it. A good answer is something like this: A long-term client was about to take their business to a competitor. I met with the customer and was able to change how we handled the account on a day-to-day basis, in order to keep the business.

Tricky job interview question 3: Tell me a little bit about yourself

You could just rattle on about your childhood, hobbies and how fabulous you are. Rather what would really make you shine is a customized answer that refers to the current job opportunity and why you are perfect for the job. Taking it to the extreme, you could even create a little brand statement about yourself that quickly describes who you are and what you can bring to the company.

Tricky job interview question 4: Why are you leaving your current job?

This is not the go-ahead to rant about your current employer, but a way for your new employer to establish if you have tried your very best to make things work. The best way to handle this would be to start off with a positive, for instance to mention how much you enjoy being part of a creative team. You could then continue talking about how vastly your daily tasks differed from your job description or if you apply for a higher level position that there was no room for promotion.

Tricky job interview question 5: Where do you hope to be in 3 years time?

No employer wants to hear that you are ultimately planning to open your own company or that you are keen on your bosses or the interviewers job. Instead point the direction towards what you want to accomplish for the company, e.g. grow division X and Y, increase visitor number by X% etc.

Tricky job interview question 6: Describe a decision you made that was a failure. What happened and why?

The reason why this question is asked is to identify the scale of your failures, what you consider a failure and how resourceful you are in solving it. Everyone makes mistakes. Choose something not work related and ideally something that does not reflect on your character traits, e.g. failures due to procrastination, laziness or lack of concentration.

Tricky job interview question 7: What would you do differently if you could start your working life over?

The interviewer is looking for a detour that continues to be a professional block in your career. If you are applying for an online marketing position, the wrong answer would be:”I really enjoy being outside, so I should have dropped out of school and done a landscaping course. I would have my own business by now”. The better answer: I am really interested in digital marketing and would have been able to excel in this field much earlier if i had done a marketing internship during school.

Tricky job interview questions 8: If you could be any animal what would you want to be and why?

Even though I would be tempted to answer dolphin, I would not. Known as clowns of the sea, dolphins are fun-loving animals that enjoy surfing waves and being free.

There is really no right answer, but a safe answer is: a dog. Why? They are loyal and do not bite unless they are backed into a corner. You could possibly also answer, that you would want to be an ant or a bee, because you like to work in a team and be productive at the same time.

Tricky job interview question 9: Explain to a 8 year old what a modem/router is and it’s functions

This question is popular when applying for technical jobs and has been asked at Apple job interviews. The interviewer wants to see you know the basics and are in a position to teach others.

Tricky job interview question 10: Why are manhole covers round?

Ya why are they? Brainteasers put the interviewee into an abstracted situation, where thinking quickly is often more important than thinking well. Instead of determining if the answer is correct, the interviewer measures how the candidate handles a stressful situation under limited time.

At Initiate International we prepare our candidates before they head off for their job interview. If you have any questions with regard to interview preparation or interview questions, please feel free to contact our team at Initiate International.

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