Tough Interview Questions--and How to Answer Them

Posted on 04-14-2014 by
Tags: interviewing , connect , Upgrading Your Skills , law students , job seeking , business development

We've all been there. You've prepared for the interview, reviewed your resume, and are looking good in your wrinkle-free suit. Then it happens-a question from out of left field (or even one you might have expected, but were dreading). How do you deal? 

According to this article, Tough Interview Questions - and How to Answer Them, first and foremost, don't lose your cool. Interviewing is as much about form as it is about substance-in other words, even if you're not sure how to answer, it's important that you act calm, confident, and poised. It's perfectly acceptable to take a moment, compose yourself, and even admit that the question is a difficult one. Below, is a summary of the most difficult questions from this article that an interviewer might throw your way.

1. "What is your greatest weakness?" - This question is overdone and verging on cliché, but it still comes up in many interviews. In answering, there are two rules of thumb to follow. First, do not say that you are a perfectionist, that you work too hard, or that you are over-ambitious. These are not weaknesses, and it can come across as arrogant to list them as such.

2. "Have you ever had a conflict with a co-worker? How did you solve it?" - This question illustrates why it is so important to prepare for tough interview questions-while you may be able to rattle off a list of colleagues who irk you at a moment's notice, it is much more difficult to come up with a concrete example of a conflict that ended well. Think back on all the projects you have worked on-a "conflict" doesn't necessarily have to be heated or argumentative to qualify as an answer to this question.

3.  "Where do you see yourself in five years?" - This question is especially tough if you are at the beginning of your career, when your path is less clear and you may be unsure where you are headed. What's most important is to show that you have clear goals, and that the position you are interviewing for makes sense as a part of your trajectory. Make sure that the goals you state are not only compatible with, but directly related to, the role. Most interviewers are proud of their companies and are not interested in hiring someone who sees a job as merely a stepping stone to where they really want to be.

4. Working the Conversation - Above all, remember that as the interviewee, you have more power than you might think to control the substance and direction of the conversation. If there's a specific experience or past role you want to talk about, don't wait for a specific question about it-work it into a response to another question. Use concrete examples whenever possible. With enough preparation, you might even start to look forward to getting the toughest questions!

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