How to ace the trickiest job interview questions

We’ve all been there. The almost, but not quite, audible gulp moment at interview. You wish you’d prepared just that little bit more. You kick yourself for not thinking of all the likely questions. Your hopes of nailing your dream job are looking decidedly wobbly all of a sudden.

Don’t worry! By getting acquainted with the most common dreaded interview questions, and thinking through your answer in advance, you can avoid all last-minute panics. Phew!

Reader’s Digest has published a list of the 16 trickiest interview questions and advice on how to best address them. Here are just five of them to whet your appetite:

  1. What are your three greatest strengths and weaknesses?

This is one of the most common job interview questions. For strengths, consider how in your current role you help your company to earn revenue (including indirectly), save money and save time. For weaknesses, avoid character flaws, opting instead for a former skills issue that you’ve now overcome.

  1. Tell me how you progressed through your last company

HR professionals often ask this to get a sense of how ‘promotable’ you are. Embrace the opportunity to be complimentary about the quality of the training and mentorship that you have received at your current company. Name your promotions by job title, flagging up how they came about in recognition of your hard work, accomplishments and raw talent. If you haven’t been formally promoted, highlight all the new responsibilities that you’ve been given since you started your current role.

  1. How do you handle stress?

This question offers a great opportunity to flex your time management muscles. Your interviewer wants to know that you can be productive, setting realistic goals for yourself and your team without getting bogged down by unimportant tasks. They will also be reassured to hear of your healthy work/life balance – regular exercise, good nutrition and sound sleep – as this offers the perfect antidote to stress.

  1. What would you do during your first 90 days on the job?

This is an unfair question! You can’t be expected to know the intricacies of the position and the company, so respond with some generalities and bat the question back to the interviewer. Enquire about the company’s near-term objectives, and refer your goals for this time period to them. Ask about training.

  1. What do you like and dislike about your current job?

Even if your current job is torturous, give an overwhelmingly positive answer here. Be upbeat about all your experiences, the people you work with, the skills you’ve acquired, and the training you’ve received on the job. Show how those skills, experiences and knowledge are relevant to your potential new job. Relate your motivation for applying to how attractive the opportunity is (in terms of the role, company and industry), rather than presenting it as a rejection of your current position.

Click here to explore the remaining 11 tricky interview questions explored in the article. Or get in touch with ABL, your trusted recruitment partner. With over 30 years’ experience in the field, we are experts in matching talented candidates to brilliant opportunities and helping them to nail their interviews. We hope to hear from you soon!