16 of the Trickiest Job Interview Questions—and How to Nail Them
Practice these thoughtful answers to tough job interview questions, and you’ll be sure to impress.
How do you feel about working overtime?
Now is not the time to tell the interviewer how you cannot work any extra hours because you are training for the Iron Man Triathlon and have a sick parent and see a shrink five times a week. The best answer is, “Though I pride myself on time-management and prioritization skills, I realize that extra time is sometimes needed.”
Describe your leadership skills
Demonstrate your ability to convince others to express desirable behavior and take specific action. You pride yourself on leading by example. Integrate one or more of the following answers into your description: “being able to effectively persuade, motivate, lead, empower others, negotiate, act positively, create opportunities, and influence others.”
Tell me how you coach and develop talent
This is another way of asking how you manage people, with a twist. You always strive for positive reinforcement in your coaching with direct and timely feedback. You have a commitment to learning and treat each person how you would want to be treated (good old Golden rule). Close with examples of people you have hired, trained, and promoted to greater responsibilities, and how great it made you feel. Use these 8 tricks to get your coworkers to trust you.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Does the interviewer mean personal or business? Ask the qualifier and if the answer is “both,” great; if it is “pick one over the other in rank,” go with business — maybe a major promotion that was a culmination of all your hard work, accomplishments, and dedication. Steer clear of mentioning the birth-of-your-kid answer in a business interview; though it may be true (and it probably should be), keep in mind that you are interviewing for a professional job.
Sell me this pen
This is one of the most common job interview questions for sales jobs, especially entry level. It’s a test of your ability to open, persuade, then close. The interviewer is looking for you to uncover the customer’s needs and wants, to select key features of the product, and to sell the benefits of these features. A basic rule of selling: sell the benefits the customer will gain from the product rather than the list of features the product has. Don’t make the mistake of babbling about all the features before you know what the customer’s hot buttons are. Ask, “What’s important to you when buying a pen?” Then listen carefully. Body language is just as important as what you say; make sure you don’t make one of these interview mistakes.
Do you have any questions?
You always have questions. Responding, “No, I think we covered it all” gets you the boot. This is your one last chance to make a favorable impression. Come prepared with a notepad with at least five good questions that demonstrate your research on the company. I like the kiss-up questions here: “With the impressive results the company has had in the last five years, where do you see the company in the next five years?” Or, “I’ve heard some wonderful things about your company. How do you think your competitors feel about it?” After the brown-nose questions, ask, “What key skills and attributes are most needed to succeed in this job?” After the interviewer gives you the answers, plug in some examples of demonstrated success you have in each of these areas. Here are some more job interview questions you should be asking.