15 Toughest Interview Questions and Answers, part 1

20 Jan

1. Why do you want to work in this industry?

Don’t just say you like it. Anyone can do that. Focus instead on your history with that particular industry, and if you can, tell a success story.

Good answer:
I’ve always loved shopping, but my interest in retail marketing really started when I worked at a neighborhood boutique. I knew our clothes were amazing, but that we werenít marketing them properly. So I worked with management to come up with a marketing strategy that increased our sales by 25% in a year. It was great to be able to contribute positively to an industry I feel so passionate about, and to help promote a product I really believed in.

2. Tell us about yourself.

Instead of giving a chronological work history, focus on your strengths and how they pertain to the role. If possible, illustrate with examples.

Good answer:
I’m really energetic, and a great communicator. Working in sales for two years helped me build confidence, and taught me the importance of customer loyalty. I’ve also got a track record of success. In my last role, I launched a company newsletter, which helped us build on our existing relationships and create new ones. Because of this, we ended up seeing a revenue increase of 10% over two years. I’m also really interested in how companies can use web tools to better market themselves, and would be committed to building on your existing platform.

3. What do you think of your previous boss?

Remember: if you get the job, the person interviewing you will some day be your previous boss. The last thing they want is to hire someone who they know is going to badmouth them some day. Instead of trashing your former employer, stay positive, and focus on what you learned from him (no matter how awful he really was).

Good answer:
My last boss taught me the importance of time management and he didn’t pull any punches, and was extremely deadline-driven. His no-nonsense attitude pushed me to work harder, and to meet deadlines I never even thought were possible.

4. Why are you leaving your current role?

Again, stay away from badmouthing your job or employer. Focus on the positive.

Good answer:
I’ve learned a lot from my current role, but now I’m looking for a new challenge, to broaden my horizons and to gain a new skill-set; all of which, I see the potential for in this job.

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

There is really no right answer to this question, but the interviewer wants to know that you’re ambitious, career-oriented, and committed to a future with the company. So instead of sharing your dream for early retirement, or trying to be funny, give them an answer that illustrates your drive and commitment.

Good answer:
In five years I’d like to have an even better understanding of this industry. Also, I really love working with people. Ultimately, I’d like to be in some type of managerial role at this company, where I can use my people skills and industry knowledge to benefit the people working for me, and the company as a whole."

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