15 Toughest Interview Questions and Answers (part 2)

21 Jan

6. What’s your greatest weakness?

This question is a great opportunity to put a positive spin on something negative, but you don’t want your answer to be cliche; joking or not. Instead, try to use a real example of a weakness you have learned to overcome.

Good answer:
I’ve never been very comfortable with public speaking, which as you know, can be a hindrance in the workplace. Realizing this was a problem, I asked my previous employer if I could enroll in a speech workshop. He said “yes.” I took the class, and was able to overcome my lifelong fear. Since then, I’ve given lots of presentations to audiences of over a 100 high level executives and I still don’t love it, but no one else can tell!
7. What salary are you looking for?

If you can avoid it, don’t give an exact number. The first person to name a price in a salary negotiation loses. Instead, re-iterate your commitment to the job itself. If you have to, give a broad range based on research you’ve conducted on that particular role, in your particular city.

Good answer:
I’m more interested in the role itself than the pay. That said, I’d expect to be paid the appropriate range for this role, based on my five years of experience. I also think a fair salary would bear in mind the high cost of living here in New York City.

8. Why should I hire you?

A good answer will reiterate your qualifications, and will highlight what makes you unique.

Good answer:
I’ve been an Executive Assistant for the past ten years and my boss has said time and time again that without me, the organization would fall apart. I’ve also taken the time to educate myself on some of the software I regularly use (but didn’t really understand the ins and outs of). I’m an Excel wiz now, which means I can work faster, and take over some of what my boss would traditionally have had to do himself. What’s good enough for most people is never really good enough for me.

9. What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?

You don’t want to actually highlight a major regret and especially one that exposes an overall dissatisfaction with your life. Instead, focus on a smaller, but significant, mishap, and how it has made you a better professional.

Good answer:
When I was in college, I took an art class to supplement my curriculum. I didn’t take it very seriously, and assumed that, compared to my Engineering classes, it would be a walk in the park. My failing grades at midterm showed me otherwise. I’d even jeopardized my scholarship status. I knew I had to get my act together. I spent the rest of the semester making up for it, ended up getting a decent grade in the class. I learned that no matter what I’m doing, I should strive to do it to the best of my ability. Otherwise, it’s not worth doing at all.

10. How do you explain your gap in employment?

Employment gaps are always tough to explain. You don’t want to come across as lazy or unhireable. Find a way to make your extended unemployment seem like a choice you made, based on the right reasons.

Good answer:
My work is important to me, so I won’t be satisfied with any old job. Instead of rushing to accept the first thing that comes my way, I’m taking my time and being selective to make sure my next role is the right one.

Tomorrow, we’ll cover the final segment and part three of this article.

Are you thoroughly prepared for your interview? If you have your doubts, why not join I-CareerSearch. They work with you one-on-one, to ensure you are not only prepared to meet with prospective employers, but that you’ll outperform your competition. To get started, click here.

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