15 Toughest Interview Questions and Answers (part 3)

23 Jan

11. When were you most satisfied in your job?

Don’t give vague answers. Instead, think about something you did well and enjoyed, that will be relevant at this new job. This is an opportunity for you to share your interests, prove that you’re a great fit for the job and showcase your enthusiasm.

Good answer:
I’m a people person. I was always happiest and most satisfied when I was interacting with customers, making sure I was able to meet their needs and giving them the best possible customer experience. It was my favorite part of the job, and it showed – I was rated as “Good or Excellent” 95% of the time. Part of the reason I’m interested in this job is that I know I’d have even more interaction with customers, on an even more critical level."

12. What did you like least about your last job?

Try and stay away from anything that draws on the politics, culture or financial health of your previous employer. No matter how true it might be, comments like these will be construed as too negative. Also, you don’t want to focus on a function that might be your responsibility in the next role. So think of something you disliked in your last job, but that you know for sure won’t be part of this new role.

Good answer:
“There was nothing about my last job that I hated, but I guess there were some things I liked less than others. My previous role involved traveling at least twice a month. While I do love to travel, twice a month was a little exhausting and I didn’t like spending quite so much time out of the office. I’m happy to see that this role involves a lot less travel.”

13. Describe a time when you did not get along with a co-worker.

Interviewers don’t like these types of easy out answers. And besides, they know you are probably not telling the truth. Think of a relatively benign (but significant) instance, and spin it to be a positive learning experience.

Good answer:
“I used to lock heads with a fellow nurse in the NICU ward. We disagreed over a lot of things from the care of patients to who got what shifts, to how to speak with a child’s family. Our personalities just didn’t mesh. After three months of arguing, I pulled her aside and asked her to lunch. At lunch, we talked about our differences and why we weren’t getting along. It turns out, it was all about communication. We communicated differently and once we knew that, we began to work well together. I really believe that talking a problem through with someone can help solve any issue.”

14. What motivates you?

It is not that this answer is wrong; it is just that it wastes an opportunity. This question is practically begging you to highlight your positive attributes. So don’t give a vague, generic response – it tells them very little about you. Instead, try and use this question as an opportunity to give the interviewer some insight into your character, and use examples where possible.

Good answer:
“I’ve always been motivated by the challenge of meeting a tough deadline in my last role, I was responsible for a 100% success rate in terms of delivering our products on time and within budget. I know that this job is very fast-paced, and deadline-driven. I’m more than up for the challenge. In fact, I thrive on it.”

15. How would your friends describe you?

While being a good listener is a great personality trait, your employer probably doesn’t care all that much. It’s unlikely that they’re hiring you to be a shoulder to cry on. You’ll want to keep your answer relevant to the job you’re interviewing for and as specific as possible. If you can, insert an example.

Good answer:
“My friends would probably say that I’m extremely persistent and I’ve never been afraid to keep going back until I get what I want. When I worked as a program developer, recruiting keynote speakers for a major tech conference, I got one rejection after another – this was just the nature of the job. But I really wanted the big players so I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I kept going back to them every time there was a new company on board, or some new value proposition. Eventually, many of them actually said "yes" and the program turned out to be so great that we doubled our attendees from the year before. A lot of people might have given up after the first rejection, but it’s just not in my nature. If I know something is possible, I have to keep trying until I get it.”

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