18 great answers to some of the toughest job interview questions
Some job interviewers ask tough questions to trip you up or to get you to reveal information you may be trying to conceal. Others want to get a better sense of your thought process or see how you respond under pressure.
Whatever the reason, you’ll want to be prepared.In her book “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions,” Vicky Oliver says in order to prevail, you need to “trounce your competition.”
“You could be competing against someone with three times your experience, or conversely, against someone who can do the job at half your salary level,” she says.
One of the best ways to stand out: have the smartest answers to the toughest questions.
1. Q: You have changed careers before. Why should I let you experiment on my nickel?
A: As a career-changer, I believe that I’m a better employee because I’ve gained a lot of diverse skills from moving around. These skills help me solve problems creatively.
2. Q: What if you work here for five years and don’t get promoted? Many of our employees don’t. Won’t you find it frustrating?
A: I consider myself ambitious, but I’m also practical. As long as I am continuing to learn and grow within my position, I’ll be a happy camper. Different companies promote people at different rates, and I’m pretty confident that working for you will keep me motivated and mentally stimulated for several years to come.
3. Q: If you knew that things at your company were rocky, why didn’t you get out of the company sooner?
A: I was working so hard to keep my job while everyone around me was being cut that I didn’t have any time left over to look for another job. With all of the mergers that have been happening in our field, layoffs are a way of life. At least I gave it my best shot!
4. Q: From your resume, it looks like you were fired twice. How did that make you feel?
A: After I recuperated from the shock both times, it made me feel stronger. It’s true that I was fired twice, but I managed to bounce back both times and land jobs that gave me more responsibility, paid me more money, and were at better firms.
The morale here is very high. I’ve been exposed to the “seamy underbelly” of this business, but I’m still passionate about working in it.
5. Q: You majored in philosophy. How did that prepare you for this career?
A: Philosophy didn’t prepare me for a career in architecture at all. But it did force me to become philosophical about my prospects. After two years of trying to figure out what to do with my life, I visited Chicago one weekend, and was absolutely spell bound by the gorgeous architecture all around me.
I came home, applied to architecture schools all over the country, and was accepted by one of the best. I’ve never looked back…this is definitely the career that I was meant to be in.
6. Q: What do you view as your risks and disadvantages with the position we are interviewing you for?
A: I think that with the home office located halfway across the globe, there is a very small risk that one might not have the chance to interact with the key decision makers as often as might be ideal. On the other hand, teleconferencing, email, faxing, and having a 24/7 work ethic will go a long way towards bridging the gap.