Challenging Interview Questions

There is no way of predicting what challenging interview questions you will be asked in an interview. However, preparation is always key, to help you to be ready for those challenging interview questions. In this Blog, Lighthouse Personnel are giving you the top 10 tough interview questions that are likely to come up in an interview, how to approach the question, and a sample answer.

Tell me about yourself?

Seems like a straightforward question, right? No one knows you better than yourself. This question is frequently asked at interviews and is one of the first questions an interviewer may ask to break the ice.

Think of it as an elevator pitch. It’s a short summary to tell the interviewer why they should invest their time in you. This should be customised for the job you have applied for. The interviewer will compare the summary with other candidates to work out who is best for the position. Use a few examples and ask the interviewer if they would like more details, then give more examples of your background and experience.

Sample:

“I am a creative Marketer with 5 years’ experience. I have managed many social platforms including the website and increasing the engagement of brands. I love managing teams which is why I am looking to progress my career and go into a management role as I have developed my skills towards this”

Top tips:

  • Keep it focused
  • Short
  • Relevant

Why are you leaving your current job?

This is the moment that the hiring manager understands you. It helps them ensure you are applying for this role for the right reasons and thinking of the long term. It’s very important that you are honest, but that you don’t talk too negatively about your previous boss or company, even if you found it wasn’t a great place to work. Answer the question honestly, but not so much that you are being over personal or negative.

Sample:

“I loved my time with my previous company, but there weren’t growth opportunities in place that would align with my goals. After reading the job description and researching your company, I believe it’s the perfect fit both with my skills and advancing my career”

Top tips:

  • Be careful to not bad mouth your previous company/boss
  • Show that you want to progress within a realistic time frame
  • Explain how you fit in with the job you have applied for

Are you a team player?

The obvious answer is yes, but this isn’t just how you answer the question. You need to provide examples to back up this answer. If you are struggling with thinking of examples think back to school, sporting activities and previous work experience. Approach this question by giving an example of how you made a positive impact on your team.

Sample:

“Yes, I am. As an example, in my previous role, I had the pleasure of taking on a project where we created a new page on the website. I communicated with all the members of the team what task they would take on which would add to the final project. I made sure the project was on track, was delivered on time and within the budget we set. “

Top tips:

  • Always use examples
  • Show how you can communicate with everyone
  • If you had any obstacles, explain how you got through them

What is your weakness?

The interviewer is looking to see if you are self-aware, how you can improve your weakness, and lastly if you are honest. Keep the weakness focused on an education or experience weakness, but something you are actively trying to improve. It’s also important that you answer promptly, rather than thinking about it, demonstrating that YOU ARE self-aware.

Sample:

“I’m a perfectionist- I look into every detail of my work because I want it to be at the best quality. I know it’s a weakness because I spend more time than necessary on tasks. However, to improve this I set myself deadlines and stick to them. If necessary, I would also run my work past a colleague or manager.”

Top tips:

  • A weakness = seeking to improve
  • Be honest
  • Don’t make it too personal

Why do you want to work here?

You will get asked this question not because the interviewer wants to know all your skills and personality traits, that’s all great. But what they really want to know is whether you have put in research into your decision to seek employment at their specific company. This question can set up the interviewer’s decision, so make sure you prepare a well thought out response!

Sample:

“I have been searching for the right role for a while now. But applying for this role at your company stood out for me because I believe the values fit in with mine- providing a tailored service for clients, innovation and forward-thinking. My passion is to help improve the customer experience and grow with your company so I make a mark here.”

Top tips:

  • Show how you can already see yourself being part of the company
  • Touch base with the company’s values
  • Explain how you’re the best fit

Where do you see yourself in five years?

What you want to do is show the interviewer that you have thought about this question, have set plans and goals which also align with the job and a career path that is possible at the company. The interviewer wants to know you’re an investment and applying for the role for the long-term

Sample:

“I want to work somewhere where I’ll have opportunities to develop my skills, take on interesting tasks and work with a great team of people that I can learn from. I know a lot of innovative thinkers work here and that’s another reason why I would like to be part of the team”

Top tips:

  • Don’t give a generic response
  • Show your plan is to stay with the company and progress
  • Give a prompt response to show you have passion and goals

What can you offer that other candidates cannot?

You don’t know the candidates going forward for the role, so the interviewer is not asking you to compare and evaluate skills. The interviewer wants to understand you, how you handle situations if you would make a good team player, and how well you can think on your feet.

Sample:

“I’m a creative individual, eager to be part of a strong team. I bring to the table my problem-solving skills that I have used to overcome obstacles when improving advertisement campaigns. I have in-depth knowledge of social media, and experience with email marketing. therefore, I know what I will face in this role and how to address any challenges.”

Top tips:

  • Take less than 60 seconds to answer
  • Talk about skills that qualify you
  • Be confident

By Laura Holland

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