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How to answer the toughest interview questions

In the next few blogs, we will show you how to respond to some of the toughest interview questions that stump many job seekers. Keep in mind that while you can prepare for specific questions during an interview, you can’t predict everything they are going to ask. But thinking about some of these more difficult questions will help you manage those awkward moments during an interview. Here are three of them to get you started:

What aspects of your previous jobs have you disliked?
This is similar to the “tell us about your weaknesses” question. You can’t say you have none, and you can’t say something fake like “I work too hard.” You need to be honest here, but there are guidelines to follow. Prepare your answer so it comes across in a positive, productive way and not as bashing your former employer. Choose things that are about the job itself, so you’re focusing on things that don’t come across as talking badly about people, which isn’t necessary or helpful. Things like the lack of structure, process or clear direction for your department is one example. And, when you respond, give them what you want to have instead and preferably, as part of the reason you are interested in their position.

Tell me about yourself?
Start by providing a quick summary of your experience and professional history. “My background and degree is in X. My expertise and passion lies in XXX. At XX company I handled XX projects, at my current position I manage XXX.”Give them the highlights of your professional history and let them know why you’re excited to be interviewing with them and how it relates to your career goals and passion.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
You need to have an answer for this and it needs to be professional not personal. The catch is, if you don’t see yourself at their organization in 5 years what do you say? First, if that’s the case you need to consider if applying for this job is the right thing to do in the first place, is it the right fit? And if the answer is still yes you want to apply, but you want to move on to another organization in 5 years, focus your goal instead on the role-in general-that you want to be in within 5 years. You don’t have to say I will be here for the next 10 years, instead focus on your career goals, the type of role you want to be in, and what you want to have accomplished along the way.

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

P.S. Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Consulting Program where you can learn how to effectively leverage your LinkedIn account for your job search and ongoing professional development.