After you wow potential employers with your resume, chances are you will be invited to come interview. Make sure your interview is a success by preparing to answer each and every question that comes your way. We’ve picked six tough questions that usually appear in interviews and how to handle each one.
Six Tough Interview Questions
1. Tell me about yourself.
This is usually the opening question in most interviews. This isn’t an invitation to spill your life story or divulge personal information. Respond with, “Sure. What would you like to know?” This clears up any confusion as to if they want to know professional or personal information. Use this as an opportunity to talk about your professional experience and accomplishments and how they relate to the current position you are interviewing for.
2. Why did you leave your last job?
Hiring managers will ask this question to see your motives and gain some understanding of how you handle work relationships. Basically, they are ensuring you are a person of integrity. Even if your last job was the worst one you’ve ever had, do not use this as an opportunity to badmouth your former employer. The hiring manager doesn’t want to hear your list of reasons for leaving either. This will come across like you are making excuses or passing the blame for your departure. Instead, speak about the skills and responsibilities that enabled you to be successful in that position. Make a list of things you accomplished at your last position and focus on those. Example: “After I successfully completed those responsibilities, I am ready for another challenge.” This says to the potential employer that they can count on you to get results and that you will stay there until you do.
3. Where do you see yourself in three to five years?
Here are some things NOT to say. “I don’t know.” “I plan on owning my own business.” “I plan on getting married and having 4 kids by then.” The interviewer wants to know what your long-term plans are and if staying at this job is one of them. You could say, “I’d like to continue to improve my skills as a _________ and continue to contribute to the success of the company I’m working for.”
4. Can you explain the gaps in your resume?
Honesty is the best policy here. Acknowledge the gaps in your resume and don’t be emotional when describing the situation. Stick to the facts and talk about any experience you may have gained during the time you weren’t working. Don’t dwell on the circumstances that caused the gap, but instead explain to the hiring manager what you can bring to the table now.
5. What are your salary requirements?
The goal here is to not price yourself out of the position, but make sure you will receive fair compensation. A good approach to handle this question is to state your current or most recent salary and state that while you would be open to a reasonable increase in pay, that you are more interested in the present opportunity with the company.
6. Do you have any questions for me?
This is another commonly asked question by interviewers. It is an extremely good idea to have some questions ready in case this pops up. If you don’t, it may appear that you are unprepared or haven’t done any research on the company. You should come with two to three questions. See examples below.
1. What is your vision for this role?
2. What is your background and how did you come to join this company?
3. In your opinion, what skills and experiences would someone need to be successful in this position?
4. Is there anything you’ve seen or heard today that would prevent you from recommending that I move forward in this process?
Interviewers and hiring managers all have their own style and may ask completely different questions. This compilation has tackled questions you may face in an interview and how you handle them. With the proper preparation, you should be able to answer questions knowledgably and confidently. Good luck!