Favorite Tricky Interview Questions Answered
By Peter Fisher, Career Coach
Two of the many interview questions that crop up regularly have been going around in my head just recently. These are the ones that could be just like walking into a man-trap if you are not really careful. They sound almost innocuous and really quite so straightforward that you might just jump straight in with your answer. However if you do, you might not spot the concealed trap until it's too late.
It is true that most interviewers are too busy to play games with you, but every now and then, up pops one of these questions and delivers the knock-out blow.
What are these questions and why do I call them my favorite interview questions?
Well most of the regular interview questions - most interviewers ask about twenty questions - demand some thought and a straight answer based on your skill or experience whereas these two seem to come in from left field and are more devious. Instead of a straight answer what they want is an opinion which is always more difficult to judge and therefore much easier to get it wrong.
So let's take a look at how you can deal with these two favourite interview questions:
1. "If I asked your boss to describe you, what would he say?"
2. "If we don't offer you the job after this interview, why do you think that would be?"
You would think that the answer to #1 would be a glowing report based on your key strengths and wonderful personality. Not necessarily so; the boss's style may be at odds with the style of this new organization so you need to be more careful.
Your response should be based around your ability to understand and support your boss and previous bosses. By showing this understanding, you indicate your capability to adapt to different styles and will therefore be seen as one who will fit in better. The employee who adapts to and predicts the needs of his or her boss is a greater asset than one who is immensely knowledgeable but less forthcoming. As always, compatibility is more important than simple competence.
Question #2 is an invitation to take yourself out of the running by telling the interviewer why you are not up to being offered the job! The trap is that you do just that by telling them why you are not good enough to be hired.
However, you should respond to this question like this:
"I am confident that my skills and experience make me a strong candidate for this job. If you didn't offer it to me I think that would be because I haven't explained some area of my experience to you fully enough."
That in itself is the basis of how to answer this question but you must not leave it there. You must go on by adding:
"Which area of my experience has left you with any concern?" This way you tease out any lingering doubts or objections to hiring you.
These are my favorite tricky interview questions because once you know how to answer them, you can really raise your game.
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