How to Answer These Tricky Interview Questions
There’s a reason we sweat the interview process so much—we’re afraid of questions we don’t know how to answer. It might not seem like interviewers want to trip candidates up, but in fact, they do. They live for it. When you interview hundreds of candidates you have to do something to make it interesting, right?
Jokes aside, interviewers do want to see how you’ll perform in a pinch. They don’t ask you tricky questions to deliberately frustrate you, but rather, see how well you can adapt to unexpected situations and think on the fly.
To avoid stumbling over yourself in that crucial moment, keep these questions in mind.
1. What’s your biggest weakness?
You knew this one was coming. It’s a classic interview question that interviewers love to ask because it provides a lot of information about the mindset of the candidate.
Be modest and honest with this one. Don’t claim that you have none (you do) and don’t skirt the issue by claiming you can’t think of any at the moment (you can).
The best way to respond is to provide a real answer and then add a silver lining that softens the blow. Illustrate what steps you’ve taken to get better and make it clear that you’re addressing the problem.
Your takeaway: The weakness you choose won’t be held against you, but the way you answer might be.
2. Describe a time you failed.
This one ties back into your weaknesses. Can you think of a time you failed outright? What happened? And what did you do to remedy the issue? Similar to question one, this one’s all about how you answer rather than the way you failed. Think of a good example ahead of time so you aren’t caught off guard. Articulate the situation, your role, and what you learned from it.
Your takeaway: Yes, you failed. But you won’t fail the same way twice.
3. Tell me about a conflict you faced and how you handled it.
This question is all about assessing your conflict resolution strategies with your coworkers. After all, recruiters need to make sure you’ll fit into the established culture, and how you interact with others is a big part of that. Think of a good example and try to demonstrate that you worked with others to find a solution. DON’T disparage anyone in your story and DON’T say that you let management handle it.
Your takeaway: The best employees own up to their responsibilities and work with others to find solutions—and the way you solve conflicts is more telling than the conflict itself.
4. Tell me about a difficult client interaction and how you dealt with it.
This is the flip side of question three: You have a conflict, but this time, it’s with a customer. A fervent obsession with customer service is the hallmark of many B2C companies, so expect this one at some point.
Obviously, you can’t disparage the customer, so be careful with how you word your response. The answer they’re looking for involves how you went the extra mile to address the customer’s complaint. If possible, do research on the company’s customer service policies ahead of time and work those strategies into your response.
Your takeaway: How you deal with customers is even more important than how you interact with coworkers. Show deference to customers—even if they were wrong.
5. Have you ever had to make a difficult decision that you knew was the right solution?
This is a tough one. You’ll want to come up with an answer that indicates you’re able to make difficult decisions and justify them with data or analysis. Again, don’t disparage anyone, and don’t brag that you knew the right course all along. Be humble and up front about your process.
Your takeaway: Confidence is key. You don’t have all the answers, but as long as you can justify your decisions, you stick to your guns and do what you think is right.
Don’t Let Interviewers Trip You Up
You’ll notice a trend with the above questions—they’re less about giving candidates a chance to brag and more about assessing how they perform in tough situations. These types of questions give interviewers a lot of information about a candidate that can’t be found on any resume. Come prepared with solid answers to blow your competition away.
Need more information about acing that interview? Contact Urgenci and we’ll give you a hand!