Handling Tough Job Interview Questions – Part I

Most of us are comfortable answering the interview questions we have gone over with family and friends. We are familiar with the most common interview questions but what about answering the tough interview questions. How do we handle those? Do we break out in a massive sweat attack, clam up, stutter, or give an unimpressive, embarrassing answer like, “I’m not sure about that” or repeat something we already mentioned in the interview, which makes us look unprepared. Here are a few ways to answer those tough job interview questions and avoid those awkward moments.

When a prospective employer asks you about the time when you were disappointed with your performance on a specific project; be honest most of us have had disappointing performances. Give a brief explanation if you have ever had this experience. Employers are looking for honesty. Describe specific hurdles that lead to your poor performance and what you learned from the experience to prevent future poor performances, one thing you can do is focus on early jobs you held. I have never had this one happen to me, but if the prospective employer ask you what you would say if they mention they thought you were giving a poor interview, don’t choke, its part of the interview strategy it’s not personal. Employers like to ask these types of questions to see how you handle criticism or stressful conditions.

If you are applying for a position that involved dealing with difficult customers, the prospective employer likes to see if you can handle criticism without falling apart. They may also ask you how you handled a difficult customer, again give specific information and how you used your skills and professional and personal attributes to overcome the difficult situation. Be sure to mention any positive response or accolades that the customer may have given you after the situation was over. When the employer asks you to discuss a time when you failed to resolve a conflict the objective is to discuss a conflict that wasn’t yours to solve in the first place. You can mention how you would have handled the conflict to get it resolved.

When asked how you handled a difficult situation in your personal or professional life, the prospective employer wants to see how you overcome difficult situations. How much you can deal with and how well you overcome difficult situations. The employer may also ask what areas of your work are most criticized or could be improved. This tough question is intended on finding out any of your weaknesses. Again, try to give an example of work done earlier in your career. Discuss what you did to overcome the weakness and any new goals or aspirations that came from it.

When asked about the time you made a mistake, be honest, we all make mistakes. Be sure to focus on the positive results and what you did to successfully overcome the mistake. If asked have you ever been passed up for a promotion, the employer wants to know how you handle adversity and your level of self-confidence. The employer also wants to find out if your goals and expectations fit within the company or if they are practical for the position you will be working.

If asked the tough question what you would like to change about yourself, the prospective employer wants to see if you fit into the company structure, will work well with the new boss and co-workers. Focus on minor changes, nothing that stands out. You may also want to mention a weakness that you overcame.

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