Answering tough interview questions is no cakewalk. It’s war.
It's hard enough to try to look good in your interview suit without getting a run in your pantyhose. Now you have to appear calm, cool and collected as your potential boss throws a multitude of crafty questions to test your ability to think under pressure.
Have no fear. I’m here to help you win the job interview battle.
Use these 5 amazing answers to the all time toughest interview questions and Sun-Tzu yourself to job interview victory.
Tough Interview Question #1) Tell me about yourself?
Every interview starts out with this tough question. Your 60-second answer should be a borderline brag statement filled with enthusiasm and tailored for the position you’re interviewing for.
Short and sweet, your response should be powerful, memorable and give the interviewer some insight into your personality and skill set. Most importantly your answer should include numbers: years of experience, percentage of sales and number of supervised employees if applicable.
How to answer the ” Tell Me About Yourself” tough interview question
If you are a Retail Sales Manager, here’s how you might answer this interview question.
- “I am a results-oriented sales manager with 10 years of progressive retail experience. My sales and management contributions to luxury boutiques and high end department stores have resulted in a 35% increase in sales for the past 3 years and a measurable boost in employee retention and morale in my department.
- I believe that my strong organization and leadership abilities coupled with my talent to mentor and train sales professionals will serve your organization’s mission and goals. I’d like to discuss how my exemplary customer service techniques and proven ability to shorten the sales cycle could be a valuable contribution to your organization.”
This 60 second speech can also double as the opening paragraphs for your cover letter or résumé’s summary of qualifications. Use this answer and rework it as if it were your own.
Tough Interview Question 2) What is your greatest strength or weakness?
The strength question is easy to answer. Look over the job description and talk about a skill that is necessary to complete any task advertised. Match your strength answer with one of your tangible skills and voila you’ve given the perfect answer the hiring manager wants to hear.
The weakness interview question is tough. But it’s easy to conquer if you are well prepared.
This classic tough interview question is used to test your ability to turn negatives into positives and also measures your diplomacy skills.
Never mention a negative flaw of any kind, without including a statement that balances your weakness with a positive characteristic.
How to answer the ” Strength or Weakness” tough interview question
If you are a Type A workaholic that has no tolerance for imperfection, how do you turn that statement into a positive one? Instead of saying that you don’t work well with lazy people whose desks are cluttered, use a response that is more palatable to the interviewer.
Tell the interviewer that you like to work long hours and will not stop until the daily tasks are completed and close to perfection. You brainstorm best…alone in your office or cube, but enjoy collaborating with people that are committed to excellence.
Tough Interview Question 3) Why should I hire you?
Tailor your response to the job description and the expectations of the hiring manager. Discuss the specific skills and expertise that are suited for this position, not your previous employers’ expectations. This is another opportunity for you to use expound upon your 60 second brag statement and sell yourself.
How to answer the “Why Should I Hire You” tough interview question
Talk about ways that you will save the company money or make the company money in this position. This approach shows the interviewer that you’re interested in results, performance and action, not just talk. If you are interested in the position and feel you will work well with this manager, this is a great time to tell the interviewer you want this job.
Tough Interview Question #4) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This tough interview questions test your ability to plan ahead and your internal motivation. If you have no vision for yourself how can the interviewer expect you to grow within the position?
How to answer the “Where Do You See Yourself” tough interview question
Talk about your long-term career goals. But only if your 5 year plan relates to the position you are interviewing for. If you secretly want to own your own make-up line, but are interviewing for a position as a copyright attorney, don’t disclose your Estee Lauder dreams to the hiring manager. You will appear unfocused and self-serving.
If you want to talk entrepreneurial lawyer language, discuss how you’d like to bring in more accounts to grow the firms’ business. Present a five year plan that marries your desire to be an entrepreneur with the long-term vision of the company.
Tough Interview Question # 5) What are your salary requirements?
This is my favorite tough interview question. Here’s how you should answer it.
Respond to this question with another question.
When the interviewer asks, “What are your salary requirements?” You respond with confidence, “What salary range are you working with? I will be open to any reasonable offer commensurate with my experience.”
Then pause. Don’t move, fidget or respond.
How to answer the “How Much Money Do You Want” tough interview question
If the interviewer takes 30 seconds to respond; let them. The first law of salary negotiation states: Whoever answers first loses. If the interviewer asks you the same question, rephrase your response, but don’t give the dollar amount, EVER.
If you ask for $75,000 and the interviewer was willing to give your $87,500, you lose. The interviewer wins.
Use these tips above to conquer any of your fears. With these answers you can reply to the classic smattering of tough interview questions and enter any serious career negotiation with confidence.