Interviewing for a new job can be nerve-wracking. You want to make the best possible impression and stand out from other applicants. This means being ready to answer difficult questions that test your skills, experience, motivation, culture fit and more.With the right preparation, you can develop winning responses to even the toughest interview questions.
Read on for examples of seven hard questions interviewers love to ask, along with suggestions for impressive answers.
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Why Do You Want This Job?
Great response: After learning about [company’s] history and mission, I’m inspired by the meaningful work being done here. Specifically, I’m attracted to this opportunity because [be specific about how your skills and interests align with the job description]. I love analyzing data to uncover trends, and I know I could help take [important business metric] to the next level. Plus working closely with [relevant departments/teams] appeals to my collaborative spirit. I can see myself thriving here long-term and contributing to [company’s] vision in major ways.
This answer demonstrates your passion and fit for the position and company culture. Bonus if you can speak to how your background makes you a strong match to tackle their current business needs.
What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
The goal here is to acknowledge an area for improvement while emphasizing strengths and development. The interviewer wants to know you can objectively assess yourself.
Smart response: I tend to get impatient with processes that seem inefficient. However, I’ve learned patience is key when suggesting changes that impact other people’s workflows. Over the years, I’ve gotten much better at asking questions, listening and identifying colleagues’ needs before making recommendations. And I now understand the best ideas can take time to get right. My analytical skills help me continuously reexamine processes to find opportunities for improvement. But I now balance that with gathering buy-in from teammates.This answer shows self-awareness, emotional intelligence and a commitment to growth – all extremely attractive qualities!
Why Were You Fired From Your Last Job?
If you were let go or laid off, be honest while keeping things positive. Focus on lessons learned and your excitement to take that knowledge to a new employer.
Strong response: When COVID hit, the entire company had to scale down quickly even though demand was higher than ever. Unfortunately my department experienced several layoffs, and I was included. It was disappointing, but I understood it was a smart financial decision given the sudden uncertainty. The experience taught me a lot about adaptability in times of crisis. And I was proud to receive great references from my former manager and teammates for my contributions. I’m now looking for a stable company where I can use my skills to drive results and innovation without fear of downsizing when challenges arise.
This candidate took responsibility for the layoff rather than blaming the company.
They expressed respect for their former employer’s choices. And they reframed the learning experience to emphasize their value. The interviewer feels reassured this applicant will bring maturity and resilience to the role.
How Do You Handle Pressure?
The goal is to show you can keep calm and deliver under stress. Good responses emphasize preparation, prioritization and using resources.
Impressive answer: When things get hectic, I stay focused on the end goal and take it one step at a time. I prioritize what must get done now versus what can wait. If multiple urgent issues arise, I step back to strategically assess and tackle the highest priorities first. I’m a big believer in relying on team members for support during crunch times too. I’ll communicate challenges early and delegate tasks if needed. Throughout pressure-filled situations, I remind myself that stress often leads to breakthrough innovation. This motivates our team to push through obstacles.
This candidate shows they are proactive, pragmatic and partnership-focused during tough times – all traits of a leader who stays cool under pressure.
What Is Your Salary Expectation?
Do your market value research before the interview so you can give a reasonable range based on the position, your experience and skills as well as average pay at the company or for similar roles at competitors.
Well-informed response: Based on my background in [field] and the details I’ve learned about this [title] position, I’m targeting a salary in the range of $[XX,XXX] to $[XX,XXX] annually. I know [company] prides itself on paying competitively. So I look forward to discussing how my contributions can provide strong ROI along with benefits like healthcare, retirement savings and paid time off.
This candidate clearly communicated their value proposition while demonstrating flexibility. They smartly kept the focus on the value they will bring the employer.
Why Should We Hire You?
Summarize your top selling points aligned with the company’s needs to show why you are uniquely qualified. Focus on what sets you apart from other applicants.
Convincing answer: With over [X] years in [your field], I offer deep expertise in [relevant key tasks and tools]. I spearheaded [key achievements like major projects, campaigns, innovation or improvements] that delivered [measurable ROI, savings or growth] for my employers. Beyond my track record of success driving [metrics], I’m known for mentoring junior staff and building strong relationships across the organization to drive shared goals. And I stand out for my boundless creativity; colleagues often compliment my ability to approach challenges in new ways. I’m passionate about innovation within [relevant areas]. And I’ll work tirelessly to help [company] reach the next level by [goals from job description]. I can’t imagine a better fit for my abilities.
This response hits all the high notes: niche job skills, measurable wins, cross-functional rapport, creative edge and enthusiasm for the role specifics. Any company would be convinced to bring this impressive candidate on board!
Preparing winning responses to difficult questions takes time and effort. But it pays off by showcasing your fit while making a memorable impression.
You’ll prove beyond any doubt the interviewer made the right choice in considering you. And you’ll feel empowered walking out knowing your answers nailed it. That confidence can make all the difference in your interview performance and results. Use these examples to get started crafting your own great answers.
Customize them to reflect your background, talents and passions. Highlight why you’re the only applicant able to uniquely meet the company’s top needs. And you’ll ace the hardest questions with flying colors!