Interview questions that appear to be tricky or challenging are often easy to answer if you have thought about them. Preparation is the key to doing well in all interviews and this certainly applies to those tricky questions.
Here are 5 questions that may appear to be tricky. But they can all be answered well with a little thought and preparation.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would that be? (Similar to: What do you see as your area of weakness?)
We all have something we wish we could do better. Some typical examples are:
- public speaking
- facing a difficult customer/client
- working with a difficult colleague
- coping with rapid change
- working under stressful time limits and deadlines
Choose something you would genuinely like to improve. This could be something you have already started to work on. Always go on to say how you are approaching this challenge positively. Mention actual steps you are taking to improve in this area. This shows your honesty and determination to improve areas you are not overly strong in. This is a great question. Put some thought and preparation into this as it is a common question in interviews.
What attracts you to this career area/course?
You should be able to speak passionately about this. You should not it difficult to answer and should be able to say a lot more than… ‘I think it would be very rewarding…’ Are you fascinated with a particular aspect of this career/course? Does this career offer you a chance to travel, to help others or to make a difference to society? Is this career constantly changing and you are attracted to challenges like this? Make a list of all of the elements that make you interested in this career or course. If you cannot speak passionately about this answer, perhaps you need to look for another career or course which really excites you.
What do you see as the down side to this position/career area/course?
Interviewers are expecting you to have a realistic view of the career, not a stereotypical one. There are highs and lows in every career. Think carefully about this. Speak to people actually working in this area, do some investigation and be able to demonstrate that you know what you are getting yourself into. YouTube has some great clips showing people discussing the highs and lows of every career. Watch some.
How do you feel you will handle these down points?
Be positive and confident. Give examples of how you have already handled similar challenges in your life. Stress that you are determined and hard working and will do everything possible to overcome hurdles or difficulties.
Think about a problem or challenge you have faced recently. Can you describe how you went about overcoming this challenge?
This is a popular question so think carefully about what you would say. Employers and course selection staff like to see applicants who are determined and resilient. Determination and resilience protect applicants from crumbling when things get tough. Choose an example where you can demonstrate that you approach challenges in a positive and organized manner. Who did you ask for advice? Where did you find information to help you decide what to do? What steps did you take? If the first steps didn’t work, what did you do then? Always ensure that you are not breaking confidentiality by using a particular example. Simply change the names of organizations or people mentioned in your answer.
Tricky questions are opportunities to show your experience, strengths and skills. If a question is asked that really throws you, don’t hesitate to say that you see this as a very tough question. Be creative but honest… ‘That’s a very tough question to answer. I don’t know how I would react/respond/handle a situation like that. But I do know one thing. I would never give up or respond impulsively. I would do everything possible to buy some time and get advice from people more qualified and more experienced. I would do my very best to find the best possible solutions and answers…’ An honest and thoughtful answer like this will impress interviewers because you have demonstrated problem-solving skills, integrity and the determination to do your very best. This is far better than trying to make up and answer you think the interviewer may want to hear.