Answers to the Seven Toughest Interview Questions

There you sit, waiting to be ushered into your interview. Your suit is pressed, your shoes are shined and your resume is top notch. But, as the minutes tick past, you feel a mounting sense of doom as you anticipate the questions that will cause a deafening silence during the interview.

Want to avoid an interview disaster? Check out these tough interview questions and their suggested responses:

Q1: "What are your weaknesses?"

"Don't take this literally and go into a detailed explanation of your weaknesses," says John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. He advises taking a potential weakness and putting a positive spin on it.

A: "I am very detail oriented and in some industries that may not be a good fit. But for this accounting position, I think this trait truly will help me excel."

Q2: "How would you solve this problem?"

Challenger says that these kinds of hypothetical questions can be risky. First of all, they may not like your answer; if they do like it, there's a chance they will steal it. That's what happened to June Sullivan when she interviewed for an activity director's position at a long-term care facility. When asked about marketing ideas, June laid out her entire plan. Well, she didn't get the job, but later recognized some of her strategies being used by the facility.

A: "I think you can increase product awareness by enacting some marketing strategies that could employ advertising, direct mail or media placements."

Q3: "Why did you leave your last job?"

Again, Challenger suggests presenting everything in a positive light. An interview is not the time to dish the dirt on your previous employer.

A: "The company just wasn't a good fit for my innovative personality. But what I learned is that organizations have distinct personalities just like people do. Now I know to concentrate my job search on companies who value independent thinking and alternative methods."

Q4: "Why do you want to work here?"

Questions like these require you to do your homework before the interview.

A: "I want to be a part of a global company that last year alone invested $1.4 million in research and development of eco-friendly industrial processes."

Q5: "Tell me about yourself."

This is a chance for you to shine -- but not to tell your life history. Begin by listing your traits and accomplishments you feel are relevant for the position. Don't delve into personal information unless it relates to the position you're vying for.

A: "I am very creative and resourceful. I have been a sales manager for the past five years and used my creativity to devise unique incentives to keep the sales representatives motivated. Because of this my sales team earned numerous company awards.";

Q6: "Tell me about the worst boss you ever had."

Take the high road and don't give into the temptation to vent any past frustrations.

A: "While none of my past bosses were awful, there are some who taught me more than others did."

Q7: "What are your goals?"

This is best answered by reiterating your objective statement on your resume. Keep your aspirations to be a vice president of marketing, own your own company or retire at 40 to yourself.

A: "I want to secure a civil engineering position with a national firm that concentrates on retail development. Ideally, I would like to work for a young company, such as this one, so I can get in on the ground floor and take advantage of all the opportunities a growing firm has to offer."

Next: 10 Legit Jobs That Don't Require Much Experience >>

Copyright 2007

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Jeff Dansby

Great article, just wish it had a little more.

March 11 2012 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To share my own experiences, I have been interviewed by few companies and always got the job offers. So I experienced being asked those 7 questions except question no.6 "Tell me about the worst boss you ever had". Unfortunately, that Q6 was the main reason why I left my previous company. I had the worst boss I ever encountered in my life. And I am not the one who think like that. So for me, in a case in the future, any interviewers ask me that Q6, I will tell honestly, the truth about the worst boss that I ever encountered in my working life, who created problems for others and bring disadvantages for company interest.

September 20 2010 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"What are your weaknesses?"
I think the first answer is a big mistake. Every interviewer has gone through many people who disguise a strength and say it's a weakness. Be different by really telling one weakness.

"Why do you want to work here?"
If you're being asked this, means you didn't put it in your motivation letter. Read about what should be in this one.

February 23 2010 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey, they're just trying to be helpful. If you like it, great, if you don't, don't use it.

February 18 2010 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Visit our blog and tell us your job hunting experiences. Good or bad, share for others who are searching for jobs, too. While there, take our poll on jobs, the economic situation, and bailing out the Wall Street executives.

Click onto:

April 06 2009 at 10:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You forgot to mention that you have to invest to be an affiliate..

Why should I pay you to work for you?

This is the problem with today, people like you are too busy scamming and MLM scheming people. Who the hell wants to pay to work for someone?

March 17 2009 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Job searches and career pursuits are never easy. This can help:

March 05 2009 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karla Robinson

I thought that the sample of interview questions were very helpful. It is always a good thing to be prepared. It makes you more comfortable when the interview begins as you have given the questions some thought and are more relaxed.
I have found that some strange questions are being asked out there as well. They gear toward your creativity and how you might react in an unfamiliar territory. Sample: If you were a tree what kind of tree would you be and why? If you were an animal what type of animal would you be and why? I thought in the back of my mind that the people were out of their minds and the company must be into some strange roll playing activities that I was not aware of but went along. I now understand why they may ask the question or one just as odd, play along and try not to look at them too strange. There is no right or wrong answer, just want to see how creative you are.

February 26 2009 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the people who write these advice columns should have gotten a few more references for the job. The advice you give is unneccessary. That's the problem with the world today, everyone trying to be something they're not. "The only good advice is no advice." Let people decide for themselves on how to answer their own questions, and if they have to turn to you for advice, well then, they are probably about just as unqualified as you pompous a**holes.

February 22 2009 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Lauren's comment
Karla Robinson

Geez. Don't shoot the messenger. Someone trying to help others is not a bad thing. You must have been interested in what they had to offer or you would not have clicked to see what they had to say. Maybe taking a look at the questions and thinking about how you would respond will help you. They don't write the questions, these are being asked out there. It is to be used as an aid not a whipping post.

February 26 2009 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When I was asked to tell about myself early on in my career, I rambled on about myself from early childhood to present and not offering any expertise. Later, I saw, from an advisor in print, how to answer this question. I was very embarrassed after realizing why I didn't get the job early in the career.
Now I take my time answering questions from the interviewer and ask only the questions relevant to the job I am applying for. I look at all advisor's scribes just to make sure I am doing what is correct and taking their advice and tweaking it to make it my own.

September 20 2010 at 8:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No need for interview question answers when you work for yourself. Why not enjoy what you do! Meet great people doing the same thing. Travel cheap! Help others do the same and have a thriving business! Be determined that this year will be different than last year! Check it out!

February 19 2009 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web