Preparing Yourself For "Sticky" Interview Questions

We've all been there, you're in an interview and the hiring manager ask you a question--you knew he or she would ask, but you're not sure what a 'good' answer is. Our friends at HireVue compiled 6 questions most interviewers ask that can be scary with advice from Fast Company on how to answer them.

1. Why don’t you tell me about yourself?

Interviewers use this one to determine how an interviewee handles him or herself in an unstructured situation. Here's how to answer it: You have done your homework on the interviewer's organization, hopefully, so focus your answer on ways your qualifications and passions align with the interests of the business. Highlighting your most important accomplishments, beginning first with your most recent employment. This should lead into a short, poinant example that illustrates your best professional qualities, again, aligning with the business and it's goals for your new role.

2. What is your greatest weakness?

Fast Company recommends preparing an answer to this question well in advance:

"An impressive and confident response shows that the candidate has prepared for the question, has done serious self-reflection, and can admit responsibility and accept constructive criticism. Sincerely give an honest answer (but not a long one), be confident in the fact that this weakness does not make you any less of a great candidate, and show that you are working on this weakness and tell the recruiter how."

3. Discribe how you handled a situation with a boss (superior/leader) you disagreed with.

Ever since you were born, you've had to face challenging situations with superiors; teachers, parents, siblings, etc. so saying you've not faced a situation like this (athough it should be something more recent than the playground), may signal to the interviewer that you aren't seasoned enough to have encountered conflict in your professional life, haven't been given responsibility that created situations that require you to develop a tough skin or that your strategy is to avoid dealing with confrontation. Here's how to answer it: Center your short but clear response on a time when a superior had a differing opinion and how you presented your reasons, noting how you openly listened to each other coming to a collaborative or cooperative solution.

4. Describe a situation where you were part of a failed project.

Own up to your mistakes and any successful professional grows from failure. Here's how to answer it: Answering this question sheds light on your level of responsibility, your decision-making process, and whether you have developed the ability to recover from a mistake.Us a specific illustration to convey how you've grown through a failure by speaking to what the failure was, why it happened, your role, and what changes came as a result; both for you and the project team or organization. Conclude on a positive note about that growth, ensuring it benefited the company.

5. What do you do for fun or as an extracurricular hobby?

Especially for senior positions, it's important for hiring managers to know about the candidate’s qualities that will impact his or her leadership style: is the person well-adjusted and happy, or is he or she a company zealot? This question identifies personality and cutural alignment. Here's how to answer it: Discuss hobbies, passions, and/or activities that interest you, but avoid dwelling on any political or questionable activities.

6. Why did you leave your last position?

Uh oh! Do they know you quit or were terminated? Most likely, so be honest and straightforward, but don't dwell on any conflicts that may have occurred and definitely don't beat up past employers or superiors. Fast Company also suggest highlighting positive developments that resulted from your departure, be it that you accepted a more challenging position or learned an important lesson that helped you to be happier in your next job.

For the full article, make sure to visit HireVue's website for this and other great articles on interviews, interviewing (for our business partners), and more. Need help landing that interview? Contact the location nearest you or check out our available jobs and positions.

Posted by Jeff Bates at 10:53 AM
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