Tricky Interview Questions

by | 18.11.19

During an interview you will be asked many questions, some will be easy to answer, others will be more difficult. Whilst we can’t give you a scripted answer to any tricky questions you may encounter, we can give you a guide. Remember though your response to questions will have an impact on whether you are offered a job or not.

Consider the questions we have listed for you as these are pretty common and are frequently asked in an interview.

What is your dream job?

When you are asked this question in an interview what the interviewer wants to know is if your career goals are in line with what they are able to provide. Whist saying “to win the X-Factor” may get you a few laughs it is better to talk about your ambitions and how this job will get you closer to them.

What other interviews are you attending?

Employers ask this question for a number of reasons, the best way to answer it is to say that you are exploring a number of similar roles as it is important for you that you join the right Company, you have the skills and experience for the roles you are applying for but joining an organisation where you can settle and formulate a long term career is just as important as the position.

Why are you leaving you current job?

This is a toughie, but one you will definitely be asked. Keep your answer positive – you have nothing to gain by being negative about past employers, bosses or colleagues. If you go down the road of criticising your previous workplaces you will come across as unprofessional. Instead say you have really enjoyed you time with your current employer but now feel you need move on in order to further your career. If you are being made redundant it is perfectly okay to tell a potential employer, after all it’s not your fault the Company is making cuts.

How would your current / last boss and work colleagues describe you?

First of all be honest, remember if you get this job the Company will be contacting your current employer. Then try to pull out strengths that you haven’t discussed already in the interview, such as good timekeeping, being reliable and the fact that you are happy to take on extra work if needed.

Why is there a gap in your employment?

If you have been unemployed for a period of time, be direct and to the point about what you’ve been up to, hopefully you have not just been sat at home doing nothing but have done voluntary work or have been on training courses to improve your skills. If you really haven’t done anything at all, pass the time off as a career break in order to establish your career goals then steer the conversation towards how you have the skills to do their job and how you could contribute to their organisation.

How do you deal with pressure?

Choose an answer that shows that you can meet a stressful situation head on in a productive, positive manner and let nothing stop you from accomplishing your goals. A good approach is to talk through how you deal with and manage pressure and deadlines, i.e.; take deep breaths and make a ‘to do list’, then share an example of a pressurised situation you have dealt with in the past.

What salary are you looking for?

The number one rule in answering this question is not to answer it. Reiterate your experience, skills and education, if the Company is professional they will be paying a competitive salary. If you feel you have to answer the question, quote the figure the job was advertised at, and say you are looking for a salary around that figure, or alternatively quote your current salary and say you ideally would like to improve on this.

What do you like to do outside work?

Interviewers ask personal questions in an interview to see if you will fit in with the Company and also to give you the opportunity to open up and show your personality. It is perfectly okay to open up and share details on what you enjoy doing. We would advise you not to say you like a few beers over the weekend, as they may think you’ll always be hungover on a Monday!

If you were an animal which one would you be?

Random personality – test type questions like these come up in interviews generally because the interviewer wants to see if you can think on your feet. There is no wrong answer here but you will gain bonus points if your answer helps you share your strengths or personality. For instance “I would be a lion as I like to lead and I am strong and fearless”, or alternatively “I would be a dog, I am loyal, reliable and can be depended on”.

Are you planning on having more children?

Questions about your family status, nationality, religion or age are illegal – but they still get asked. Of course, not always with ill intent – the interviewer might just be trying to make conversation. You should try to turn any question about your personal life, or anything else you think might be inappropriate, back to the job you have applied for. For instance if asked “are you planning on having more children?” answer “The most important thing at the moment is for me to obtain a new role in which I can settle and formulate a career”.

 Do you have any questions for us?

An interview isn’t just a chance for the interviewer to grill you, it’s also your opportunity to establish whether the job and the Company are the right fit for you. The questions you need to be asking should be more information about what it is like to work for the Company. Try targeting the interviewer and asking, “what’s your favourite part of working here?”

We hope this has been useful for you and helps you with your job interviews. No question should be tricky to answer but take our advice and turn all questions back to the role you have applied for, that way you will come across as focused, determined and really keen.

Happy Job Search!