Ever felt the uncomfortable silence of stalling for time when faced with a difficult question? If you are feeling nervous during an interview, it can be impossible to think of answers on the spot, particularly when asked a tough question. You are there to introduce yourself and show off your skills, after all, and the wrong answer could affect your chances. It is always best to be prepared, have your answers ready and stay relaxed during the interview. Here is 5 of the most common difficult questions asked at interview and how to answer them.

  • “Tell me about yourself.”

This isn’t a time for hobbies, how long you spend playing video games or health issues. This question gives you the chance to provide a brief overview of your background and experience that relates to the role you have applied for and show the interviewer they have chosen well. Keep it 1 to 2 minutes long. Talk about your accomplishments and how you feel they will give you a boost in this particular position. Showcase your personality – they want to know what you are like.

  • “What is your biggest weakness?”

Avoid saying anything that could eliminate you from consideration. Stay away from the critical qualities for the role – make sure you know the job description and requirements. Try to turn the negative into a positive: ‘I struggle with navigating Microsoft PowerPoint, therefore I am making one presentation a week in my free time and completing an online course to develop my skills.’

  • “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

This is a disguised question: “Can I expect you to stay with this company long-term?” Whatever you choose to mention, make sure the position aligns with your goals. Make it clear that you want to be part of the team that is helping the company succeed. You can talk about personal development – completing training and courses that will help you with your job whilst giving you extra qualifications. If you feel the conversation allows, you can then ask, “Where do you see the company in 5 years?”

  • “Why are you interested in this role?”

Here is your chance to show them what you know about the job and company – prove you have done your research. Talk about their products, services, mission and culture. Add in why you are a good fit for that particular company and which aspects appeal to you the most.

  • “Tell me about a time when you resolved conflict.”

When asking this, the interviewer basically wants to know how you made a difficult decision. Prepare an example for this, as you will have to share a short story on the situation. Absolutely avoid talking negatively about other people – describe the situation plainly in an unbiased way. Focus on showing how you can perform successfully in challenging circumstances.

All questions can seem tough in the interview environment – being nervous stops us from thinking clearly. Practice answering these questions with confidence and be as prepared as possible. You can use these tips in any interview.

Best of luck!

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