Flawlessly Finesse Your Way Through 4 Tricky Interview Questions

20 Nov 2015

Job interviews can be nerve-racking for even the most seasoned professionals. Here’s a guide to help you glide through answering 4 of the most common and awkward interview questions with ease and poise.   

1. “Tell me a bit about yourself.”

You need to convey your strengths and how they translate into making you an asset to their business without rambling. Keep it down to a 1 to 2 minute answer covering your career achievements to date, prior roles which relate to the position being hired for and make the interviewer aware of any transferable skills.

If you’ve never held a similar position then clarify why you are interested in the job.

Sincerity in your tone of voice is imperative to pulling off this answer convincingly.

2. “Describe a time when you failed.”

You need to turn your failure into a success.

Pause and consider the question for a moment before saying that you are prone to mistakes now and then just as anyone else, but you have no regrets.

Follow this up by elaborating: on those occasions where you’ve made a mistake with a fellow employee, you’ve gone back to the co-worker, admitted your mistake, apologised and started afresh. You need to convey the impression you are a person who can admit failure, clears the air, keeps communication open and continues trying.

3. “What is your major weakness (not a strength disguised as a weakness)?”

This gotcha question is finicky. Be honest, recognise the weakness needing most improvement and make the interviewer aware you do intend to address it.

“Sometimes I can be highly demanding of staff, but I’m learning to rely on others more, recognising every person has their own unique talents,” is one example of a well-handled reply.

4. “Why are you looking to gain an entry-level position at this point in your working life?”

This is all about proving to the interviewer your broad life and work experience adds value to their business.

Mention your transferable skills and most importantly discuss how your previous career experience has prepared you well for embarking on this next stage of your life. Let them know you would bring a wealth of unique experience and knowledge coupled with fresh eyes and a new perspective to the table.

Most importantly ease their fears concerning salary. Explain that the pay-cut is worth the foot in the door and all your past experiences have made it clear this is where you want to be. You are prepared to jump into the position with enthusiasm and reliability.  

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