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How to Answer Difficult Interview Questions

While no two interviews are alike, interviewers are likely to ask the same group of questions to get to know you, your personality and your experience. The purpose of the interview is to not only look at your skills, but also to enable the interviewer to see if you’ll be a good fit for the company. The key to a successful interview is to study frequently asked questions and practice good answers.

Self Evaluation

A big part of the interview weighs on how well you know yourself. Interviewers will ask about your strengths, weaknesses, how you handle stress and what you desire from your dream job. Tailor your answers specifically for the job you’re interviewing for, focusing on strengths that would benefit the company. For a weakness or failure, use an example that doesn’t relate to the job, and explain how you corrected the problem.

Behavioral Questions

Since past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior, interviewers will ask questions about your previous jobs and how you handled difficult situations. They may ask what a supervisor would say about you or how you handled an unhappy customer.

Interviewers also want to know about previous successes, such as how you led a project to completion. Use anecdotes that highlight your strengths related to the position. Instead of focusing on your failures, explain what you learned from the situation.

Your Work Experience

Interviewers will ask if you liked your previous jobs, often looking at your resume while asking specific questions. They may ask if you prefer to work independently or as part of a team. The best answer is neutral, explaining that you perform both successfully and use examples. They may ask what you enjoyed most in your last job or why you are leaving. It is important to never bad-mouth a previous employer.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice often and develop examples illustrating your answers. Write out and rehearse your answers as often as possible leading up the interview. You want to be familiar with the common questions so you can produce confident and well-worded answers. It is extremely helpful to practice a mock interview with a friend or colleague. She can provide instant feedback and can help you to create better answers. The more you practice, the more relaxed you will be.

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