What’s the hardest question you’ve ever been asked in a job interview and how did you answer it?
Tamara: Mine was actually “Tell me about yourself.” Okay, so that’s not a question; it’s an imperative statement. Anyway, it just seemed so vague. I told them about my education, which was the only thing I had accomplished at that point in time that was relevant to the job. I think that’s the key; to focus on what is most relevant and try not to be caught off-guard. I’m guessing I did alright since I got the job.
Steve: Stupid and strange "puzzle" questions. They're supposed to show how you think, but part of me just can't get over how they seem like gimmicks.
Ellen: I'm usually one of those jerks who always comes up with an answer for anything, and on top of that I haven't had many official interviews for my jobs. But one thing I know I'm super bad at that often comes up in interviews, is discussing what I'm good at. I have the hardest time discerning whether I sound cocky when I discuss my abilities, and am always worried that instead of impressing them, I'm blowing hot hair in their faces. I know that unless I tell them what I can do, they'll never know, but finding a balance between being matter-of-fact and being smug is a process I always complicate and fill with worry. It just came to me that I should practice/find sentences ahead of time that I'm comfortable with, and that have been approved by friends, that also won't short-change me to a prospective employer.
Bonnie: Other than the dreaded "What are your weaknesses," I think the toughest was when the person interviewing me for a management position set up a hypothetical worst case scenario and wanted the answer right away. There was no time to think it through, so I just answered as logically as possible - basically, "handle everything with diplomacy." It must have been what they wanted to hear, because they offered me the job!
Lauren: I applied for a lot of jobs in 2010, many of which I wasn't even interested in, because I knew getting a job would be rough. Probably the worst question I was for an interview to be a social media manager at a banking company, "What do you like most about banking?"
"Why do you want this job?"
The obvious answer, "Because I need the money," sounds far to mercenary to me, even if it is the most honest. I try to emphasize the learning experience, using what I know in a new manner.
"What's your worst quality?"
Again, the obvious is, "Answering these questions." Far too many exams in high school and university and too many Public Service entrance exams have me looking for the "right" answer. I tend to wing this one with a non-answer. But this question can die in a fire for all I care. It's tough enough trying to project a persona that isn't introverted me long enough to make a decent first impression without having to start denigrating myself. The question is looking for someone who fits into the corporate culture and doesn't really work with social chameleons.