Tackling 9 Tough Interview Questions

Heading into an interview can be nerve-racking enough. You’ve done your research, dressed the part, and know what you can offer to this position. All that’s left is tackling those tough interview questions.  One of our Division Directors, Geoff Coltman, shares what hiring managers want to hear:

Tackling tough interview questions

1. Describe a time when a decision you made was a failure in the workplace. What was the outcome?

I would want to hear about a time when you took a chance. When you stepped outside of your comfort zone.The answer that hiring managers are looking for is what you ultimately learned from the failure.

2. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a coworker who wasn’t doing his or her fair share of the work.

Go out of your way to show how you reached out and tried to help or coach your co-worker. The hiring manager will want you to showcase your ability to be a leader and work with others.

3. Tell me a time when you didn’t work well with your supervisor.

I think a big part of that is a lack of communication. I would want to hear you describe how you went out of your way to increase communication or make an effort to get on the same page with their manager. Walk me through the steps you took to try and find out why you were not getting along.

4. What did you do during your six-month gap of your unemployment?

Show that you were actively interviewing and applying for positions or even speak about classes you were taking. Basically, show that you were taking initiative and trying to develop yourself to become more attractive to hiring managers.

5. What excites you most about the position? What do you think would be a stretch for you?

Highlight your strengths and how it coincides with what you will be doing in the new role. The stretch part is where you will be challenged. Let’s say the position you are interviewing for is a step up in responsibility from your last role. Think about something you have never handled before on your own that this role entails. You might have dealt with a piece of the process but not the entire process. Articulate that you have never fully handled it alone but you are confident that you can do it and look forward to taking it on.

6. Why should I hire you?

Your opportunity as a candidate to sell yourself. What do you bring to the table that sets you apart? Loyal, hardworking, etc… everyone says that. Hiring managers want to hear examples. Say something along the lines of, “I am excited about this position and I am hoping that you are excited about me because I can bring to the table dependability…Then speak on a time when it was crucial that you were dependable.”

7. What are your salary requirements?

Walk through your salary history and where you feel an appropriate raise would be for your next role. Keep in mind that you have to be reasonable and that most salary increase will not be more than 10% of your previous salary.

8. What challenges are you looking for in your next job?

Try to make yourself look like a high potential individual. Highlight that you learn very quickly so the main challenge you are looking for is to strive to have increasing responsibility.

9. What is your greatest weakness?

Your greatest weakness would be the one part of the potential job that you are least experienced with. Just keep it specified to the position. For example, if you are interviewing for a Staffing Consultant position and you are comfortable on the phones and speaking with candidates but you need more experience on the B2B sales side, you could say something along the lines of, “My greatest weakness would be the current exposure I have to making sales calls. I am continually doing 1,2,3 to improve where I presently am.”

Key takeaway – focus on your strengths and remain positive.  If you’re not strong in a certain area, say how you’re working to improve your skills.

In the Chicago area? Connect with one of our recruiters to work with you through your job search. We offer free interview coaching and preparation!

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