career fair champlain college

Tough Interview Questions

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

Knowing how to answer tough interview questions may just be the key to landing your dream job.

How to Handle Tough Interview Questions

Now and then we find ourselves in interviews getting completely stumped or we mentally ‘kick’ ourselves for how we responded to a particular question after the interview. These things happen. We’re just people being people in what often feels to be a socially-awkward experience commonly referred to as an interview. So how do we make the most of responding to the hardest questions?

We Practice. Make a commitment to treat the interview process with the respect it deserves and you will find that after enough “on and off camera” attempts: • Your confidence will grow • Your responses with gain clarity and charm • Your questions for the interviewer will mature • And you’ll experience the awesome “feel good” moment after a successful interview.

Q and A: Tough interview Questions and Great Answers

  1. Tell me about yourself. What the hiring manager really wants is a quick, two- to three-minute snapshot of who you are and why you’re the best candidate for this position. Talk about what you’ve done to prepare yourself to be the very best candidate for the position. Use an example or two to back it up. Tell me about yourself does not mean tell me everything. Just tell me what makes you the best.
  2. Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved? Note that if you say no, most interviewers will keep drilling deeper to find a conflict. Focus your answer on the behavioral process for resolving the conflict and working collaboratively. For example: Yes, I have had conflicts in the past. Never major ones, but there have been disagreements that needed to be resolved. I’ve found that when conflict occurs, it helps to fully understand the other person’s perspective, so I take time to listen to their point of view, then I seek to work out a collaborative solution. For example . . .
  3. What is your greatest weakness? Most career books tell you to select a strength and present it as a weakness. Such as: I work too much. I just work and work and work. Wrong. First of all, using a strength and presenting it as a weakness is deceiving. Second, it misses the point of the question. You should select a weakness that you have been actively working to overcome. For example: I have had trouble in the past with planning and prioritization. However, I’m now taking steps to correct this. I just started using a pocket planner; then show them your planner and how you are using it. Talk about a true weakness and show what you are doing to overcome it.

In reviewing these responses, please remember that they are only to be viewed samples. Please do not rehearse them verbatim or adopt them as your own. They are meant to stir your creative juices and get you thinking about how to properly answer the broader range of questions that you will face.

Source: College Grad