Job Interviewers' Trick Questions
About to go on a job interview?
Good thing you took a minute to read this first. Because most interviewers
booby trap the process with a few trick questions. Still, if you see them
coming, you can turn trick questions to your advantage.
Here are some of the most common trick interview questions, and strategies
for answering them:
- "Tell us about yourself?" Many interviewers open with this query.
It's vague, and potentially maddening. After all, who could possibly
summarize themselves in an hour, much less in a minute -- which is
all you should take to answer this question. The key is to cast yourself
in terms of the job you're seeking. Filter down your life to the essentials
that prepared you for this position. State them confidently and concisely.
- "Can you tell us about your strengths?" This is a more challenging
question than it would seem. Your job is to edit down your list of
strong points to the ones that are relevant to the job you're applying
for. Avoid clichés ("I'm a people person") and offer concrete examples
to back up the characteristics you list.
- "What are your weak points?" Although this question seems to beg
for a joke, take it seriously. Prepare a story about a minor weakness
and how you overcame it in your last job. The key is to prove that
you're in the habit of turning negatives into positives.
- "Why did you quit your last position?" Resist the temptation to
go negative about a former employer, even if the situation was dreadful.
Explain, instead, that you are looking for a better opportunity for
career growth. Be prepared to get specific about just what type of
growth you're looking for and how it applies to the job you're interviewing
- "What did you like least about your last job?" Your interviewers
are fishing for information as to why not to hire you. Don't give
them any. Prepare an answer about a problem task that you didn't like
in your last job, but which wouldn't be part of your job at this company.
Give the story a positive spin and relate how you overcame your dislike
- "What are your career goals in the next five years?" Say that you'd
like to be in a position a few steps up from the one your interviewing
for. Don't go wide-eyed and babble about your far flung dreams. Be
rational and realistic. Tell interviewers what they want to hear --
that you can see a future for yourself within their company.