How to Answer Difficult Interview Questions to Land Your Ideal Job

Get Into the Right Mindset to Ace Any Interview

Do you have a tough time answering difficult interview questions? Are interview nerves stopping you from finding your perfect job in 2022?

Have you ever watched a quiz show on television, and found yourself shouting the answer at the screen? How does the contestant not know the answer? “Surely, everyone knows that!” you say.

But what if you don’t know the answer? Or you’re faced with the kind of pressure that makes your mind go blank? How do you answer difficult questions in job interviews?

Here’s a ‘not-so-secret’ secret. The only tricky question is the one to which you don’t know the answer, or for which you are unprepared.

In this article, we explain how to go into an interview and know that you won’t face a single difficult question. Because you’ll either know the answer, or be prepared to answer.

7 Tips to Make All Interview Questions Easy to Answer

When it comes to acing a job interview, knowledge is power, but preparation is key. If you don’t prepare your knowledge, you will be hit by that curveball question. Here are seven ways to prepare for your next interview so that you not only ace it, but you enjoy it (yes, interviews can, and should, be enjoyable).

1.     Know Yourself

The aim of the interviewer is to get to know you better, to make a decision whether you’ll fit into the role, the team, and the company. How can they do this if you don’t know yourself? You will be asked about your strengths and weaknesses, your background and experience, why you wish to leave your current role, and what you hope to gain from your next career move.

These kinds of questions should be the easiest to answer, but often candidates give confused responses. Before your interview, review your resume. What does it say about you? What will the interviewer want to confirm or clarify?

2.     Know What You Don’t Know

It’s impossible to know the answer to every question asked of you. So, make sure you know what you don’t know. Never try to fudge an answer. Here’s where being prepared for a curveball question is vital.

Let’s say the interviewer, out of nowhere, asks you how many tennis balls can fit into a 40-ton truck. First things first: the interviewer doesn’t know the answer, either. What’s being assessed is your problem-solving ability. The way to answer this type of question is to demonstrate how you would tackle the problem.

“I really don’t know, but here’s how I’d go about figuring it out…” Then talk the interviewer through your thought process. Bingo!

3.     Know the Role for Which You Are Applying

Read the job description, several times. Get to know it like the back of your hand. Write down the skills, experience, duties, and responsibilities of the role. Think about situations you’ve been in, in which you’ve had to adapt, and how you have done that. Use knowledge of yourself to demonstrate that you have all of what the employer needs, and all that will make you successful in the job.

4.     Know the Company You Are Applying to

It is essential to know the company to which you are applying. Pay attention to the company’s mission statement and vision so you can tailor your interview answers to show how you align with the company’s values and future. Consider the work culture, and how your personality will help you fit in with your new team. Then shape your answers to show that you have done your research and that you want to work in this company:

“I think that the new process you’ve put in place…”

“Risk taking is necessary to innovation, but I believe that risk taking should be measured. It’s important to take a strategic approach by…”

5.     Know the Industry You Are In (or Transferring To)

When answering interview questions, relating back to the industry you work in (or wish to work in) is a good tactic to employ. This shows the employer that you take a big-picture view, and that you are not only focused on your job. It’s crucial to stay updated with the latest trends, and understand how they relate to your role, and the hiring company and its clients.

6.     Prepare Your Interview Answers

You’ve got all the knowledge you need, but knowledge is no power without preparation. Think about all the questions you might be asked ─ about yourself, the role, the company, the industry ─ and develop answers to those questions. Remember, your job in an interview is to sell yourself by showing you are the best person for the role.

One of the most popular strategies to answer interview questions is to use the STAR method:

S: Describe the situation and how it came about

T: Detail what needed to be done, and why you were the one tasked to do it

A: Describe what action you took to resolve the problem and achieve the desired result

R: Conclude by detailing the result, and the longer-term impact of your approach

For example:

Situation: “The company wasn’t hitting its conversion targets, and most sales teams were falling short on team targets.”

Task: “We needed to discover why this was, and then make a plan to change things. My team was the only one that was consistently beating its targets, and so I was selected to lead the project.”

Action: “So, I spent time with each of the other teams, observing sales meetings, speaking to individuals and customers, to get a clearer picture.”

Result: “What we discovered was that other teams were trying to close deals without fully understanding our customers’ needs. So, we retrained our salespeople to take a different approach to sales. Results began to improve almost immediately. The following year was a sales and revenue record.”

7.     Prepare Questions to Ask in an Interview

An interview should be a two-way conversation. Asking questions will help you demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job, and show that you are motivated and a self-developer.

Ask questions about the company, the specific challenges of the role, the corporate culture, and opportunities to advance your career within the team.

Avoid questions about compensation and benefits, and any questions that indicate a lack of preparation or that give the impression that you view this job as a steppingstone.

Do you suffer from interview nerves? One of the ways in which we help candidates progress their careers is by helping them to be fully prepared for their interview. To learn more about why professionals at all career levels in creative and IT roles turn to TECHEAD for career support and advice, submit your resume to TECHEAD today.

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