Advertising
Advertising

8 Misleading And Really Tough Questions You Could Be Asked In Job Interviews

8 Misleading And Really Tough Questions You Could Be Asked In Job Interviews

Knowing how to deal with tough interview questions properly can put you miles above other candidates. Your body language, voice and content of your answers are all factors that play into you getting hired.

This article will detail some tough and misleading questions that generally confuse potential employees and will help you get an insider view on what employers are looking for in your responses.

Remember in order to ensure your success you need to take the time to properly prepare your responses, practice them and always stay hungry for new information. This article will point you to the right direction for you to be successful in job interviews.

Tell me about yourself.

This is a very misleading question if you don’t approach it properly. Interviewers are looking for a lot more than just some information on what you do in your spare time. When you are asked this question it is important that you align your skills with what the interviewer is looking for. Don’t be afraid to play to their strengths and interests – in fact this is what they are looking for.

Start off by detailing your most recent and strongest accomplishments. Talk about the last position (or a position) that you held and what you made such a great fit for it. Discuss the skills and attributes that helped you and show how these skills will help you in the position that you are applying for. No interviewer really wants to hear about your personal life, instead only focus on the parts about your personality that make you a great employee.

Advertising

What can you do for us that someone else can’t?

Here employers are obviously looking for specific things that set you apart from the rest of the candidates. You have every right (and perhaps an obligation) to brag and emphasize your positive attributes.

Focus on your ability to get things done, give concrete examples when you faced deadlines and how you were able to meet them. Draw specific accomplishments from your resume and explain how you were able to achieve them. To wrap up this question talk about how your skills, attributes and record of getting things done makes you the perfect candidate to help advance the team.

What didn’t you like about your last job?

Trick question. While you are being asked what you didn’t like about your last position it is imperative that you do not focus on the negative. The interviewer is looking for signs that you might grow bored easily with the position and checking the strength of your commitment..

When answering this question be sure to preface your answer with a few things that you did enjoy about your previous position. For what you disliked keep it short and to point. Something along the lines of “looking for more responsibility” or “looking to expand my skill set” are answers that show your desire for growth. Make sure any answer you select shows off a positive skill of yours.

Are you a team player?

Everybody says yes to this question so it is important that you set yourself apart using concrete examples. Employers are looking for you to expand on your answer, a true team player will have a plethora of stories that show off skills related to teamwork.

Advertising

Center your answers around skills such as being empathetic, solving problems and sharing knowledge. Give concrete examples of a time you’ve had to resolve a conflict or a time you got people to work together.

If you were to win a million dollars what would you do?

When you get asked this question the employer is looking for where your priorities are and the type of person you are outside of work. Focus your answer on staying productive and maintaining your hard working qualities despite the fact you have money.

It is fine for you to say you would take a vacation for a little bit but employers don’t want to know the exact model of the car you would buy or how big your house would be. Stay away from material answers, focus on activities such as volunteering, passion projects and overall still being an active and productive person.

What is the main thing that gets you out of bed each morning?

This is a question to see what type of person you are by finding out what motivates you. Obviously answers like “I was hungry” or “I need money” are not what employers are looking for. Share with them an ambition of yours that you are working towards and how it inspires you to keep moving every morning.

Your ambition should be related to a skill needed for a job and once you have mentioned it you can mention other important parts of your life such as your family and friends. Show that you need little external motivation to perform your best each day.

Advertising

What are your weaknesses?

When answering this question be sure to stay away from typical answers. Answers like “I am too organized’ or “I am a perfectionist” are tired and cliched.

Instead focus your answers around improving specific skills of yours. The skills you choose should be related to the position your applying and should show your own desire for personal growth and growth in the work place.

Whatever weakness you choose slowly transform it into a strength with your explanation. Mention one or two things that you are doing to improve this weakness and show how the position you’re applying for will give you an adequate chance at improving on this.

Why do you want to work for us?

When you are asked this question employers are looking for you to show off what you know about them. Prior to any interview you should do research on the company, when you are asked this question you should play to the company’s needs.

Your answer should detail how your research has shown that this is a company that you would like to work for. List some reasons why you personally would like the position and how some of your skills align with what would be required of you. Emphasize that you chose them because you look to grow as an employee and that their environment seems like a place where you would have endless opportunities to improve your skills.

Advertising

Ending the interview

Practice these eight questions to get in the proper state of mind for your interview. Keep in mind interviewers may ask questions that seem normal and easy but there is always a hidden motive behind it.

Most importantly keep your ears open while being asked questions and take your time before responding. Do not think you are obligated to respond to every question instantly, giving thoughtful answers ensures that you are giving your best possible answers to the interviewer. Always stay learning to best prepare yourself for success!

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/george-papaconstantinou/7120970251/ via farm8.staticflickr.com

More by this author

How to Create Killer Questions for Your Interview 8 Misleading And Really Tough Questions You Could Be Asked In Job Interviews 4 Tips to Nail Your next Job Interview before You Even Enter the Room

Trending in Work

1 10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career 2 The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise 3 Why You Feel Stuck in Your Career After Staying in a Job Longterm 4 10 Simple Yet Powerful Business Goals to Set This Year 5 How to Make Career Decisions That You Will Not Regret for Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

Advertising

Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

Advertising

If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

Advertising

Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

Advertising

How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

More Articles to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next