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The Best Answers to the 7 Worst Interview Questions

The Best Answers to the 7 Worst Interview Questions

Interviews can be very discomforting. Of course, the interviewee wants to put forward the best possible answers to even the toughest questions. And answering difficult questions on the fly can be problematic. Fortunately, great answers to troublesome questions can be rehearsed and considered long before that important interview. Here’s how.

1. Tell me about yourself.

Here you want to squeeze in every possible strength and potential contributions you can make to the company without being long-winded. The interviewer is far more interested in how the question is responded to, that is, whether or not the answer is said with sincere enthusiasm. Begin with a quote from a person you admire that sums up what you believe to be true about yourself to answer the question quickly and concisely .

Encapsulate the answer into a one-minute presentation of your professional achievements. Did you have a job that relates to the position you are seeking? Hit the interviewer with your unique achievements and contributions to the company’s bottom line. If there are no comparable jobs in your past, explain why you are interested in the position.

2. Tell me about an instance where you failed or did something you are ashamed of.

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    Among the many questions that can be asked, this is one of the most dreaded. The fundamental key here is to turn that failure into a success. Take a moment to reflect as if you weren’t expecting the question. Say that as a human being you are as prone to mistakes as anyone else; however you have no regrets—even if you do (and most of us do), don’t admit them. This is not a confessional.

    Tell the interviewer that in those instances where you have made a mistake with a coworker, you have admitted your mistake. You went back to the person and apologized and started again. Say that you prefer to keep things out in the open and you, personally, make a point to communicate about any experienced problems on both sides of the table.

    3. What is your biggest weakness, that’s really a weakness, and not a secret strength.

    This is a gotcha question if there ever was one. No chance here to flip the question to a strength, such as, “I’m a workaholic” or “I tend to take my work home with me.” What to do? Instead, show that you recognize your weaknesses and make every effort to address them. For example, “I tend to be very demanding of others, but I am learning that everyone has their own unique gifts.”

    Now is the opportunity to address any gaps in your resume. Tell the interviewer that you may not have direct experience in an area, but related experience such as fund-raising in place of sales experience. Say that in recognition of your weakness at say, public speaking, you have volunteered to come forward in team leadership roles.

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    4. Have you ever been fired? If so, why?

    employee termination

      Refrain from making previous bosses or companies look bad. You come off as being bitter, blaming of others, and irresponsible. None of which you wish to convey to a new company. Make an admission, such as, telling the interviewer that you were inexperienced in communicating with your boss about teamwork. This way you acknowledge what happened and that you learned from the experience.

      Say that you simply were not a good fit for the company, and before you had the opportunity to excel, you were let go. Or inform the interviewer that you didn’t fully understand your previous boss’s expectations and you both agreed that it was time to leave. Or, perhaps a new manager came on board and he wanted to bring in member from his old team before getting to know you.

      5. Why are you willing to accept an entry level position at this point in your career?

      The interviewer can’t or shouldn’t point directly at your age as a reason not to hire you. So the question may be asked in this manner. Tell the interviewer that it is the broad experience outside of the field that makes you the right fit. Your career experiences have prepared you to begin a career again in a brand new field.

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      Emphasize the quality that you enter the field with fresh new eyes and perspective. This opportunity also provides you with the advantage of learning about the company from the inside-out and the ground up. Tell the interviewer that the salary cut is worth it to you to start anew. Say that your experiences have made you reliable and prepared to go all out in the new position.

      6. How do you explain the gaps in your resume?

      It’s almost a surprise that this question still comes up. Especially in light of the fact that companies have not been hiring for the last few years or that a person may have taken time to be with young children or an illness may have prevented someone from working. This is a good time to refer to your references—people who can verify that you were perhaps, self-employed for a time or otherwise disengaged.

      Be honest, but again, turn the weakness to a strength. Say, “In the time I have been out of the marketplace, I have better honed my skills in communication.” Emphasize that while you have been unemployed you have been far from idle, but have been keeping up with the job market or your profession in other ways.

      7. Tell me about a time when a co-worker was not doing their fair share of work. How did you handle the situation.

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        The way that you have dealt with a difficult co-worker is emblematic of how you deal with difficult people and potentially hard-to-handle customers. Cast the problem in the best possible light by suggesting that the co-worker was dealing with a particularly bad personal situation and that you were glad to step in and help as you were able.

        Let the interviewer know that you talked with the co-worker, in order to clear the air and avoid hiding resentment. This clearly shows that you are willing to deal with the difficulty, instead of suffering in silence. The example also clearly exemplifies the fact that you are a people person and willing to work through a very difficult situation.

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        Last Updated on May 20, 2020

        What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

        What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

        Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

        These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

        What Are Analytical Skills?

        According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

        “Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

        Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

        Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

        Visualization

        Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

        Critical Thinking

        Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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        As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

        Computing

        Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

        In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

        Problem-Solving

        Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

        Resource Management

        Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

        For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

        Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

        For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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        The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

        Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

        There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

        For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

        If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

        What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

        Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

        6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

        There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

        Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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        But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

        Below are a few strategies to get you started:

        1. Ideate Business Ideas

        Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

        You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

        2. Leverage Analytical Tools

        Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

        3. Have a Personal Learning Library

        Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

        Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

        For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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        4. Participate in Online Communities

        The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

        For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

        5. Seek Mental Stimulation

        To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

        6. Keep a Personal Journal

        Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

        Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

        Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

        Bottom Line

        As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

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        Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
        [2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
        [3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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