Job interviews are stressful, even for the most qualified and experienced candidates. After all, you only have a few minutes to make a great impression that will determine the course of your career. This is often made even worse by the problematic questions interviewers tend to ask.
The best way to overcome the stress of a job interview is to be prepared. So, if you worry about how you should answer some of the hardest interview questions, keep reading! These are the 7 hardest interview questions and answers that guarantee a great impression.
The 7 hardest interview questions
- Describe yourself in 3 words
- What’s your biggest weakness?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Tell me about yourself
- What are your salary expectations?
- Why should I hire you?
- Do you have any questions for me?
1. Describe yourself in 3 words.
When describing yourself, think of your best personality and professional traits. Also, check what the company is looking for and make sure your characteristics align. Finally, use easy-to-understand but original adjectives that will make you stand out.
For sales jobs, you might use some of these:
For analyst jobs, you might use some of these:
For corporate jobs, you might use some of these:
- Team player
2. What’s your biggest weakness?
Interviewers usually ask this question to see if you are self-aware. Don’t try to answer by turning a positive into a negative – the interviewer will see right through it. On the other hand, don’t be too harsh in your answer. Overall, you should try to stay positive and focus on how you are improving on your biggest weakness.
First, present your weakness. Then, elaborate and explain why you are trying to overcome it. Finally, discuss how you are working towards improving yourself. For example, you could answer like this:
One of my most significant weaknesses is my fear of providing constructive criticism. I often have trouble criticizing others’ work and try to keep my opinions to myself. Yet, I understand that constructive criticism is essential for improving. Recently, I started writing down my ideas so that I have a clear idea of what I want to say and feel less nervous.
3. Why are you leaving your current job?
This is one of the hardest interview questions. Essentially, it reveals your real priorities and how you can handle conflict or discomfort. When answering, remember to be truthful but stay positive, polite, and professional.
Some of the best examples of reasons for leaving a job include:
- Looking for career growth
- Seeking new challenges
- Looking to change career paths
- Relocation to a new city
- The company going out of business
- Being laid off or let go
4. Tell me about yourself
When answering this question, aim for a short answer that summarises your personal and professional qualities. To get started, think about the qualities that are valuable for the position you are applying for. Always have a story that depicts that quality ready. Then, think about why you are interested in the industry, the company, and the particular role. Finally, think about the qualities that would help you the most in this role.
An excellent way to answer this question is by following this structure:
- Present your past achievements and how they relate to the role.
- Discuss how your current position relates to the one you are applying for.
- Highlight the strengths that you can support with examples from your life.
- Show off your personality by mentioning hobbies or volunteer experience.
5. What are your salary expectations?
Salary expectations are one of the hardest interview questions. On the one hand, you don’t want to give a number too low and feel undervalued. On the other hand, if you aim too high, the employer might turn you down because of the potentially high expense. The best way to tackle this question is through adequate research and flexibility.
First, research the usual salary for the role you are applying for. Then, offer a range as your answer. Giving only one number might make it seem like you are not adaptable. Finally, don’t forget to mention that you are flexible and the number is negotiable.
If you don’t feel comfortable giving a specific number or want to elaborate on your expectations, consider an answer like this:
I am flexible in my salary expectations. I do believe that I have experience and skills that would show as invaluable for this position. I would, of course, like fair compensation for my years of experience in [Your Industry]. Thus, I would prefer to first discuss the responsibilities of this job before focusing on specific numbers.
6. Why should I hire you?
This is your opportunity to pitch yourself and your experience to the interviewer. Usually, the interviewer will want to hear why you are the best fit for the role out of all the other applicants. The correct answer is one that aligns with the company goals and needs.
Firstly, read through the requirements for the position. Then, identify 5-10 of your skills and strengths that align with the requirements. Finally, think of the times you have demonstrated these characteristics in your work. Prepare a short story to show what you did and what the outcomes of your actions were.
For example, you may answer like this:
I believe my years of experience in similar positions and award-winning sales record make me a perfect fit for this role. I understand that you are looking for a sales manager with strong interpersonal and strategic skills. In my most recent position, I have designed a new sales strategy and onboard a team to implement this strategy. This resulted in a 40% increase in revenue and raised brand awareness.
7. Do you have any questions for me?
Although this question is common, it remains one of the hardest interview questions. The key to answering is to prepare your questions beforehand.
In general, think of open-ended questions that require a long answer rather than a simple “yes” or “no”. Depending on your interviewer and the topics you have discussed, you might ask one of these questions:
- What does a typical day in this role look like?
- Can you tell me more about the company culture?
- How is success measured in this role?
- What are some challenges the company is facing?
- What are the current goals I would be working to achieve?
- Do you have any concerns about my experience and qualifications?
These are only some of the hardest interview questions. Most importantly, remember that even the most qualified candidates can be taken aback by a question sometimes. Interviewers understand this, and will not reject you based on your answers. When in doubt, ask for a moment to think rather than stuttering or giving an incomplete answer. To avoid stress during the interview, always try to research as much as you can beforehand. For example, you may ask your friends and colleagues about the hardest interview questions they have been asked. Then, think about how you would answer them.