Handling the toughest interview questions

If you’re busy searching the job market in the hopes of finding employment, you’re probably also dreading the prospect of having to sit in front of a potential employer and be bombarded by questions that you might not know the answer to.

When it comes to job interviews, getting comfortable with them is something that takes time and practice. Prepare for these tough questions and get a leg up on your competition before you even walk through the door to your interview.

What are your salary expectations?

This can be a tough one for a whole host of reasons. Your current salary might be significantly lower than what’s on offer, which immediately puts you on the back foot. The interviewer will be likely to ask why you feel you deserve such a significant pay rise or even what value you can offer the company to justify that salary.

You could approach this question in a few ways: either choose a salary range that is somewhere in between what you currently earn and what’s on offer, or compromise on salary in exchange for assurances for growth opportunities or other perks that you can earn through hard work.

Why do you think you fit the position?

This question is one of the most common and you’re likely to encounter it in most, if not all, of your job interviews along the way. This is a subtler way for an interviewer to gauge your strengths and weaknesses and assess whether you’re the right person for the position.

In order to not be caught off-guard by this question, be well-versed in your own strengths and what you can bring to the table, and be candid about your weaknesses and how you can improve on those areas. The worst thing you can do if this question crops up is to um and uh your way through it – this not only shows a lack of preparedness, but also a lack of introspection that is important for growth.

Have you ever had to handle a difficult co-worker?

Every office has that one employee who takes things too far in some way or another. Often referred to as “that guy”, potential employers ask this question to see how you handle situations where a problematic employee in the office has a negative impact on the workplace dynamics and employee relationships.

Your response to this question will indicate your level of people skills and how well you interact with others. In office environments where you’re constantly surrounded by your co-workers, it’s important to stay level-headed and follow company policy.

If you’ve never been in this situation then there’s not much you can do. Use this as an opportunity to highlight a situation where you turned an adverse situation into a positive one.

What insights can you offer into our industry?

Understanding the industry you’ll be potentially entering is crucial to nailing your interview. If an interviewer brings this question up, often it’s purely for the sake of ensuring that you, as a potential employee, have done your research on both the company and the industry.

Handling this question is as simple as doing the research that is expected of you. One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is failing to read up on relevant information and being caught short when it comes to crunch time in the interview.

There is no better way to impress a prospective employer than to demonstrate your willingness to learn, a deeper understanding of the state of the industry, and perhaps even offer solutions to show your prowess.

How do you handle criticism?

Nobody is perfect. This is an important point to remember at work when you make a mistake or get your ear chewed off by your boss because how you respond to these situations could be the difference between employment and having to get back on your job seeking horse.

The best response to this question is to demonstrate your ability to take criticism and change your approach based on what you learned. Companies don’t want to hire people that will sulk every time they get told off or criticised. Using that criticism as a vehicle for self-improvement not only shows the company that you’re committed to growing, but that you can adapt to your environment and make positive change both personally and professionally.