May 16, 2013
The 10 trickiest job interview questions
If some interview questions seem like trick questions, it's because they are. Here are 10 common questions, along with ideas for handling them:
"Tell me about yourself." Don't ramble. This is your chance to talk about how your specific skills and knowledge make you a perfect fit for this job.
"Tell me something bad you've heard about our company." You wouldn't seek work at a company you disapproved of, would you? So you should be able to honestly answer that you haven't heard anything negative.
"Why should I hire you?" Describe, specifically, how you are the best person to meet the requirements of the job you're seeking.
"Where do you see yourself in five years?" Talk about how your abilities, training and experience will enable you to grow and prosper within this company.
"How would you react if I told you your interview so far was terrible?" This is a test to see whether you get flustered. Stay cool and say, mildly, that you would ask for reasons why.
"What's the last book you read?" Mention a book that reflects well on you and that your interviewer has probably heard of.
"Can you work under pressure?" Smile, say "Of course I can," and then tell a positive story about a time you did.
"Who's your hero?" Name someone who has inspired you, describing specifically how this inspiration relates to your work.
"Have you ever considered starting your own business?" This is easy. Talk about how you are happiest and do your best work in a company that is amazingly similar to the one at which you're applying.
"If you won the lottery, would you still work?" Be honest and say you'd be thrilled to win the lottery. Then add that even if you did, you'd still seek out satisfying work, because work is what makes people happy.
Remember, interviewers who ask these questions are more interested in how you answer than what you answer. They just want to see how well you think on your feet. Keep calm and carry on.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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