Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tricky Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Whether you are changing jobs or starting a new career abroad, you will have to face an interview. To properly handle tricky questions during this interview you must prepare yourself thoroughly so that you can answer well and make a good impression. This means that first, you must clearly understand your own skills to be able to speak with confidence, and secondly, you must do some homework on your future employer’s business so that you can match it with your own experience or skills to convince the interviewer to believe that you can fit in perfectly in the new job. Always follow the golden rule - don’t be in a hurry and take time to understand the real question behind the spoken one.

Here are some typical tricky questions that you may expect, and suggestions on how to handle them:

“Give us your background”

Please understand that when the interviewer asks this, he does not want a detailed history of your life, so don’t get entangled in your personal history. Your answer should lead to your desired career abroad, so briefly mention your family background, highest education, experience or training. Only explain your role in your last employment in greater details. 

 “Do you know who we are, and why do you want to work with us?”

Do not get trapped by not knowing much background information about the organization. You need to make enquiries and find out all you can about their business, their history, market reputation and management culture beforehand. Make the interviewer pleased by your effort of doing some background study on the company which you can easily do by looking up their website. You may also mention that you have checked out several other companies and have chosen this one for your future overseas career.

“What do you know about this organization and your future role in the position that you applied for?”

The interviewer wants to confirm whether you have fully understood what the job demands. Make sure that you are clear about the nature of the job you have applied for; it’s requirements and possible problems, so that you can speak confidently. There is no harm if you ask for clarifications and then answer this question. This will also give you a chance to discover more information about the organization.

“Why do you feel that you are better than other candidates?”

Here, the interviewer wants to know how well you know your job and how confident you are of your own capabilities. The correct way to handle this question is to be humble in comparing yourself with others and admit that though skill-sets may be the same as with others, it is your ability to get on with others and your unique way in applying such skills that give you the edge because you have a proven track record of successes in the your past jobs.

“What is your past performance record, and how soon can you show results?”

Here is your chance to tell them in brief detail about your past achievements. You should answer the second part without making unrealistic promises. Explain that because jobs differ from organization to organization, it would be premature to predict your future contributions till a reasonable time after joining. Assure the interviewer that since you already know the overall job requirements based on your past successes, you are confident that you will easily adapt to the new requirements at the earliest and justify your selection.

 Impressive Questions to Ask an Interviewer
“What features do you like and dislike about your job/this position?”

The interviewer is enquiring about what factors motivate you in your job. If you have thought them out in advance, as you should, try to match them with what you expect in your new job. Avoid being negative on any work aspect that you don’t like, and willingly accept it as being part of the overall role.

”Tell me about a time you failed in some task at your job”

Here, the interviewer is asking about your weaknesses, so be alert. You have no option but to admit some past weaknesses or failures, which is natural.  Everyone fails in some task sometimes.  But you can turn this to your advantage by answering that though you’ve failed in the past, you’ve since learned how to overcome this weakness and can now handle such situations comfortably. Think of any weakness that can be turned into strength and prepare your answer in advance. An example - difficulty in managing stress from multi-tasking, something that you’ve learnt to handle over time with good time management.

“What was your last boss like?”

Be sincere and respectful of your last superior and mention only his positive traits in your appreciation. Never reveal any conflicts that may have been there, and highlight his success in leading the department through difficult times.

 “Why did you decide to leave this job?”

Make an honest but tactful confession about changing jobs.  More money by working abroad is the usual answer or whether it was by lay-off, stagnation, or lack of new challenges. Avoid making any reference to past personal conflict, if any. Remain positive about your last job and highlight its good aspects without mentioning too many negative features that may have caused you to seek change.

“How long do you plan to work with us?”

The interviewer wants to know if you are a job hopper. You should maintain that you are looking to build a long term career and say that if given opportunities for growth, you hope to eventually lead a team.