Answering common interview questions - Part 2

This post covers another set of difficult yet surprisingly common interview questions.

“What’s the hardest situation you’ve been in at work?”

This question requires you to clearly and concisely provide relevant context for the interviewer as well as demonstrate how you handled the situation adeptly. Keep your response honest, and do not speak poorly or negatively about other people involved in the situation, such as another team member you feel let you down. As with the “weaknesses” question from our last post, your focus should be on how you responded to the situation and improved things moving forward, not how terrible the situation was for you.

“How do you handle pressure?”

A short response, such as “well,” does not suffice here. In fact, this is similar to the “hardest situation” question above; you need to provide an example, supply context, and demonstrate how you overcame a stressful situation with grace. These questions are often asked back-to-back, so try to use a separate anecdote for each if possible to show your breadth of experience.

“Roleplay this scenario with me”/“Sell me this pen”

These questions are common in jobs that require interpersonal skills and the ability to think on your feet, such as sales jobs. Many will involve a scenario in which something has gone wrong - such as with an angry client, disappointed customer, or frustrated manager - and put you in the role responsible for making amends. No matter the situation, respond calmly and treat the interaction like a real conversation: Ask questions, listen, and be compassionate.

“How many golf balls can you fit in the Taj Mahal?” (and other abstract questions)

These questions test your general reasoning skills, ability to estimate, and mental math. Feel free to ask clarifying questions and make assumptions, but recognize that there is generally not a correct answer for these types of questions. Instead, your goal is to demonstrate that you can think through complicated problems and come to a rational result.

“Why should we hire you?”

This may seem like an overwhelming question until you think of it as a combination of all the other questions in this post and our previous one combined. Reiterate how the position you are applying for aligns with your career goals, emphasize your strengths and experience, and clearly state why you would be a strong addition to the team you are interviewing to join. Ensure that you are maintaining good eye contact while delivering this response. Be personable. Smile. You have nothing to lose at this point, so make this response count!

We hope you’ve found these last few Q&A-style posts helpful. If you enjoyed them, or if we still haven’t answered one of your questions, please reach out to us via facebook chat - click here.

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