How to Answer Difficult Interview Questions

For Candidates

how to answer difficult interview questions

For many of us, interviews are intimidating and nerve-wracking. Preparing answers to difficult interview questions will strengthen your chances of making a great impression on a potential employer. Use the following tips to respond intelligently to even the toughest questions.


Tell me about yourself.

Employers often open interviews with this question. Be prepared to give a brief summary of your education, job experience, skills, and future goals. Only touch on your interests briefly if at all. At the end of your response, make sure to tie your experience back to the job and your desire to join their company.


Why should we hire you? 

This is a great opportunity to summarize your best qualities and experience that relate to the job description. Show that you have done research on their company, and explain how you are a good fit for the company’s values, mission, and culture. Be careful not to give a generic answer—most candidates merely assert that they are “hardworking” and “motivated” without backing it up.


What are your greatest weaknesses?

Use a real weakness that you have and show how you are working to improve it. For example, “I’m unfamiliar with social networking, but I’ve recently started a LinkedIn account in order to become more comfortable.” Don’t give an easy answer such as “I work too hard” or “I’m too detail-oriented”—these answers will seem insincere.


Have you ever had an issue with your boss?

Be careful not to gossip about any past bosses and to stay positive. Perhaps explain that you’ve never had any awful bosses, but that you’ve learned what managerial styles work for you.


Why did you leave your last job?

Again, don’t be overly negative about your last job. Instead focus on your career goals, and how they can be better met at a new position. For example: “At my last position I did not have a chance to work independently—I hope to find a new position where I would have the ability to execute my ideas individually, while still being part of a team.”


Do you have any questions?

Make sure to prepare questions ahead of time to show that you are prepared and curious about the position. Try asking your interviewer why they enjoy working at this company, or what a typical day would be like in this position.


If you could have dinner with any famous dead person, who would it be?

Oddball questions like these are used to see if you can think on your feet, and to test your sense of humor. Don’t think about the question too hard and answer quickly. Show a little bit of your personality while keeping your answer appropriate.


You have one shot to make a good impression and convince your interviewer that you are the right one for the job. By being equipped to answer difficult interview questions, you are one step closer to landing the job offer.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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