10 Tough Interview Questions You Need to Know How to Answer

Are you prepping for an interview?  Or thinking about going after a new positon soon?  Here are 10 tough interview questions you should be ready to answer. Questions like these challenge you to be quick on your feet and put your best self forward.  After each question, I’ve included some advice on things to consider with your answer.

1.     What motivates you?

a.    Think big and be inspirational if you can be.  For example, ‘Helping people’ or ‘The opportunity to impact change,’ are great motivators to share.

b.    Ideally share an example related to professional success

2.     What is the professional accomplishment you are most proud of? 

a.    Try to share an achievement that shows transferrable skills to the position you’re interviewing for so the interviewer can imagine you having a similar success if hired

3.     What’s your biggest failure?

a.    Be sincere, brief, and likeable 

b.    Try not to talk about a professional failure.  Possible idea: failing to finish a marathon you trained hard for.

4.     How do you handle pressure or stressful situations?

a.    Try to showcase your ability to stay calm through challenges and highlight any skills you have that enable you to lead, collaborate, and ultimately move the project, business, and/or team forward  

5.     How would you describe your approach to teamwork?

a.    Try to use positive words such as collaborative and team-oriented

b.    Share examples that highlight successes you have had with past teams

6.     If you could change one thing about your last (current) job, what would it be?

a.    Don’t bad mouth your company, boss, or co-workers 

b.    Share something that aligns with the position you’re interviewing for

7.    What do you think this company does well and what could we improve on?

a.    Share positive things the company is publicly known for.  

b.    Show insight into the function/department you’re interviewing with

c.    Consider business opportunities the company might not have pursued yet to show your creativity and understanding of the company’s potential

8.     What can we expect from you in the first three/six/nine months in this role?

a.    Provide specific examples on how you’ll add value to the department and make a difference within the team 

b.    Reference the 30-60-90-day plan that’s in your portfolio!  Not sure what that is?  Check out my online course to learn how to make one.

9.     Why should we hire you?

a.    Share desired traits and skills from the job description 

b.    Use adjectives such as committed, driven, results-oriented, team-oriented, etc.

c.    Convince the interviewer you will over deliver if given the chance

10.  How many tennis balls would fit in this room?

a.    This question has no correct answer.  The interviewer wants to understand how you think and how you solve an impossible problem. Don’t say, ‘I don’t know’.

b.    Great answers: If I have access to my phone, I’ll google it.  Shows you’re resourceful and won’t waste time doing something you don’t need to do.  Or you could say, “A tennis ball is about the size of my fist, so eyeballing it I’d guess X’.  

If you want more tips on how to ace an interview, check out my online course or if you want me to prep you for your next interview, it’s possible!  Learn more here.

Until next time, follow me on Twitter at @MadeToHire, Instagram, and on Facebook. 

Merryn Roberts-Huntley