When was the last time you had a job interview? Whether you are at your first experience ever or you’ve lost count, there’s always the chance you’ll be met with a question that seems difficult to give a reply to.
I know I hate those “where do you see yourself in five years” or “what’s your biggest weakness” type of questions. In all fairness, there is no right answer to these questions since the interviewer is trying to assess your way of thinking.
Most interviewees choose the safe path when it comes to tricky questions. After all, when you’re a nerve-wreck and feel the stress climbing towards your throat, the last thing you can do is try to be witty.
However, playing it safe may make you come across as boring or in low spirits which may give the interviewer an inaccurate impression of your abilities and passion for the position.
To avoid this grim situation and make sure your career advancements won’t be influenced by a bad interview performance, it helps to be prepared.
Usually, being prepared means learning about the company, checking up other people’s opinions by reading reviews on sites like JobSage, or downright stalking them on social media to learn more about their communication strategy.
However, it also helps to learn how to answer these tricky questions to give the right impression and impress your interviewer.
Here are a few examples of what it means to have the right answers during a job interview:
Understand the Interviewer’s Intention
Questions like “where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” or “tell me about your strengths and weaknesses” have a double meaning.
First, there’s the obvious meaning. The interviewer wants to learn about your plans for the future and see if you think about staying around. On the other hand, they also want to see if you are the kind of person who plans for the future and how.
If you are interviewing for a management position, it’s important to have good planning skills, and this type of question can provide the interviewer with a lot of answers.
The strengths and weaknesses question is the same. First, they’ll want to see how you reply (if you get the standard approach of turning a strength into a weakness – I’m too competitive).
Second, they truly want to understand your view on what can be considered strengths or weaknesses for that specific job.
Make the Answer Relevant for the Job
When you apply for a specific position, you always tailor your resume to fit the main requirements, right? Well, why wouldn’t you do the same with your answers?
The so-called tricky questions that many interviewees fear so much have one major advantage – they let you provide any version of the answer you want.
So whether you go with a prepared answer or you’re looking to improvise something on the spot, it’s important to make it relevant for the position you’re interviewing for.
Furthermore, it’s equally important to pay attention to the structure of your answer. You want to provide a clear, easy-to-understand, and elegant answer.
Build Your Sales Pitch
It may sound weird to say so, but when you’re interviewing, you’re basically trying to sell your skills. This means that you can see the interview as a sales pitch that you can build using the job ad as a frame.
By changing the way you view the process, you reduce the anxiety and it will help change the perspective when it comes to tricky questions.
Now you don’t need to find the perfect answer; you just have to adapt the one you have to fit the situation.
Overall, if you want to be part of the mass corporate exodus that’s happening these days, it helps to be prepared for job interviews. This is true whether you are a total beginner or an expert in your field.