How many of you had stumbled upon an interview question you haven’t prepared yourself for, and your mind drew a blank? Before I go to a job interview, I usually take the time to review the most common interview questions you will most likely be asked. Also, I review sample answers and advice on how to answer these typical interview questions.
Here is the list of my favorite tricky questions:
Why did you leave your last job?
Stay positive regardless of the circumstances. Never refer to a major problem with management and never speak ill of supervisors, co-workers or the organization. If you do, you will be the one looking bad. Keep smiling and talk about leaving for a positive reason such as an opportunity, a chance to do something special or other forward-looking reasons. The interviewer may spend some time probing you on this issue, particularly if it is clear that you were terminated. Be brief, to the point, and as honest as you can without hurting yourself. Refer back to the planning phase of your job search. where you considered this topic as you set your reference statements. The "We agreed to disagree" approach may be useful. Remember hat your references are likely to be checked, so don't concoct a story for an interview.
What's your biggest weakness?
At first glance, this seems tricky. On one hand, you can’t reveal that you lack what it takes for the job; on the other, it will be an obvious lie if you claim you don’t have any weaknesses. What should you disclose then? If you're completely honest, you may be kicking yourself in the butt. If you say you don't have one, you're obviously lying. This is a horrible question and one that politicians have become masters at answering. They say things like "I'm perhaps too committed to my work and don't spend enough time with my family." Oh, there's a fireable offense. I've even heard "I think I'm too good at my job, it can often make people jealous." Please, let's keep our feet on the ground. If you're asked this question, give a small, work-related flaw that you're working hard to improve. Example: "I've been told I occasionally focus on details and miss the bigger picture, so I've been spending time laying out the complete project every day to see my overall progress." If you have thoroughly gone through the company’s profile and such, you will by now understand what qualities are considered strengths, and what are not. Now, there are several ways to answer double-edged questions like this. For example: with your knowledge of what constitute as weaknesses that are frown upon by the interviewer, you can admit to those which you have that are impertinent to the job requirement.
Let's talk about salary. What are you looking for?
A loaded questions! A nasty little game that you will probably lose if you answer first. So, do not answer it. Instead, say something like/that's tough question. Can you tell me the range for this position? Even if you know the salary range for the job, if you answer first you're already showing all your cards. You want as much as possible, the employer wants you for as little as you're willing to take. Before you apply, take a look at salary.com or glassdoor.com for a good idea of what someone with your specific experience should be paid. You may want to say, "well, that's something I've thought long and hard about and I think someone with my experience should get between X & Y." Or, you could be sly and say, "right now, I'm more interested in talking more about what the position can offer my career." That could at least buy you a little time to scope out the situation. But if you do have a specific figure in mind and you are confident that you can get it, I'd say go for it. In most cases, the interviewer, taken off guard, will tell you salary range. If not, say that it can depend on the details of the job. Then give a wide range. But whenever possible, say as little as you can about salary until you reach the "final" stage of the interview process. At that point, you know that the company is genuinely interested in you and that it is likely to be flexible in salary negotiations.
Gather as much information about the position and have a feel of what it’s like working there day in, day out. If they offer you the job and it is what you are seeking for, go for it! So after all that, what should you do when asked weird questions like these? Have fun with it, but try to make the interviewers remember you.