04 Apr How to Answer the Hardest Interview Questions
When you go into an interview with your power suit on and your fresh haircut, you exude confidence. You’re pumped. You are excited about this new opportunity and can’t wait to connect with the hiring manager.
There are the things you’re looking forward to – telling about your latest wins. How you managed to pull a project out of the ashes is both one of your most significant professional achievements, but also ended up as one of the company’s most profitable plans for the year. You can quickly list a time you’ve failed that’s carefully retold to make you look like a superhero.
Then, there’s the rest. The questions you’re hoping never make it into the discussion. Below are a few everyday situations you’d instead not address and how to handle them like a pro to move on to the next step in the interview process and secure your dream job.
When you were fired
The ‘why did you leave your last job’ question is easy to answer when the reason is ‘to take on a new opportunity’ but when you’re departure isn’t voluntary, laid-off or fired; it’s a bit more difficult. As you’ve probably heard, honesty is the best policy. Bringing this instills trust by showing openness and transparency to something that would otherwise be uncomfortable.
Don’t use this as an opportunity to point fingers. Keep it simple and talk about fit. You weren’t the right match for the company at the time, but you’re the perfect candidate for this new opportunity.
For some of us, sometimes aren’t relevant to include on your resume. You might have taken a sabbatical, taken time off from your career to raise a family, or fulfilled your lifelong dream of building a well in Africa. When you have any gap in your resume, the best way to describe it is a 1-2 punch.
- The activity you focused on during that time
- What you learned from it
As part of the 1-2 punch, you need to sculpt it to create the right dialogue carefully. The first portion includes what you were doing during the time, but the second part pivots the discussion onto the growth you experienced and hopefully, how that can be harnessed in this new venture.
Bad Work Environment
Sometimes you might want to answer ‘why are you looking to leave your current position’ with a long list of grievances. Instead, make it less about them (current employer) and more about you. Keep it truthful but add a positive spin on it – ‘I feel like I’ve grown as far as I can in this role and I’m looking for an opportunity to learn more.’ Use this as a segue away from a sensitive topic and focus on what excites you about this new opportunity and how it directly relates to your experience.