How to Answer Dreaded Interview Questions

posted by Megan Hari |

When you’re in the hot seat, you’re bound to be asked a question that you can’t answer without some deliberating. Dreaded interview questions can catch us by surprise and we often forget it’s okay to pause and think in order to deliver an answer we feel confident in. If you find yourself fumbling for words, repeat the question, take a moment to turn it over in your head, and answer with conviction.

Whether you didn’t prepare or haven’t quite nailed down your answer, here’s how to field these questions with ease.

Why did you quit your last job?

Be honest. Focus on how your position wasn’t contributing to your growth, was no longer fulfilling your career goals, or simply wasn’t the best fit any longer. It’s okay that it didn’t work out and you had to move on, but remember, put a positive spin on any negative experiences. Don’t dwell on the bad and emphasize on how you’re excited to move forward.

Why is there a gap in your work history?

Sometimes previous jobs don’t reflect relevant growth in our careers. Whether you left a past position off of your resume or personal reasons prevented you from staying in the workforce, you can easily justify why there are a few months, even a year, of unaccounted time. Highlight freelance work, valuable experiences, or certifications you gained during that time, if applicable.

How much money did you make at your last position?

First and foremost, you are not obligated to reveal past numbers. Money can be an uncomfortable topic, so when it arises in the interview, the pressure to tell all can skew your judgement. Rather than giving salary information, you can offer a salary range that you are comfortable with and currently seeking. Ask for what you want and know you deserve and don’t let past numbers be a benchmark for your current value.

What is your biggest weakness?

Turn negatives into positives. Reveal your weaknesses and include how you’ve worked to correct them or how you think this job will help you better yourself. Think about qualities that can convey strengths as well, such as being too chatty (people-person) or not asking for help (self-reliant).

Why are you the right person for this job?

Is this your passion, is this the next step in your career? Are you as valuable to them as they are to you? Reread the job description and understand how your experience aligns with their needs. Do you have extraneous skills that you think would be appropriate? Are you a culture fit, can you speak to agreeing with their values and social goals? This is a chance to sell yourself, not sell yourself short. You don’t have to be modest, but be honest if you truly believe this is a fit.

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