Anticipating and preparing possible job interview questions
Preparation prevents poor performance, and extensive preparation prevents you from being blindsided when ‘difficult’ questions are asked during a job interview.
“What is your greatest weakness?”
Recruiters can get very creative in asking tough interview questions. And at some point, during your interview, you might even feel bad, because you did prepare yourself – you learnt everything you could about the job description, the interviewer, the company – and there you are, left with a question you have no idea how to answer. Preparation prevents poor performance, and extensive preparation prevents you from being blindsided when ‘bigger’ questions somehow find their way into your job interview.
Knowledge is power. An open door that is extremely useful in particular cases such as this one. It is good to know everything you can about the job description, but try to know everything you can about your rights during your interview.
- You have the right to take your time and examine the question at your own ease. While you do that, try to analyse the question. Break it up to pieces or even bounce back and ask the recruiter a question like: “What do you mean exactly?” They might say it is just a question to have an idea about what kind of person you are. This is great, because now you find yourself with more possibilities
- You have the right to rephrase or paraphrase a question. Should you find yourself blind sided by a question, you could buy yourself some time by using a rephrasing technique: So if I understand correctly, …
- You have the right to decide to come back to that question later in the interview: “Is it OK, if I come back to that, I would like to think about that question a little bit”.
- You have the right to admit you don’t know the answer to the question. It is better to admit that, than to start panicking by mumbling things that don’t make any sense or start lying about things just to answer the question.
Whatever you do, try not to pretend to be someone you are not. Just be yourself and be honest and upfront, but at the same time try to understand the purpose of interview questions and the meaning and interpretability of your own answers. Secondly, be aware that there can be a discrepancy between what you mean by an answer and how the recruiter interprets the answer. The right answer, if there is one, is a combination of something that is authentic and honest + something that is relevant to the purpose of the question + something that is beneficial to a positive image of who youare(not of who you are not).
Most of the ‘bigger questions’ recruiters ask during interviews can be found online. Take your time at home to reflect on those questions. Given a certain question, ask yourself: “What is the purpose of this question, who am I, and how can I answer this question in order to give a positive image of who I am?”
Here are some questions to get you started:
1. Why do you want this job?
2. Name three strengths and weaknesses about yourself.
3. How do you handle stress?