Preparing for the interview can be a stressful process; you try and rehearse your answers to some of the most common interview questions, but what about the uncommon ones? Hiring managers who ask tough or complex questions during the interview don't always expect a perfect, pageant-ready response. A few questions, like the ones listed below, don't come with a perfect answer, but they give employers valuable insight into what kind of employee you might be.
1. Tell Me About Something You Wish You Had Done Differently
This is a difficult question to answer, because no matter how you spin it, you'll end up rehashing details about something you didn't do very well. One thing the interviewer doesn't want to hear is a canned, rehearsed response, as this just tells him that you're either trying to hide something or simply don't want to answer the question. Neither scenario paints you in the best light, so keep it real. The hiring manager understands you're human, too, and wants to know that you're willing to be open and honest about your mistakes. Try to think of realistic examples of professional situations where you could have gone in a different direction or handled yourself better.
2. Can You Tell Me About a Challenge You Recently Overcame?
This question is often asked in the interview as a way to gauge your problem-solving abilities. But while you prepare a stellar response ahead of time, be ready to go deeper during the interview. Once you explain how you overcame a challenge, the interviewer may then ask about the actual process you went through to do so. What he's looking for is not necessarily an amazing tale about how you solved the impossible, but simply a willingness to get in there and try. Explaining the steps involved demonstrates your critical-thinking skills.
3. What Hobbies or Interests do You Have Outside of Work?
If you get this question during the interview, you might be tempted to loosen up and get into details about your antique Barbie collection or your penchant for off-track betting. While sharing details about the things you're most passionate about is fine here, it's not really what the interviewer wants to know. By asking this question, he is hoping to elicit a response from you that tells him you're a normal, well-rounded individual with healthy interests outside of the office. Don't be afraid to open up about things you like to do, as long as they aren't illegal, morally ambiguous or too provocative.
As nerve-wracking as it may be to prepare for tricky interview questions, understand the reasons why many companies like to ask them. Throwing you a curve ball during the interview is a clever way to not only gauge your personality but also determine how well you handle yourself under pressure, so don't stress over giving a perfectly delivered response.
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