Hi! Happy Monday 🙂 I’m excited to share this post from Elarie Consulting because it’s a common struggle for everyone out there trying to get a job. Looking for a job is pretty stressful but preparing for an interview??? nerve-racking! There are soo many questions you might get asked and what if you don’t have a good answer for them?

Well, keep reading because today we are covering the most common tough questions you might get asked during an interview and how to correctly answer them! Really hope you find this useful and as always, feel free to reach out to me or the team at Elarie Consulting with any questions!

By Kayla Liczbinski at Elarie ConsultingHow to Answer Tough Interview QuestionsSo you’ve made it to the interview – congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare! And no, you shouldn’t just wing it.

Some of the best interviews I have experienced, both as an interviewee and interviewer, have come as a result of preparedness.

What does it mean to be prepared for an interview? It can mean everything from how many resumes you bring to the suit you choose to wear, but nothing matters as much as the conversations

Here’s how to answer some of the toughest (and most common) interview questions:

What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses?

After numerous conversations with interviewers, and being in the interviewer seat myself, I can honestly say this question is not a favorite of either party. However, this question (if answered well) can reveal a lot about a candidate and really give them an edge in the race for a job offer.

We suggest incorporating at least two different weaknesses if they are asking for multiple.

The first, describe a weakness you had and how you overcame it. Make sure to reiterate that this is a continual process and you’re really never done. The second, a current weakness and how you plan to take steps to overcome it.

One word answers will not work in your favor when answering this question, so really take the time to explain. Most organizations are always looking for continuous improvement skills and a sense of self-awareness. By answering the questions head on, and giving your plan to address your weaknesses, you are showing you have both, improvement skills and self-awareness

Why Are You Looking to Leave Your Current Job? 

This could also be, “Why did you leave your last position?”

You’ve heard it time and time again – companies don’t want to hear you bash your previous employer. From their perspective, if you’re saying it about your last employer, why wouldn’t you say it about them?

Some employers are equally as focused on their employee branding as their market branding. They want to attract talent by pleasing the talent they already have. Starting off your experience with the company on a bad note can cut you out of the running before the second round.

What can you say instead? If you’re leaving a toxic environment or because you hated your boss, try saying you are ready for a new opportunity with more growth. Or perhaps mentioning that your future career goals and then career path with your current company don’t align. But when the interviewer asks about your career goals (make sure you have that ready, too).

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

This can be a tricky question for anyone at any point in their career.

Too minimal and they may think you lack drive or desire to move up – which translates to stagnation. Too excessive and they may think your expectations are too high, or that you think too highly of yourself and capabilities.

Try researching positions in the company other than what you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a position in Human Resources as a Generalist, research an HR Manager or Specialist with the same company. Is there somewhere you want to be? Take some of the duties from the job description or people who hold the current title (LinkedIn) and incorporate them into your future plan answer.How to Answer Tough Interview QuestionsWhat About Your Technical Skills?

If you are a master at your craft, these questions (and answers) should come easily to you. However, if you have oversold your qualifications (we advise you don’t) on your resume in anyway – we suggest you hit the books ASAP. Research the programs or technical skills required in the job description or posting and be prepared to answer questions about them.

This is incredibly common in the information services or information technology fields. Ultimately, companies want to make sure they are hiring the right technical person for their technical position.


What if they have an obscure question or a hard question you don’t have an answer to?

First and foremost – do not panic! For curveball questions, try researching some of the Google interview questions beforehand to warm up your brain and think outside of the box. For questions that you may not have an answer to, answer the question as best you can and make sure to ask for clarification if you need it. After you complete your answer, you can even ask, “Did I answer your question?”

A good thing to keep in mind no matter which tough interview question you are answering, is you can always use your follow up email to iterate why you are a great fit for the position. You can also include other points you may have forgotten to mention. Just don’t go too overboard with additional detail!

Looking for more answers to interview questions? Contact us at elarie@elarieconsulting.com for your personalized guide!

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