Tricky interview questions and how to answer them

We’ve compiled a list of the tricky interview questions that employers often ask. Read them before your interview and be prepared.

Tricky Interview QuestionsTELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF

This is a common question employers use to open an interview. The most common mistake here is telling your life history! By asking this question, employers want to know a quick overview of your qualifications, experience and the specific strengths you could offer the role and company.

WHY DID YOU LEAVE YOUR LAST JOB?

This is your chance to talk about your experience and your career goals, not to speak badly about a former boss or company. Focus on wanting career progression, what you learned in your previous position and how you are ready to use those skills in a new position.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN FIVE YEARS?

This is a good opportunity to let the employer know that you’re stable and you want to be with this company for the long haul. This question is really geared towards professional aspirations rather than personal ones so it’s a good idea to leave out traveling the world or settling down with a family.

HOW WOULD OTHERS DESCRIBE YOU?

It’s a good idea to be regularly asking for feedback from your colleagues and manager so you can gauge your performance. With this information, it is easy to provide an honest and accurate response to this question. Doing so will also help you identify strengths and weaknesses.

TELL ME ABOUT THE WORST BOSS YOU HAVE EVER HAD

Never talk badly about your past bosses. A potential boss will assume that you’ll talk about him or her in the same manner in the future. Find an example of how they positively influenced your career or talk about skills you developed under their leadership.

WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

The key to answering this question is not to respond literally. Don’t mention not being able to cook and don’t offer generic responses, like  “too detail oriented” or “I work too hard.” Think about your previous roles and performance review feedback so that you can respond with areas where you can improve in order to turn them into assets.

ARE YOU OVERQUALIFIED FOR THIS ROLE?

It is important to remember that when it comes to being overqualified, employers will always worry that the role won’t stimulate you enough to keep you motivated, it won’t make you happy, you won’t stay long, or you might want their job or expect fast promotion. To mitigate this, you need to convince the interviewer how your situation will benefit them if they hire you, instead of focusing on why it would good for you to take the job.

WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTED SALARY?

No one wants to answer this question but it is a quick way for employers to eliminate candidates with overly high expectations. Research salaries for similar roles and combine this information with your current salary and typical salary progression for the industry. Decide on a salary range you’re comfortable with and respond with “Based on my research, similar positions in this industry are currently paying between $x and $y. Is this the range that you have budgeted for this position?” to confirm their expectations.


Author: Samantha Colbert, Successful Resumes Hong Kong
Edited by: jobsDB HK