The secret to handling tough interview questions is twofold. First, do the work ahead of time that would prevent questions from being tough in the first place. Second, create an action plan that you can execute for all interview questions that come your way, one that can turn even the most challenging question into an easy answer. Before you can prevent interview questions from posing a challenge, it's important to understand for yourself why interview questions are tough.
Some questions are tough interview questions because they ask you to talk about things that you don't have enough experience with to discuss adequately. Other interview questions are tough because they surprise you; you might be able to answer them easily if you had some time to think about them, but not on the spot in a job interview. Some interview questions are tough because you aren't exactly sure how to respond to the question. You are asked to make a judgment call, and don't really have enough information to be sure that you are answering it in the most effective way to get the job. Luckily, all of these issues can be addressed with a simple four-step process for interview preparation.
Eliminating Tough Interview Questions
To prevent yourself from being asked tough interview questions in the future, prepare for the interview by researching, predicting questions, developing answers and practicing those answers. Research means finding out as much as you possibly can about the company, through as many sources as you are able. At the very minimum make sure that you know the duties of the job, the results that the company desires for the job and the personal characteristics the company is looking for. Putting all of these desired elements onto a list can help you with the next step, predicting the questions that you will be asked. If you know what the target company is looking for, you have a head start on predicting what they will ask. Namely, the questions which reveal the information that they are looking for.
Since you know what the questions you will be asked are, they aren't as likely to be tough interview questions anymore. So now you can start to develop our answers for them. To do that simply take the desired elements that the company is looking for and thinking of how you would make the case that you have a those attributes based on your own job and personal experience. This answer should consist of both a straight informational answer, and an example that dramatizes or demonstrate how you have exemplified that element in your work history. Spend some time practicing the answers with a friend, preferably in front of a video camera. This will give you the ability to answer any question in this format, and turn even the toughest job interview questions into opportunities to display your skills.
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