Today, we’ll be facing some of the toughest interview questions most soon-to-be and recent graduates struggle to answer. Lucky for us, our HR Specialist, Mónica Senín, has taken some of her precious time to provide us with out-of-the-box responses to these 7 questions! Settle in for some Q&A!
We all know how the interview stage is one of the most difficult steps of the application process. Just the idea of being interrogated by a recruiter, either face-to-face or online, while having to give out amazing answers can definitely be overwhelming. This being said, it’s vital to properly prepare for what's ahead of you. Being ready for curveballs before they’re thrown at you means your responses are miles better than they might be if you think of an answer on the spot.
This question is difficult because it can come in different ways, such as “why should I hire you?” or “why did you apply for this role?”
In order to answer it properly, make sure to have a set answer in mind. Be sure to state at least 3 topics when responding to it. It should include:
Your soft skills and how they apply to the role you want to pursue;
Your hard skills and it’s connection to the position;
The correlation between your values with the company ones.
If you are applying for an Account Manager position with an advanced level of German, you are going to explain how your softs skills, such as listening, negotiation, and visual communication play an important role when dealing with your clients. If you haven’t had any work experience yet, you can always explain how these same skills you learned throughout university would help you in the process of securing new clients.
Likewise, you’ll continue your response by mentioning how your hard skills, such as German & English, were a crucial tool to make clients trust you and feel more comfortable networking with you. This is the part where you demonstrate your language skills or any other hard skills that are vital to the position you apply to.
Finally, you will state your values and how they are deeply connected to what the company believes in. For instance, if the company’s mission is to help people relocate across Europe, then you will mention how you are an expat yourself and how you appreciate the organization’s goal in assisting people with that necessity (make sure to give them some real-life examples).
You’ll most likely be asked this question at least once in your life during an interview. This being said, it’s better to plan the perfect response ahead.
Depending on your answer, it will show if you’re self-aware and if you practice self-reflection. Being able to identify and understand your strengths and weaknesses is a valuable quality to have. Using an answer such as “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” is all too common and most of the time not very accurate. As Mónica points out, “employers don’t believe that everyone works too hard.” Recruiters will be able to sense how sincere your answer is, and this one doesn’t normally cut it. On another note, it’s important to give an example of how you are working on overcoming that weakness.
Explain that at times you aren’t 100% sure how to manage your time when multiple tasks are laid on you. Nonetheless, ensure this doesn’t affect your performance. Instead, you create and organize your schedule based on top priorities, and then speak with your supervisor for some constructive feedback.
Recruiters often ask this question to understand what type of candidate they are dealing with and if there is a possible fit for their team. It also serves to understand what you’re looking for in a boss and what kind of guidance you’ll be requiring. With this in mind, know that there isn’t only one correct answer. All companies and consequently, teams, are built differently.
Don’t try to explain yourself too much. You don’t want to look like a fussy person. Tell your interviewer two or three skills you would like your manager to have and explain the reason why.
For instance: “I would appreciate working with a manager whom I can talk to and share my ideas with. Ideally, that person would have very good communication skills and also would ask for his team’s opinion when making strategic decisions. I also value when my manager gives me feedback on my work, so that I can improve and grow as an employee.”
This is a tricky question because if from one side employers want to know that your salary demands are reasonable, from the other side, they are able to see how much you value yourself and your competencies.
Before giving out the digits, conduct some research to understand how much a person in your sector is usually paid if they were in your same spot (junior, senior, assistant, etc). To be safe, use this research as a guide and express your willingness to negotiate your pay scale.
This is one of the most asked questions in the entire world! However, although it sounds silly, it shows the recruiter you have a set plan instead of just letting life guide the way. Of course, we’re speaking about your professional life, not other aspects of it.
You should let the employer know you would be willing to stay at the company for a substantial amount of time rather than “I’m not sure how long I’d like to stay here” - you don’t have to promise you’ll stick around for 20 years, but on the same note, an employee who is only planning to stay a year might not be the most appealing candidate, either. Remember, there are always 2 sides to the coin.
"Within five years, I would like to become the very best Web Developer your company has on staff. I want to work toward becoming the expert that others rely upon. And in doing so, I feel I'll be fully prepared to take on any greater responsibilities which might be presented in the long term. For example, here is what I'm presently doing to prepare myself…"
This is key! You should always study and research the organization you have an interview scheduled with. Many people make the mistake of only preparing answers related to themselves or the role, and completely forget the company as an entity.
Employers want candidates who are interested in their mission, not just in the salary they will be receiving. So, when a recruiter asks you “what do you know about our company?”, you better be prepared.
According to Mónica, it is important to explain your understanding of the company's motives, services, and products. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about it if something isn’t clear. Your response’s objective is to show interest, that you actually cared to look at what they do & are experts in.
“From what I’ve seen, you are a multilingual job board for candidates within Europe. You also have a blog featuring content about career advice and relocating abroad. Also, I am interested to find out if as a company dealing with candidates from many different companies, are you an international company or are you just based in Barcelona? Do you have any plans for expansion?”
Make sure to ALWAYS have a few extra questions up your sleeve. Why? It demonstrates that you feel involved in the conversation and want to learn more about the opportunity that has been presented to you.
Something important to remember is: listen carefully to everything the interviewer is saying and all the information provided. You definitely don’t want to ask repeated questions or inquire about something that has already been explained. Some of the most important questions that will also show the recruiter you're serious about the job include:
Questions about the role:
1. What do the day-to-day responsibilities of the role look like?
Through this question, you'll see how the company functions, find out what your day would look like, and understand how much you'd enjoy the pace of the company and the tasks you'd be assigned.
2. How do you measure success in this position?
This will help you understand the kind of goals you will be expected to reach.
3. Are there opportunities for professional development? If so, what do those look like?
This question is great for finding out the available growth and development opportunities. Any company that doesn't have these should be a red flag that this might not be the right company to work for.
4. Who will I be working most closely with?
Knowing the size of your team and getting an idea of what your working environment will be like is a big part of measuring how you'll enjoy working at the company.
Questions about you as a candidate:
5. Is there anything about my background or resume that makes you question whether I am a good fit for this role?
Asking this question is a great way to show your enthusiasm for working at the company and eliminate any doubts the recruiter might have. Be prepared to come up with some quick answers though, as you want to be able to confidently reply to this question in order to prevent reinforcing these doubts in the employer's mind.
Question about the company
6. How are the company's values applied on a daily basis internally & externally?
Again, having some understanding of what your working environment would look like is really important before you start at any company.
7. What’s your favourite part about working at the company?
By asking this, you will hopefully get some insight into employee satisfaction. If the interviewer hesitates when answering this, it might not be the best sign.
8. Where do you think the company is headed in the next 5 years?
If you're looking at staying at a company long term, you'll want to make sure that you know that there are plans for growth and stability.
9. What are the biggest opportunities and/or challenges facing the company/department right now?
Know what you're getting into. Although an employer would never explicitly tell you your team is falling apart, you'll be able to get the gist of how well your potential team is working by asking this.
Questions about the interview process
10. What are the next steps after this interview?
This is one of the most important questions, but also one of the questions that are most likely to have been answered already. We've included it because if this hasn't been explained to you, you should know so that you will be able to prepare for any following stages if the initial interview goes according to plan.
Whilst you want to make sure you’re prepared for an interview, don’t overthink it. You want to come across as natural and sincere as possible, rather than as if you’re reading off a flashcard. Be honest and astute. Know what type of answer the employer is looking for and adapt yours around that. We hope you enjoy ready about the 7 Tough Interview Questions and Their Answers. If you believe a friend could benefit from it, make sure to share it with them.