6 tricky interview questions and how to nail them like a pro

Job interviews are a tough nut to crack. There are many important things to remember like preparing an eye-catching resume, writing a cover letter, and learning about the company profile. However, that’s not all. The most important part is cracking the interview questions.

It is possible to judge if an interview has gone wrong if you come across any ‘trick’ questions, that could leave you stammering for the rest of the session. However, there are some actual ‘tricky’ questions that are so unnoticeable that you feel you’ve given a great interview, yet didn’t make the cut — the probable reason is, you didn’t answer the way it was supposed to be answered. While giving an honest answer is good, it is not always that helpful during interviews. So, here are some of those tricky questions and a complete guide on how to tackle them like an expert:

  1. Why did you quit your last job?

Whether you’ve left your previous job after a long haul or you made a quick jump, this question is one that can take most interviewees by surprise, albeit being one of the most frequently asked questions in all interviews. It is more than psychological than anything. You’re not supposed to downright criticize your employer nor give an impression about yourself that you’re not capable of taking a challenge in the workplace.

So, how to put it across in a neutral way? I bet you need to prepare for this very well. You can be honest in case you had to resign due to a downsizing or reorganisation. If this is not the case and you need to give the reason, try criticizing something that you couldn’t control. This could be something that you can’t do anything about, such as limited growth opportunity, underutilizing of your talent, or giving a false representation of your work process during the interview.

  1. Why are there so many gaps on your resume?

This is one question that you need to provide a well-prepared answer for. You, obviously, know about the reason for these gaps — so, just be prepared in advance for this question. However, if you were being lazy and did not go for any job, a rehearsed lie could be a lifesaver. The best possible answer you could give here is by stating what you were able to achieve during the time you were jobless — such as a certificate course that you did, a special skill that you picked up, a language that you learnt, a freelancing project that you undertook, and so on.

  1. Tell me some things that you like and dislike about your previous employer.

Think this question is easy? Think again. Just by hearing this, you’ll be able to identify that this is a tricky question and that you’re not supposed to point out the mistakes of your previous employer ruthlessly. However, you have to prepare well for this answer. Think about some good things about your old office. As far as your dislikes are concerned, you don’t have to be completely honest, but the interviewer certainly knows that no workplace can ever be perfect. So, you can discuss some of the challenges that you faced and how you overcame those challenges. Remember, the part about how you dealt with it is more important!

  1. Do you like to work independently or as a team?

Teamwork questions are particularly confusing, as most offices would consider working in a team to be very important. However, finding that you’re going to be alone in your designated position, if you say you like working independently, you may still not be the right candidate. Even if you’re not being hired to work in a team, you will have to work with a team or head a team. So, companies are more than likely to hire an applicant that prefers teamwork.

If such a question is asked, use words, such as ‘we’ and ‘us’ that give a hint to how much you love working in a team. For example, when you have to highlight something that your team has done in your old job, mention, “we have been able to achieve...”, or “we have implemented…” This gives a strong suggestion that you are happy with your team and that you were a part of your team’s effort in delivering an output that benefitted your organisation.

  1. Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Unlike most tricky questions, this one question is not there to test your mental aptitude. It is actually to see whether it is worth taking the time and painstaking effort in hiring and training you for the new position. Though you should never lie about anything during an interview, you shouldn’t be naive enough to blurt out that you’re going to start your own business in five years or moving to a different field altogether. For instance, if you’re applying for an IT job and seeing yourself as a travel writer down the line, your interviewer, most probably, wouldn’t be considering you for the position, as it requires immense effort, pain, as well as expense to train an employee only to see that you’re going to change career paths in just five years.

Instead, try keeping your answers more generic, expressing your enthusiasm in joining that company and stating about some of your long-term plans in that organisation.

  1. Do you have any questions for us?

While this sounds more like a winding up ritual than a question in itself, this is something that tests your interpersonal communication skills. An interview is not just about answering questions, but also asking questions about the role you’re undertaking or the company. Even if you don’t have a genuine question to ask, you should at least keep some questions handy to ask your interviewer. Some of them could be,

  1. “How long have you been working here?”

  2. “How do you enjoy working here,”

  3. “If I join, what would be my first week in this office be like?”

  4. “How is your vision about a successful employee, and if I’m hired, what can I do to make myself a successful employee here?”

Handling such questions need a good amount of anticipation and preparation, so that you can prevent those long awkward silences and the ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’. If you’re able to pull those off correctly, there’s nothing more to worry about.

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