500 Questions: Tough Questions, Part Five

Tell me about the problems that you have living within your means.

This question is meant to catch you off guard. Your best defense is first of all to know that it exists, and second to give it a very short response. Let your interviewer know that you are aware that few people are satisfied with their current earnings, and that as a professional you are continually striving to improve you skills and your living standard. Point out that your problems are no different that any other person or company.

Why aren’t you earning more at your age?

Accept this as a compliment to your skills and accomplishments. Indication that you have always felt that solid experience would stand you in good stead in the long run and that earnings would come in due course will diffuse this difficult challenge.

Tell me about a time when you put your foot in your mouth.

Answer this question with caution. The interviewer is examining your ability and willingness to interact pleasantly with others. The question is tricky because it asks you to show yourself in a poor light. Your answer should downplay the negative impact of your action and end with positive information about your candidacy.

What interests you least about this job?

This question is potentially explosive, but easily defused. Regardless of your occupations, there is at least one repetitive, mindless duty that everyone groans about and that goes with the territory. Use that as your example.

What are some of the things you find difficult to do? Why do you feel that way?

Remember anything that goes against the best interests of your employer is difficult to do. If you are pressed for a job function you find difficult, answer in the past tense. That way you showed that you recognized the difficulty, but that you obviously handled it well.

Wouldn’t you feel better off in another firm?

This question isn’t as bad as you might assume. It is usually asked if you are really doing quite well, or the job involves a certain amount of stress. The trick is not to be intimidated. Your first step is to qualify the question. Relax, take a breath, sit back, smile and say, “You surprise me. Why do you say that?” Then answer “no” and explain why.