500 Questions: Tough Questions, Part Three

What might your current manager want to change about your work habits?

The interviewer will want to know how you’ll fit in with your future manager and coworkers, and will also want to feel confident that he or she has uncovered any surprises about your corporate style. One good way to answer this question is to point out minor differences of preference. Alternatively, you might describe a weakness that you and your manager have worked on and improved.

If you found yourself getting burned out, what would you do to revitalize your energy?

Indicate that you work very hard but are disciplined enough to avoid burnout and that you recognize and prevent it by recognizing when you are not being productive. Coping with stress is part of any job, and one way is not to get so involved in a routine that you get overly worried when things need to change. You can also ask for new assignments to stay motivated and interested.

In five minutes or less, tell me why this company should hire you.

What an opportunity! Portions of what you will answer might have been covered in your answers to earlier questions, but here is a chance at center stage for five whole minutes! Develop a brief, to the point, convincing sales presentation about you!

What would you say if I told you that I thought you were giving a very poor interview today?

Interviewers like to ask stress questions like these to see how well you hold up under pressure. Stay calm, relaxed and don’t allow your confidence to be shaken. Ask if there was any specific part of the interview that the interviewer thought you might have mishandled. Question to see if there has been any miscommunication on your part. Then review any possible problems by asking for clarification. Once you have that, respond more fully and appropriately to the problem areas that were identified.

What sets you apart from the crowd?

Your answer should communicate self-confidence, but avoid sounding arrogant. Talk about observations other people have made about your work, talents, or successes. Showcase your dependability, strength of character, and professionalism.

Prove to me that your interest is sincere.

Your answer here can combine elements from your prepared responses to the questions “Why should I hire you?” Go beyond a superficial comment and truly demonstrate a passion for some aspect of the work.

I don’t know what I am looking for, but you don’t seem to have all of the experience I want.

This comment isn’t as bad as it sounds. The interviewer is really asking why they should hire you. This is the ideal opportunity to highlight the job-specific skills you possess and, of course, to ask what the interviewer is looking for. Once you have that answer you can cite the achievements you have accomplished and how they relate to the interviewer’s needs.