Many interview questions are designed to eliminate candidates from the process, in particular if competition is tough.
Below are a list of interview questions designed to knock you out of contention and the best approach you can take to these tough interview questions, so at the very least you get short-listed for the job.
Why did you leave your last job?
This question is asked by recruiters and employers in order to eliminate job seekers who have something to hide about their last job.
Don’t tell them you were fired, got bored with the last job, and were not being paid enough, or that you hated the boss.
It is OK to tell them you were made redundant due to the downturn in your sector, or that you are looking for a fresh challenge, exactly like they are offering!
We all feel frustrated or angry at times. Have you ever resigned in frustration or anger?
If you tell them that you walked out on a job, then you will find yourself walking out of the interview, without a job.
When addressing this question, it is probably fine to state that you get frustrated at times, but that if you have personal or work-related difficulties, you have always managed to resolve them successfully without taking them out on people and you are resilient and don’t walk away from major issues or problems.
Describe the worst boss you ever worked for?
The number one rule is to never EVER run down your former employers. If you end up ranting and raving about an ex boss, this will result in your elimination from the selection process.
So when answering this question, focus on an example in which the boss was problematic for all employees and explain to them, how you easily resolved the issue with the boss and ended up with a good working relationship with your boss (as a result or your efforts of course).
Finally, don’t provide a specific name of the boss (just in case the person you are describing is the uncle, best friend, son of the person interviewing you).
Do you work well under pressure?
Nobody likes to work under intense melt down pressure, but don’t tell them that working under pressure leads to higher stress levels and lower performance levels.
With this leading question, always tell them you work well under pressure and that you are able to work in a productive manner and you have high energy and motivation levels.
It might also be a good idea to give them an example of how you managed to get a task done on an urgent basis and easily met time pressures.
Are you sensitive to criticism?
Of course we all hate criticism, but if you answer honestly, you will probably be eliminated, in particular if the position is one, in which negative feedback is part of the work environment.
The best approach is to state that you always take note of criticism and if it is valid, set about to improve your performance and if it is invalid, you don’t take it personally.
Have you ever broken some company rule?
Even if the company rule you broke, actually value added to systems and your employer, don’t tell them you broke a company rule, as this is another knock-out question. Some employers will view such behaviour in a very negative light, in particular in a work culture in which an individualistic approach or alternative way of doing things is viewed as heresy.
Instead just state, that your personal policy is to observe the rules, and that you consider company rules and procedures as necessary for the effective and safe running of a business.
Do you think you are being paid enough?
Tread with caution, as this question is really problematic. Answer with a no, and your anger and frustration might show up and they might eliminate you on the basis of their budget constraints. Answer with a yes, and you might end up under-selling yourself during salary negotiations.
The best response is to simply state that no matter how much people earn, they always strive for a higher figure as that is human nature. You should also add that you will be flexible during salary negotiations (but DON’T put a figure on the table at this stage or proceedings).