Friday, October 23, 2009

15 Toughest Interview Questions (and Answers!)

10. How do you explain your gap in employment?

Bad answer:
"I was so tired of working, and I needed a break,” or “I just can’t find a job.”

Employment gaps are always tough to explain. You don’t want to come across as lazy or unhireable. Find a way to make your extended unemployment seem like a choice you made, based on the right reasons.

Good answer:
“My work is important to me, so I won’t be satisfied with any old job. Instead of rushing to accept the first thing that comes my way, I’m taking my time and being selective to make sure my next role is the right one."

11. When were you most satisfied in your job?

Bad answer:
"I was most satisfied when I did well, and got praised for my work.”

Don’t give vague answers. Instead, think about something you did well – and enjoyed –that will be relevant at this new job. This is an opportunity for you to share your interests, prove that you’re a great fit for the job and showcase your enthusiasm.

Good answer:
“I’m a people person. I was always happiest – and most satisfied – when I was interacting with customers, making sure I was able to meet their needs and giving them the best possible customer experience. It was my favorite part of the job, and it showed – I was rated as “Good or Excellent” 95% of the time. Part of the reason I’m interested in this job is that I know I’d have even more interaction with customers, on an even more critical level."

12. What did you like least about your last job?

Bad answer:
"A lack of stability. I felt like the place could collapse around me at any time.”

Try and stay away from anything that draws on the politics, culture or financial health of your previous employer. No matter how true it might be, comments like these will be construed as too negative. Also, you don’t want to focus on a function that might be your responsibility in the next role. So think of something you disliked in your last job, but that you know for sure won’t be part of this new role.

Good answer:
“There was nothing about my last job that I hated, but I guess there were some things I liked less than others. My previous role involved traveling at least twice a month. While I do love to travel, twice a month was a little exhausting – I didn’t like spending quite so much time out of the office. I’m happy to see that this role involves a lot less travel.”

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