How to Answer Common Difficult Interview Questions

Answering the Top Five Most Difficult Interview Questions in English

Job interview questions can be unnerving and sometimes even uncomfortable for some people. And not only do you need to overcome your nerves, you also need to be noticeable and be intriguing to the employer. 

Being able to answer your interview questions with positivity and confidence and being able to effectively articulate yourself can definitely help you with that. 

Let me cite the five most difficult interview questions and talk about how to answer them well in English. 

I am sure that one way or another you have already encountered these interview questions during times when you interviewed for a job yourself. Or maybe you are in a line of work where you are the one who gets to do the interviewing. Let’s compare notes! And maybe you can post which among the five questions we will discuss is the most difficult for you. For me, I call a draw at both question number 4 and number 5. 

It’s important to note that there can be cultural differences and variations on how to address these questions, but what we will be discussing are applicable for the North American culture.  

Oh, and before I forget, I actually asked my previous bosses on their inputs about answering these interview questions. I got their advice plus some tips on what to do and what to NOT do in different situations. 

 I bet you are excited to read on and learn. Let’s get to it! 

Interview Question # 1: Tell Me About Yourself

Technically, this one is not a question. But this is one of the most common things an interviewer can say to get you to introduce yourself and to trigger the getting-to-know-you process in an interview. 

Don’t Answer: 

“I’m from Oklahoma. I have three sisters. And my most favorite food in the world is bacon.” 

Yes, the interviewer wants to get to know you. But he wants to do this in a relatable and relevant manner. Which means you need to keep your answers relevant to your skills and ideally to the job you are applying for. Connect your skills to your life experiences. Without sharing too personal and inappropriate information that could make your interviewer feel awkward. 

You Should Say: 

“I’ve been teaching English for twenty years already. I spent a great part of those twenty years travelling from one country to another to reach people and children who want to know learn about the English language.” 

Interview Question # 2: Why Do You Want This Job? 

This is another opportunity to highlight your skills and experiences in relation to the company you want to join. It’s in no way a chance to act self-centered and talk about yourselves. This is the moment you should share why you like the company and why you want to be a part of it. Impress the interviewer by researching about their organization beforehand. This will show genuine interest to the role and the organization. 

Don’t Answer: 

“Well, this job pays really well!” 

“I really need to get a job; I’ve been sitting around the house for far too long.” 

“I heard you give flexible work hours for your staff. I can come home on time and watch my favorite TV shows then.” 

You Should Say:

“I’ve researched and read a lot of good things about your company. I love the organization’s mission to teach more students proper English. I want to be a part of that.” 

Interview Question # 3: Tell Me About Your Work Experience

This is the right time to put a spotlight on your accomplishments. Don’t be shy but don’t be arrogant too. The right amount of confidence and self-assurance are what you need to present your best work to the employer. You can also draw attention to what you can contribute and bring value to if they make you a part of their team. And it definitely helps if you can add numbers to your achievements. Whether it’s sales revenue, customer count, rate of enrollees, and others. 

A word of caution though, do not exaggerate your accomplishments. Stick to what’s true and be proud of your successes. 

Don’t Just Say: 

“Oh, you know. The usual teaching work. I don’t think I’m anything special.” 

You Should Say:

“I speak fluent Spanish and Portuguese, and so in the previous school I worked for, I was able to help increase the enrollment rate of Latin Americans to twenty eight percent.” 

Interview Question # 4: What Is Your Biggest Weakness? 

Everyone has a weakness and if you think you don’t have one then either you are just hiding your shortcomings, or you don’t know yourself that well. You don’t want to give that impression to your interviewer. 

This is a tough question to answer and you need to be honest at answering this without pulling yourself down and shedding negative light on your personality. 

In fact, a strategic way of addressing this question would be to answer with a weakness that could actually still be perceived as something positive. 

Don’t say: 

“I don’t have any weaknesses.” 

“I’ve been known to fall asleep during work hours.” 

“I am talkative and that really distracts me from work… sometimes the whole day!” 

Instead, you can say: 

“I don’t like interrupting my momentum, so sometimes at work I forget to take a break or eat lunch. That backfires because then I get burned out.” 

“I get too focused on the tiniest details that sometimes I have to make myself take a step back to see the bigger picture.” 

Interview Question # 5: Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?

 You know when they say employees don’t leave companies, they leave their bosses or managers? Well, this is NOT the time to say or quote that! Especially when your interviewer could be your potential manager if you do get the job. 

Besides, it’s really unprofessional to talk down on your last boss, however miserable you were when you were under his management. It makes you look ungrateful and it will only reflect poorly on your character. Not on your old boss or old company. 

Instead, focus on a positive reason such as career growth and challenge. 

Don’t say: 

“My last boss was a %$##@!!!” 

“The last company I worked for was a hell hole.” 

“I hated my last job.”

You Should Say: 

“I have been looking for ways to grow in my career and I feel that this is the way to do it.” 

Whew! We survived those tough questions! Now before you head to your next job interview, let me wrap-up this article by sharing quick tips and pointers for you to ace that interview and get that job. 

  1. Speak professionally. Avoid slang words and you must definitely not use profanity. 
  2. Avoid fillers. Practice speaking so that you are more confident on what to say during your job interview. 
  3. Put your phone on silent mode during the interview to avoid disruptions. 
  4. To play or fiddle with your hair, skin or teeth. Don’t fidget. 
  5. Sit in a comfortable and neutral position. 
  6. Avoid sharing too much and unnecessary information, especially if these were not asked during the interview. 
  7. Do not lie on your cover letter and resume. And do not overexaggerate any content in your resume. 
  8. Dress appropriately. 
  9. Refrain from proactively asking or mentioning the pay or time off. That will come later if you do get considered for the job. 
  10. Make good eye contact with your interviewer. 
  11. Also make sure you offer a nice and firm handshake. 
  12. Be confident in your English and be sure that you will get your message across during the interview. 
  13. Smile. Look positive, comfortable and interested in the job, even if you are nervous and anxious during the interview. 
  14. When it’s the interviewer’s turn to ask if you have any questions for them, make sure you prepare at least one or two. 

You can check out some tips here on further boosting your confidence as you speak English. 

And let me also share some conversation killers you want to definitely avoid in your job interviews.

Don’t be shy to ask for help from friends and family so that you can practice how you answer those difficult job interview questions. And always end your interview in a positive note to give a lasting impression to your interviewer. 

Good luck and go get that job! 

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