Interviewers love to throw difficult questions at applicants. Some people just like to see you squirm.
But it’s mostly a way to see how prepared you are; it’s also an attempt to get an unrehearsed answer.
The solution? Rehearse your answer.
What kinds of people do you have difficulty working with?
First, don’t point out that the interviewer ended a sentence with a preposition — that won’t go over well. But absolutely do not get drawn into the trap of complaining about people with whom you have worked. The interviewer will sympathize, laugh at your stories, and then not hire you.
Instead, tell the interviewer that you have had issues working with people who don’t communicate well, such as a manager who doesn’t take the time to keep in touch with people outside his or her group. Explain that by going out of your way to initiate contact with this person, and showing genuine interest in his or her issues, you brought this manager around and established a great relationship.
Now you sound like a problem solver with great people skills.
Why do you want this job?
This is a difficult question because the usual, true answers — I’m unemployed and need to pay the rent; I hate my current job; this job pays more; I need to move closer to my boy/girlfriend — are not what the interviewer wants to hear.
What they do want to hear is, why do you want this particular job? And any good answer will specifically address both the position and the company. This position represents the best next step for me in my career. I have researched a number of companies, and this company will offer me the best opportunities. I believe in what you’re working to accomplish, and I want to be part of that.
Sounds like you’re sucking up? News flash — that’s what a job interview is.
What kind of salary are you looking for?
It’s a perfectly reasonable question, and it’s grueling. Say something too low, and you either lose the job or get paid less than you’re worth. Mention too high a figure, and you’re out of the running.
Here’s the trick — turn it back around. I’m afraid I’ll need more information about the precise title and responsibilities. What is the budgeted salary range? Ahah! Got ’em!
I’m looking at your resume, and don’t you think you’re overqualified?
Worst. Question. Ever. Fortunately, there is an answer, if you haven’t already been asked why you want the job, because the answer is the same. Focus on the position itself, and that you would find it enjoyable and meaningful. Talk about the company, and how much you want to be part of it. Tell the interviewer that unlike less-experienced hires, you will hit the ground running and bring added value to the firm.Difficult Interview Questions -- and Answers by Erik Even