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Pesky Interview Questions

Nov 11, 2010 Danielle Seymour

How to answer three basic and hard to answer questions at an interview.

Every time you go to an interview you get asked questions that you never thought of an answer for, or you just don't really know how to reply. To help ease your nerves, this list will consist of some basic questions that get asked at interviews, and how to answer them.

What are your strengths?

This question tends to throw people off at first because they don't really know what to say to that without feeling like they are overdoing it. The first thing one must remember is that an interview is basically you trying to sell yourself to the interviewer; you have to let them know why you are the best choice.

DO tell them that you have great customer service skills, that you are prompt, and that you are a fast learner. If you have great computer skills, tell them that, or if you're very good at taking direction. Just remember whatever you tell them, tell them your strengths that apply to the job. It's just like when you make a resume; you want to list skills that are appropriate for the job.

DON'T tell them that your strengths are that you like to work, that you are smart, or any generic answer. Try to tell them something about you that makes you stand out. Also, no telling crazy things like you have superpowers, or anything. Admittedly if you're applying to work somewhere like a movie theater, telling them you are like a Jedi could at least earn you a laugh.

What are your weaknesses?

This question doesn't come up as often, mostly because interviewers know people don't know how to respond. Some will still throw it in though. Keep in mind though that admitting you have a fault means you recognize that you are human. That being said, here's some do's and don'ts for that question.

DO tell them that you are flawed, even if you can't think of any. Be honest; tell them, “Well, I'm human so surely I have some weaknesses, but no one has told me what they are, and at the moment I can't think of any."

DON'T say things like “I have a habit of being horribly late” or “I prefer to take as much time as possible when doing something” or anything of the sort. Comments like this are a great way to tell a potential employer that you don't care about the job.


Can you give an example of when you have “managed” others?

This question comes in many forms, so it may be sprung on you at the last moment. Don't worry though, just relax and think a moment about when you have done anything similar to what the person is asking you. It does not have to be job-related.

For example, if you are asked to name a time when you supervised people, and you've never been one at work, that's okay. Think about the question in relation to your life – have you ever overseen a project, helped a group, or been in a leadership position where you were the person in control? That's managing people.

If you've never in your life been in a supervisor role or leadership position, tell the employer that. If you don't want to tell them you don't have any experience, instead tell them how motivated you are to learn and better your skills.

These are just three of the many questions that people have a hard time answering.