How to Handle Unexpected Interview Questions


Why do you want to work here? How did you hear about us? What are your career goals? There are common job interview questions everyone knows how to answer, and then there are the uncomfortable job interview questions no one wants to face. You can do weeks or months of prep work for job interviews, and yet still find yourself at a loss when you’re asked why you were let go at your last job, why you’ve taken years to finish that degree or whether you’d take a position with a competitor if it were offered. No matter what the difficult interview question, there’s one good answer, and it often has less to do with what you say than how you say it.

Badly Behaved Interviewers Explained

Ever wondered why a job interviewer will ask a reasonable question; then follow it up with a curveball question that catches you off guard? The key is the last part of that sentence: Interviewers ask you difficult or surprising questions in an attempt to rattle you out of your best behavior and to see how you handle pressure. Your success in answering the question is as much about how you answer the question as what you answer; keep your cool, and answer as honestly and professionally as possible.

Know Your Weaknesses

If you’re rolling your eyes right now at the very idea of answering difficult job interview questions honestly and professionally, stop and keep on reading. It’s not difficult to keep an even keel during hard interview questions if you can anticipate your weak spots and have a practiced answer. Think back on your job and educational history with an eye to the flaws that interviewers might notice: spotty job performance; a firing; so-so transcripts. What interviewers are interested in hearing are the steps you have taken to correct problems you’ve encountered in the past. So if you were fired for absenteeism due to lack of transportation, explain that. If your job history has gaps of unemployment, give a reasonable explanation.

Doing all you can to prepare for job interviews, but still not getting hired? Can never get past the front door due to your lack of job experience? Don’t flounder alone in your job search — Staffing Partners’ temporary employment gurus want to help you succeed! We’re here to help you with every step of your career goals, from building a resume to building a network of great employers in your field. Come talk to us today to see what success looks like from the inside!

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