How to Answer Those’s Really Tough Interview Questions

Enjoying a successful interview in today’s competitive technology job market can be a challenging feat. If you want to be prepared for your next interview, then you need to know how to answer the complex, questions your hiring manager is likely to ask the next time you apply for the job of a lifetime.  

Hiring managers aren’t picking complicated questions to stress you out or throw you off your game. Remember, like you’re looking for the perfect role, the company you’re interviewing with are looking for the ideal candidate. Those tough questions are your interviewer’s chance to get a deeper understanding of who you are, and what makes you a good fit for the organisation.  

Here, we’ll look at 5 tough interview questions, and how you can answer them.  

 

1. Questions About Co-workers: “How Did You Feel About Your Last Team?”

Most staff members won’t work in a silo, disconnected from the rest of the business. That means that when your hiring manager wants to see how you’ll work as part of a team, they’ll ask about your previous experiences with other employees. For instance, they might ask, “How did you feel about the people you worked with in your last role?” 

The key here is to stay away from negative answers. If you don’t have anything positive to say about your old coworkers, be honest and professional in your reply, such as: “We had a few debates on how individual projects should be handled; it’s natural I guess. I have always been a team player. In fact, on my last project I…” 

Emphasise how you developed your rapport building skills to connect with colleagues who communicated and worked in a different way to yourself.

Give examples of project teams that you were part of and what roles you had in the various teams
and what the outcomes of the projects were.

Remember that any interviewing manager knows that not everyone in a team will be ‘best friends’. What they are looking for is how you handle situations.

 

2. Questions About Failure: “Tell Me About a Time When You Didn’t Succeed”

During any interview experience, the hiring manager you speak to will want to assess your abilities, and how you’re going to impact the existing team, you are soon to be a part of. Though they’ll want to see examples of your achievements, and the things you might have accomplished in the past, they’ll also be interested in finding out how you respond to failure.  

No-one wins all the time.  

The key to being successful with your answers here is to think about how you can discuss what you learned from your mistakes. Explain how a previous situation went wrong, then tell your interviewer how you adapted to the experience, and what you’ve done to reduce the risk of similar problems occurring in the future. For instance, if you didn’t meet a deadline to implement a programme on time because a client was too vague with their specifications, you might have come up with a more intuitive way to ask for briefs from future customers.

 

3. Questions About Weakness: “Describe Your Biggest Flaw?”

This is another interview question that can be complicated and a challenge to answer. When you’re trying to make sure that you show your most “hireable” side to the business, it can seem counterproductive to highlight your flaws. However, with this question, your hiring manager is looking to see that you’re willing to accept your development areas and deal with them.  

Avoid telling your interviewer that you don’t have any shortcomings, or offer vague answers like “I’m a perfectionist”. Instead, be honest about the things that you’re not great at. Try to choose a something that isn’t going to be a deal breaker based on what you learned from the job description, then show the company that you’re currently focused on a process of self-development, intended to help you improve your skills and abilities.  

 

4. Questions About Motivation:

The purpose of an interview is for employers to understand more about candidates and how they will fit into the company culture as well as their fit for a role. A part of this will be finding out more about who you are, and what motivates you towards success.

Contrary to what many people think, salary isn’t the No 1 motivator. Yes, we all need it to support ourselves and families, and there is far more to this question.

The most common question you will be asked is “What motivates you?”, sometimes you may hear, “What’s important to you about the job you do and your career?”

This kind of question explore your “values”, and the interviewer is looking to see if your own personal values align with the values of the company you are applying to work for.

Examples of what motivates individuals are;  

  • Having interesting and meaningful work 
  • Being able to use their skills fully 
  • Opportunities to contribute outside their primary role responsibilities 
  • Development opportunities 
  • Working alone, or with others depending on the role 
  • Achieving goals 
  • Seeing a career pathway 
  • Personal and team recognition 
  • Having close working relationships with colleagues 
  • Flexible working opportunities 
  • Working with an inspiring manager 

While it can be easy to check out your prospective employer’s values on their website and
talk about things that relate to these values, if you don’t share these values
you are at risk of talking yourself into a role and company that you are likely to be unhappy in.

Be clear at the outset of any interview what is important to you about a new role and the company.

 

5. Questions about Goals: “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years”

Most employers want to know that the people that they hire have ambitions and passion. In other words, have an idea of what you want to accomplish not just in general, but in the context of your potential new role within a team.

Think about where you’d like your career to go if you were offered the job, and what you could do to improve your chances of reaching your own personal career aspirations. For instance, if you’re hoping to be a team leader in three years, how are you going to make that a reality? 

Although there’s nothing wrong with talking about how the company in question could support you to achieve your goals; don’t make it sound like your future rests entirely on your new employer’s shoulders. It’s up to you to make sure you can drive your own career growth. 

Interview Tips for Employers: Can they think for themselves?

Interview Tips for EmployersThe hiring process is time consuming and finding the right person for the job is hard. As an employer, you want someone who is able to think for themselves. To help employers define which applicants can do just that, we have provided some questions you can ask and the reasons why these questions are good to ask. They are also extremely helpful at consultant and managerial level interviews to identify who can think on their feet.

Improving the interview process

Asking applicants if there is anything they would do to improve the interview process, gives the interviewer the chance to see if they will happily speak up for themselves or not. If they come back with some improvements, it will not only help you to improve your interview process, but to see if they are happy to voice their thoughts and opinions.

In our experience, those who do not share their thoughts and opinions end up leaving a place of work when they get ‘fed up’ with things that are causing them problems. But as most of us are aware, managers and employers are not mind readers. Therefore, unless you voice an issue people are normally unaware of it. Additionally, for the applicants that do provide a response, it gives you the chance to see what their thought process is and how they work.

Reasons NOT to hire you

Applicants attend interviews, with the aim to sell the reasons TO hire them. So when they are asked to give reasons NOT to hire them, they are usually a little bit thrown by this question. But this is an important question to ask. It will highlight if the applicant is able to criticise themselves and has an awareness of their abilities and skills. Those who can criticise themselves logically and without emotion, are generally more successful as they are aware of both their weaknesses and their strengths. They therefore play more towards their strengths, but can identify and set aside time to focus on working on their weaknesses.

Any questions

The general question which most interviewers ask at the end of the interview is ‘do you have any questions’? From personal experience, we have noticed that those who are more dedicated to the opportunity do ask questions. Not questions about what time lunch break is, but questions about career progression. What the team is like and what to expect within their role. Questions which do not present the applicant as a ‘time watcher’ but as someone who wants to work for your company and see a career for themselves in the business.

For more advice, visit our employers resources tab now.

Resource On Demand (ROD) is Europe’s first specialist Salesforce Recruitment Agency. They were founded in 2007 and are highly respected across the entire Salesforce ecosystem. Their specialist areas of recruitment include; Salesforce (SFDC); digital marketing and marketing automation technologies, which include Eloqua, Marketo, ExactTarget and Pardot; Human Capital Management (HCM) technologies such as Workday and SAP HCM and SuccessFactors. For more information contact ROD on rod@resourceondemand.com or on 020 8123 7769.

Turn your interview rejection into an offer…now!

Here at ROD, we like to give a little and over the years we have shared all sorts of helpful information. In an ever increasing competitive market, we wanted to share our top tips on preparing you in the best way possible for your interview process.

So we have put together a handy PDF, which explains some key points to preparing for interviews and why you should do it, including a little secret we found out from our clients.

Click on the image below to enlarge it. 

interview advice