Skip to main content

Difficult Interview Questions - Some responses

No matter how confident you are, being interviewed can be daunting.   Today, interviewing has become more structured and many interviewers ask a set of standardised questions, so that they can get a more objective view of the candidate.   It is a really good idea to have thought this through and to be ready with good, truthful responses that put you in a good light.

Some favourites are:

Strengths and weaknesses, conflict situations, what question should I be asking you and a success story. The examples below should give you some ideas.

Strengths for a Reception Position

  • I have a strong, clear speaking voice
  • I sound friendly when talking on the phone (I practised talking and smiling in front of a mirror)
  • I have a good memory for names, voices and faces

Weaknesses for a Sales Management Position

  • I find Admin is a bit of a challenge, but I have developed some personal models and strategies that enable me to be more effective
  • When sales aren't coming through, I get a bit demotivated, but I believe that sales is a science, and I work with my team to be constantly thinking about new ways of growing sales for the tougher times.
  • I can be impatient when stressed, and my awareness of this enables me to control it

Conflict Situations

Recently, I was working in a team of 5 on big project, with a very tight deadline.   After a few days, it was clear to 4 of us that one of the team members really wasn't pulling his weight.  We decided to sit down as a group to discuss it with him, instead of pulling in management, or getting angry.   We discovered that he was feeling extremely inadequate, as he had very little practical experience in the section allocated to him.   Some re-allocation, a little training and good communication allowed us to deliver our project to deadline.

What questions would you ask yourself if you were the interviewer?   And how would you answer?

Question:  What is your approach to change and learning new things?   
Response:  I love change, (I move my furniture around at home every 6 months), but it needs to be change that moves me or the company forward, so I am committed to change management processes.  Also I believe in life long learning, and while I enjoy going on training courses, I am constantly reading about general business as well as ensuring that I remain current with the drivers and trends in my areas of expertise. 

A recent success story

We took on a new client, and the Account Manager who brought in the business left.  When the client had a problem, they were sent from pillar to post, until I picked up on the call.  I was able to resolve the issue, and then followed up on a regular basis.   The client sent a letter to the CEO, complimenting me on my commitment, as well as knowledge, and what a difference it made to the success of the project.   I have attached  a copy to the back of my cv.

When advertising positions, most companies give some idea of the key performance requirements.  If they don't, do ask what they are when you are setting up the appointment.   Then when preparing your responses,  take into account what the company is looking for, and align your particular strengths with the key performance areas.  Remember to take your skills and expertise seriously, but allow the interviewer to see that you have a sense of humour, too.   




Ngoni Munetsi, at PeoplePlace, Sandton, offers a one-on-one 1 hour session on how to conduct yourself in an interview.   

Popular posts from this blog

Salespeople - Just Answer the Question.

How we love to elaborate…     Both in our personal and business lives.   It is rare to find somebody who simply answers the question.
In sales, it is becoming more and more critical to just say yes or no.   If you want to embroider afterwards, by all means, but tell the client you can or you can’t do it, first.

That’s what they remember, the yes or the no. Being married to an engineer, I have learnt that if I don’t answer the question, he simply repeats it, until he gets a definitive answer..
As the above is extremely bad for marital relationships, I try to say yes or no first and then give the details.

I thought it was just me, but I have been observing my friends and the people I work with, and it is fascinating how few one word answers are immediately available. When you are selling and a client asks you:
If the widget turns blue in the dark, say yes if it does, then ask if that is a key part of the decision making processIf they ask when you can deliver, give them a…

Hi, 22 year old me..

If I were 22May is my birthday month, so a time for celebrations and introspection. In interviews, I often ask our applicants to pretend they are 60, and look back on their careers.   Their dreams range from leaving a legacy to being able to retire by the age of 45. At 22, I had taken my first steps on the career ladder.   I had been promoted from being a PA and Installation Secretary (setting up PoS installations for NCR’s large retailers) to becoming a full time programmer. I had made some extremely poor academic decisions, and realised I had to make some very good career choices.   Software development was a relatively new field when I was in my early 20s, and it became an exciting and fulfilling career.Based on my history what advice would I give myself or a new graduate? It doesn’t matter what you have studied, or what your first job is. Keep looking for your passion, find what makes you happy. If it’s money, and you don’t mind being a little unchallenged, as long as there is eno…

3 things to do BEFORE you resign

or sign a new contract…
1.Confirm your notice period·A lot of companies allow 30 days from date of resignation, but many ask for a calendar month
2.Check your restraints·If you are joining a competitor·If you are joining a client
3.Find out when your last payment will be transferred·Companies have been burned by paying over on the 25th, and people not returning, so they may delay payment transfer until the last official working day, or even the first day of the following month.  You may need to make special arrangements regarding debit orders ….
Both your current company and your new one deserve to be fairly treated.   Knowledge of the policies makes this possible.
Even if the policies don’t make sense to you, you agreed to them when you signed your contract.
HR managers will tell you how many great working relationships are damaged because people don’t follow policy when resigning.It’s worth taking the time for many good reasons.  Building a solid career can depend just as much on how you …