How should you answer the 10 toughest job interview questions?

To clinch your dream job, you must endure numerous interviews. Believe it or not, most interviewers are not designed to trip you up. The interviewer is not looking for reasons to say no. They are looking for someone to do the job. The key is preparation - so do your homework, then sit back, breath normally and try and relax. Answers come a lot easier and more directed to the question at hand when you are relaxed.

  1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  2. This is one question you are going to get, so there is no excuse for being unprepared. It is also a good opportunity to sell your strengths and show that you are conscious of some shortcomings. You need to be able to demonstrate that you have a strategy in place to overcome any weaknesses.

  3. What do you know about our organisation and industry?
  4. The internet is a great information source and most companies have web sites - so research away!

  5. How do you keep abreast of new developments in the industry / field?
  6. Membership of professional associations, reading reports in the newspaper and networking are three obvious answers. If you want to appear really on the ball - back up your answer with a comment on a recent industry development.

  7. What is your understanding of the position you have applied for?
  8. By the time you get to the interview, you should be familiar with the job description provided by the company or your recruitment consultant. You could contact the HR person for more details or visit the premises to get a feel for the corporate culture. If there are aspects of the job you are unsure about, then do not be afraid to ask questions. Remember the interview is a two way street.

  9. What will you bring to the company?
  10. Put yourself in the manager's shoes. Would you hire yourself for this role? If the answer is yes, then sell your skills.

  11. What are your career goals?
  12. This question is designed to get an insight into how you see yourself. Keep your answer upbeat, but don't go into too much detail. Your answer should be appropriate to the position you are applying for.

  13. How did you handle / resolve a difficult / stressful situation in a previous position?
  14. Don't try to fudge this answer. This is aimed at eliciting a specific example of your demonstrated ability in this area. Focus on a positive outcome that demonstrates your ability to listen and communicate effectively with a broad range of people.

  15. Why did you leave your last job?

You may have left because the pay was abysmal and your manager was a raving lunatic but your prospective employer doesn't need to hear this. Never bag your previous employer or ex-colleagues, ever. Instead stress that it was your decision to leave and you did so to move forward.

9.What are your salary expectations?

Look up salary surveys on the internet - talk to people in the industry to get a feel for what you should be paid. When negotiating, it is important to know the difference between base salary and package salary. Package salary includes superannaution, holiday leave loading and overtime. You should never be pressured into naming your price. It is better to express a willingness to be paid at market rates, if you think you deserve more then back it up with some very solid reasons.

  1. Do you have any questions?

Always have questions but do not ask those already covered.

Source: the sydney morning herald - my career - Saturday, February 3rd, 2001

Always remember your consultant can be a great source of information and is here to help you achieve your job seeking goals - therefore feel free to contact us at any time with any of your questions. 9570 2411

If you have any questions or would like to give any feedback in regards to this newsletter, please don't hesitate to email me -

Michelle Novotny

Managing Director

Discovering People