How to Handle Difficult Interview Questions
5 Tough Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
As we wrap up our series on tough interview question, we’ll address five questions that may come up and how to answer them.
1. Are you a team player?
Almost everyone answers yes to this question. But it is not just a yes/no question. You need to provide examples to back up your answer.
“Yes, I’m very much a team player. In fact, I’ve had many opportunities to develop my skills as a team player. For example, on a recent project…”
Emphasize teamwork behavioral examples and focus on your openness to diversity of backgrounds. Talk about the strength of the team above the individual. And note that this question may be used as a lead in to questions around how you handle conflict within a team, so be prepared.
2. Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or co-worker? How was it resolved?
Note that if you say no, most interviewers will keep drilling deeper to find a conflict. The key is how you behaviorally reacted to conflict and what you did to resolve it.
“Yes, I have had conflicts in the past. Never major ones, but there have been disagreements that needed to be resolved. I’ve found that when conflict occurs, it helps to fully understand the other persons perspective, so I take time to listen to their point of view, then I seek to work out a collaborative solution. For example…”
Focus your answer on the behavioral process for resolving the conflict and working collaboratively.
3. If I were to ask your boss or co-workers to describe you, what would they say?
This is a threat of reference check question. Do not wait for the interview to know the answer. Ask any prior bosses or co-workers in advance. And if they’re willing to provide a positive reference, ask them for a recommendation on LinkedIn. Then you can answer the question like this:
“I believe she would say I’m a very energetic person, that I’m results oriented and one of the best people with whom she has ever worked. Actually, I know she would say that, because those are her very words. May I show you her letter of recommendation?”
So be prepared in advance with your letters of recommendation.
4. If you had to live your life over again, what one thing would you change?
Focus on a key turning point in your life or missed opportunity. Yet also tie it forward to what you are doing to still seek to make that change. For example:
“Although I’m overall very happy with where I’m at in my life, the one aspect I likely would have changed would be focusing earlier on my chosen career. I had a great internship this past year and look forward to more experience in the field. I simply wish I would have focused here earlier. For example, I learned on my recent internship…” then provide examples.
Stay focused on positive direction in your life and back it up with examples.
5. What are the qualities you feel a successful manager should possess?
Focus on two words: leadership and vision. Then tell of how that leadership and vision translated into your personal delivered results. Here is a sample of how to respond:
“The key quality in a successful manager should be leadership-the ability to be the visionary for the people who are working under them. The person who can set the course and direction for subordinates, keeping them focused on what is most important for delivering the highest priority results. The highest calling of a true leader is inspiring others to reach the highest of their abilities. I’d like to tell you about a person whom I consider to be a true leader…”
Then give an example of someone who has touched your life and how their impact has helped in your personal development.