How to Tackle Tough Interview Questions

Even after being shortlisted, most people still fail to make it past the interview stage in their job-hunting missions. Why is this so? It is because they fail to impress employers. Most potential job candidates have poor interview skills causing those responsible for hiring to overlook their experience and outstanding academic credentials coupled with well-written cover letters and resumes/CVs. It is not easy to get a job interview invitation and as such every lucky job applicant needs to seize this special opportunity and make the most out of it by convincing an employer that indeed he/she can perform better in the job for which he/she has been shortlisted.

Human resource managers or personnel are known to throw hard-hitting, awkward questions at those they are interviewing. They often do so not to intimidate their subjects but to learn their capabilities, weaknesses and to know something about their career history. The key to success in every interview is to know how to respond well to these questions. Here are a few common questions you are likely to encounter during an interview and how to respond to them in a manner that will see you excel.

Why Is There a Huge Gap In Your Employment History?

First of all, before you can answer this question, you need to understand that it is natural and acceptable to have a gap in your employment history because everyone has at one point in their careers been out of work or been between jobs for various reasons. When you are asked this almost inevitable question, ensure that you give an explanation about everything to your advantage. Any type of experience you deem relevant to professional growth would be an excellent example to give, for instance; taking time off employment for further studies, freelancing or even working independently. The worst explanation that most candidates give is retrenchment or dismissal. Any of these will not help justify why there is a gap, perhaps even a huge gap in your work history.

Why Should I/We Hire You?

This is another almost inevitable question during an interview. It is a tricky one to answer as you may easily portray yourself as either boastful or desperate. When giving an answer to this, mention your abilities and match your skills to the job in question backing up your explanations with job relevant examples. Words like ''I am a hard worker'', ''diligent'' or any other that is common will bore your interviewer to pieces making him/her consider you as ''Just another'' interviewee. Try to impress your interviewer and show him/her that you are different from the rest by mentioningyour most unique strengths and skills.

Tell Me/Us about Your Greatest Weakness?

This is another tricky yet common interview question. While everybody has a weakness, think critically before you give an answer. Make sure that the weakness is not something that would interfere with the manner in which you can perform your job and don't forget to mention that you are doing something about it.

Why Do You Want this Job?

Every employer wants to hire someone who is passionate about the job at hand. Because of this, you need to have a good answer for this question. First, figure out a few key factors which make the position a great fit for you. For instance, ''I love this role because I am enthusiastic about human interaction and the satisfaction which comes from assisting people in solving their problems'', then share why you love the company. For instance, ''I have always been passionate about hospitality and I think you people are doing wonderful things, making me want to be part of your company. Avoid answers like, ’’I want to earn this salary that your company offers for this job’’

What Is Your Biggest Professional Achievement?

Nothing markets you to employers better than a proven track record of achievements in previous jobs. So when given an opportunity to share your achievements, you should be more than eager to do so. A great way to respond to this question is for instance, ''I worked for my former employer for 3 years and managed to successfully develop and implement a new system for reconciling bank statements and together with my team members I was recommended by my boss.


Regardless of the kind of questions that an interviewer may throw at you, the key is to support your answers and to figure out how your experience and skills apply to the job at hand. So long as you are smart, calm and well prepared, you will be sure to excel.