It’s difficult enough to choose the perfect outfit and how to present yourself to a new group of people when you’re going into an interview. When you add in some difficult interview questions, you have the perfect recipe for anxiety.
According to JDP, a background check service provider for employers, 93% of job candidates experience anxiety before an interview. According to the study, the inability to answer a difficult question causes us the most anxiety.
Thankfully, those difficult questions from potential bosses or hiring managers don’t have to leave you white-knuckled and stuttering for an answer. Here’s how to respond to even the most tense questions with confidence, calm, and non-rushed answers.
Your greatest weaknesses: Be truthful
It’s never a good idea to lie in an interview. That’s why, while giving a sincere answer to all questions is important, knowing how to respond to those questions is also crucial. When they ask, “What are your flaws?” for example. You should be honest with them about a flaw you have…
No, this doesn’t mean telling them you’re a weekend party animal or that you once stole a pair of Claire’s earrings when you were 14. According to Katherine Metres Akbar, Founder and President of YES Career Coaching, you should respond with a weakness that isn’t critical to the job you’d be doing and some solutions you’re working on to improve this weakness.
You might be tempted to respond with a common “non-weakness,” such as being a “perfectionist,” but resist. That could give the impression to the interviewer that you aren’t sincere and aren’t taking the interview seriously.
Perhaps you’re so eager to get started on projects that you rush ahead without knowing all the details and end up getting ahead of yourself.
There are flaws in everyone. Don’t be afraid to talk about yours and be honest about it. An employer would prefer to hire someone who is aware of their flaws and actively working to improve them rather than someone who believes they are flawless.
Why you should be hired: Do your research
Do you remember the interview you scheduled for next week? Begin preparing right now. Preparing for an interview an hour or two ahead of time will result in rushed responses and ambiguous (if not downright inaccurate) responses to questions like “What do you know about us?” and “Why should we hire you?”
With that in mind, go over the job description thoroughly a few nights before your interview so you can truly match your skills to the description and match what you’re looking for with aspects of their company culture.
Relaxed, cool, and collected
Everyone becomes anxious. Even your interviewer will expect you to be a little jittery during your first meeting. But don’t let that deter you from getting ready. Taking a few deep breaths before the interview, going for a walk, and cutting out those three cups of coffee from your morning routine are all good places to start.
If you’re stumped by a question, take a deep breath, say, “That’s a great question,” and then respond. This brief pause will allow you to formulate a well-considered response. While it may be instinctive to say the first thing that comes to mind, everyone can benefit from a brief pause.
Keep in mind that they, too, are human
Interviews can be compared to a first date. Don’t spend the entire interview talking about yourself; a good interview should be a conversation between two people.
You should always have a list of questions ready for any interview. This demonstrates that you’ve read the job posting carefully and researched the company, and that you’re genuinely interested.
No, this doesn’t mean you should bombard them with questions to the point where they can’t get a word in edgewise, but it does mean you should demonstrate that you care, that you’re curious, and that you understand the job’s requirements.