Wednesday, November 3, 2010

5 Job Interview Questions We Love To Hate

Inevitably in any job search you will be asked many questions. Some are better than others and some are despised more than others. If you have prepared yourself properly for your interview you will better navigate some of the tougher questions you will face. Below is a list of five of the most hated job interview questions.

5. Are you a team player?

What I think:

Not particularly. I tend to bully and isolate anyone who doesn’t agree with me. I like to be feared rather than be respected, it lasts longer.

What you should probably say:
The interviewer is looking for an answer that shows how well you work with your coworkers. You should use an example of how you have performed well completing tasks as a member of a team project at work, team leader, or how you helped solve some issue that you were not directly assigned to complete. No employer wants to hire an employee with TNMJ (That’s Not My Job) syndrome.

4. Have you ever had a conflict with a boss or superior? How did you handle it?

What I think:

Yes, I have. I called in sick to come to this interview.

What you should probably say:

This one is a little tricky but you can still navigate this mine field. If you answer no, the interviewer will automatically assume that your not being truthful. If you answer yes, depending on the circumstances you may be viewed as a problem employee. What you should illustrate here is some minor disagreement (such as working late)between yourself and your boss and what solution (coming in early) you came up with. I would probably stay away from any incidents that involved formal HR complaints or lawsuits.

3. Do you work well under pressure?

What I think:

Yes, I’m actually guaranteed up to 200psi.

What you should probably say:

Here the interviewer wants to hear what you consider being under pressure at work and what steps you took to still deliver results. Do you often work under short notice time sensitive deadlines? Are you calm and focused? Or do you stress out and hinder positive results? Most employers who ask this in the interview do so because they usually work under tight deadlines and need employees who will not crack under pressure.

2. If I were to ask your friends or former co-workers to describe you, what
would they say?

What I think:

They would say please hire me so I can stop asking them for loans I can’t repay.

What you should probably say:

Another tricky one. Under no circumstances do I want my friends having any input on my career advancement potential. Most of my friends I met when I was in college and trust me I would have been pickier if I knew my career was riding on those choices. So you should focus on your coworkers and the ways you have helped them out of a jam in the past. Your answer should display your willingness to go the extra mile and put in effort that is not outlined in your job description.

1. What is your greatest weakness?

What I think:
Weakness? Oh yeah. Raspberry filled Krispy Kreme doughnuts are like kryptonite to me.

What you should probably say:

Under no circumstances should you make the all too common error of framing a strength as a weakness (i.e. I’m a workaholic or stickler for details to a fault.). There are enough self absorbed narcissists in the world and employers are not trying to add another to their payrolls. What the employer wants with this question is to hear a real work related weakness. It shows that you are not another ‘flawless’ egomaniac. So you state a real weakness such as time management but also provide the steps you take to keep that from affecting your performance like keeping a detailed scheduled on your smartphone.

Although I would love to see how an interviewer would respond to how I think the questions should be answered, it is probably better if you prepare the more appropriate suggestions for your interview. The job market is too competitive to just casually show up for an interview and think you will get the job offer. Remember that if an employer calls you in for an interview it is because they are interested in hiring you. The purpose of the interview is to screen out candidates that are not a good fit for the company. If you put in the proper preparation you will be evaluating job offers and not wondering why you are not getting called back.

About the Author Leslie Drew has over five years experience interviewing job applicants, reviewing and evaluating thousands of resumes and job applications. Leslie provides free job interview tips to people searching for a job in this tough economy. Visit for more information.

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