Friday, May 13, 2011

How to Answer the 5 Toughest Interview Questions You’ll Face

By Amy Levin-Epstein

Job interviews are a theatrical performance. In this case, a stutter could mean bad reviews — and cost you a perfect position. And in a competitive market, interviewers are inundated with qualified candidates, so they’re throwing out tougher questions than ever. Here are five of the toughest questions you may likely face during your job search — and how experts say you should answer them.

Tough Question #1: Why Should I Hire You?
How To Answer: Listen and learn, then use that information. “Throughout the interview, ask them specific questions on who they are looking for, what specific attributes stand out for them, discuss a day-in-the-life of the position, etc. Then once you understand their terms, their methodology, their process — you use those exact attributes in answering [that famous] last question, ‘Why should I hire you?’” says Laura Rose, founder of Rose Coaching.

Tough Question #2: What is your greatest fault?
How To Answer: Keep it relevant and simple. “Stay away from personal weaknesses, and don’t use a fake ‘weakness’ such as ‘I work too hard,’” says Charles Purdy, senior editor and career expert at If possible, mention something that you’re working to improve. Purdy’s example: “I am always working on improving my communication skills to be a more effective presenter. I found that joining Toastmasters was very helpful.”

Tough Question #3: What three historical figures would you invite to dinner and why?
How To Answer: If you’re asked a real off-the-wall question like this, the one thing you must do is remain calm. “When an interviewer asks you a bizarre or oddball question, they’re typically looking to see how well you think on your feet. Often, there is no ‘correct’ answer to what they’re asking…This is often your chance to incorporate a little humor into your answer or show your personality — so try not to stress too much about being ‘right,’” says Heather R. Huhman, founder and president of Come Recommended.

Questions 4 - 5 and Complete CBS Article

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