Five of the most difficult interview questions – and how to answer them!
As if people don’t find job interviews terrifying enough… it turns out that one of the most fear-inducing questions you could be asked in your next interview is what kind of fruit you would be and why?
Here, according to a survey of 2,000 people by the Association of Accounting Technicians, are five of the ten most difficult questions to get from prospective employers, along with our tips on answering them.
1. What are your weaknesses?
This is so often the most dreaded question for job candidates, but the simple key to answering this question is to be honest (and yet clever). You want to be honest about any weaknesses, preferably with some examples to back up what you’re saying, but you need to make sure that you go on to mention what you are doing to overcome your weaknesses. Ultimately, the aim is to present yourself as self-aware, thoughtful and most importantly proactive about your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Describe yourself in three words
When asking a question of this type, the interviewer is generally trying to find out what you think about yourself. When thinking about your answer, it is important that you provide something which is logical and positive, but without bragging or lessening your value. Get thinking about example situations (referencing professional/academic achievements) which you can use to back up positive words bringing out your most positive characteristics.
Think about words such as: “Hardworking, loyal, quick-learner, team-player, efficient, self-motivated and self-confident”
3. If you were a fruit or vegetable what would you be and why?
This might sound like a question from a terrible dating program, but these sorts of questions are actually asked, so you might as well prepare an answer! It is actually an invitation for you to showcase your skills and qualities. You should take a question like this as an opportunity to talk about any aspect of your personality that you think the employer would be impressed with. Just think about one of your strengths which is required in the job or industry and which could be embodied in a fruit/vegetable. It’s easier than you think!
“I would probably say an apple, because apples are pretty versatile, they can be juiced, baked, eaten on their own, or in fruit salad. Similarly I am very versatile and can perform well in different situations, on my own or in a team.”
4. Why should we choose you for this role?
In asking this question, the hiring manager is looking for a succinct answer which can demonstrate what sets you apart from the other candidates. This is where you need to think of your most impressive and unique strengths, while ensuring that they closely relate to the job description. Use these to pitch yourself in a way that clearly illustrates the skill set and qualities you bring to the table.
5. What has been your greatest achievement?
This is the perfect opportunity to give an example which shows how well you can do the job. Think about the skills detailed in the job description and which of your accomplishments most directly relate. The goal is to convey to the hiring manager not only your past successes but also what you are capable of accomplishing if offered the job.
For the full top 10 list, see: A study of 2,000 people by AAT