June 8, 2014

9 Tricky Interview Questions And What They Really Mean

Congratulations. Your resume and cover letter have made the cut. You’re heading to the interview round. Be careful. This is where it all gets a bit tricky.

Job interviews are your first face time with the company. Up until this point all of your communications have been through email, phone calls, or snail mail. Now the company wants to know what you’re really all about. So what are they going to do? They are going to grill you with tricky interview questions.

You’ve probably heard of crazy, off the wall interview questions that are meant to throw you off. Or maybe you’re fearing the illegal interview questions? But often the basic questions they ask may be designed to trick you.

When you’re in the hot seat, beware of these tricky interview questions:

  1. “We look at your resume and there appear to be a few gaps. Can you explain?” – Employers really want to know if you’re lazy. If you can fill in your employment gaps with volunteer work, traveling, or other productive outlets, then this one is easy.
  2. “How would your enemy describe you?” – This is just another way of asking about your weaknesses. It’s a common interview question that you’ll get in nearly every job interview. Be ready.
  3. “What would you change about your previous jobs?” – What were your gripes about other jobs you’ve had? Can you explain any frustrations in a professional manner?
  4. “Explain your industry/company/product to someone who knows nothing about it.” – This one is easy as long as you have done your research. It’s a true test of your communication skills and understanding. The recruiter wants to see if you can explain what you will be doing in every day terms.
  5. Tell me about yourself.” – A true classic. This isn’t a rehash of your outstanding resume. Tell the recruiter something they don’t know. Say what you need to say. Don’t go overboard.
  6. “Why should we hire you?” – They really want to know why are you better than all of the other applicants? Be able to back your skill set up up with specifics from your research.
  7. “If you won the lottery, would you still work?” – This question is designed to see if you’re just in it for the paycheck or if you are actually passionate about what you do.
  8. “Describe your perfect job.” – It might be a good idea to describe the job you are applying for. If you get a bit ambitious, then describe where this job could take you.
  9. “Do you know anyone who works here?” – This might be a good time to name drop. If you do, you better be sure that the friend you mention is a reputable character.

We found most of these interview questions on Smarterer.com. You can also check out a few more tricky interview questions at Forbes.com.

The more you can prepare for an interview the better. There are some tricky interview questions you can’t prepare for. If you get stumped by a tricky interview question, take a deep breath and do your best. Good luck!

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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