How To Answer 12 Of The Toughest Job Interview Questions

No matter how good we are at public speaking or with conversing with people, most of us get weak in our knees when it comes to nailing a job interview. However, we just get one shot to make a good impression; hence it is essential to master the art of answering some of the toughest job interview questions.

So, here’s a list of the 12 toughest job interview questions and how to answer them gracefully:

1. What Are Your Strengths?

This question weighs your qualities and strengths against the vacancy for the post. Make sure to include strengths such as leadership, managerial or communication skills which closely match the job requirements. In order to validate the strengths, give examples of your experiences where these strengths have helped you stand apart or create something of value. Remember, your strengths are your own; they make you unique from the other candidates.

2. What Are Your Weaknesses?

Recruiters are impressed by candidates who are willing to recognize their flaws and learn from them. But care should be taken to not mention any weaknesses that could hamper your chance to land the job. Present your weaknesses with well balanced examples and make the interviewers aware of your plans and strategies to overcome these weaknesses.

3. Why Are You Interested In Working With Us?

This question requires strong background research about the company’s operations, products and policies so that it becomes easy for you to frame an answer for this question. Go through the company’s website and LinkedIn page in order to get more information about the same. A good answer should reflect your knowledge about the company and the aspects that attract you to work for the company. You can talk about the company’s vision, work environment, product line etc. to highlight your level of research.

4. What Can You Offer Us That Someone Else Can’t?

Remember that there is a queue of well qualified candidates waiting to take your position right outside the interview hall. So, in order to ensure your selection you should exhibit a remarkable level of confidence. At the same time, be humble in your approach and do not brag about qualities that make you no different from the others. As the question suggests, come up with qualities such as adaptability, problem solving or decision-making skills, or some unique talent that only you possess, and make sure you back up these qualities with relevant examples of how you have showcased the same at work or outside it.

5. Tell Me How You Handled A Difficult Situation.

This question analyses your maturity level, experience and efficiency in handling difficult situations. Your answer should display your problem-solving skills and thinking ability, which will highlight your competency in dealing with such challenges in the future. Describe with an example how you faced a difficult situation and the techniques that you employed to solve the problem. Make sure you give context and background to your example.

6. Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years? Or 10 Years?

This question determines your goals in life while on the other hand, gives the interviewers an insight about the length of time you would be working for them. Do not give hasty answers as these would reflect that you do not value the job you are being interviewed for. Rather, give them a map of your career goals, describe the motivation behind these goals and discuss briefly how you are going to achieve them. Present them with a brief about how this job position is going to help you achieve these goals in 5 or 10 years.

7. Describe Yourself.

Do not go on describing your resume alone, rather make it a point to discuss things outside your resume. The resume already describes what you did, focus on the Why? For example, Why take up that particular job, why choose that particular Undergrad stream, what made you become the president of Toastmasters of your city, etc. Let the interviewers know about your qualities which would be of great help in the position you are being interviewed for. Describe how your qualities will serve as an asset for the entire team and the company. Also, go ahead and briefly describe your dreams, aspirations, setbacks, travel experiences etc., but avoid sensitive topics like health issues or substance addiction.

8. Why Should We Hire You?

Do your research regarding the qualities required for the particular job position and make sure you possess at least more than half of them. Filter out your best qualities matching the job requirements and convince the interviewers that you are the best fit for the job.  Present them with examples where you had successfully managed to achieve goals or solutions in difficult situations. Also describe your skills and experiences that would benefit the entire team and the organization, support them with sincere examples.

9. What Are Your Salary Requirements?

You need to be very practical while answering this question. It is better to have an estimate about the salary offered beforehand and place your demands accordingly. Do not ask for a very high salary or one which undermines you and the job as well. Talk to your friends and acquaintances who work in a similar role so that you can get a rough idea. If you have no idea about what they are offering, it is better to stick to a middle ground, which is inline with the job and your qualifications.

10. How Would You Deal With An Angry Or An Irate Customer?

This is where your qualities of patience, tolerance and good listening skills come into play. Accept the fact that you can never be perfect in your job; hence, mistakes and slip ups can happen on your part that could annoy some customers and also incur losses on the company’s part. While answering this question, keep in mind some major points like maintaining self-control, not shouting back at the customer, not making them wait too long and offering solutions as soon as possible.

11. What Motivates You?

Come up with straightforward and honest answers that actually motivate you to take up this job. Do not use clichéd one liners that do not match up to the expectations of the interviewers. Support your answer with examples from previous experiences where you invested your best efforts to achieve a goal and what motivated you to do that.

12. Who’s Your Mentor?

Describe a person who has actually helped you overcome obstacles; this may be your parents, friends, siblings or teachers. The key thing is to focus on how your mentor helped you rather than who your mentor was. Talk about the changes that came about in your life after you followed your mentor’s advice. This answer holds a very positive connotation in the interviewer’s mind, which in turn means that they could imagine you acting as a mentor in future, offering help to people in distress.

These were only some of the toughest questions that you could be asked in a job interview. If you want to know more about tough interview questions and tips regarding them, go through these 48 questions and answers for an easier ride. Good luck!

Abhyank Srinet holds a Masters in Management degree from ESCP Europe & has an engineering degree with a specialization in Instrumentation & Control. His interest in the digital landscape motivated him to create an online start up for Masters in Management application consulting (, focused on spreading quality information about the MiM degree & performing application consulting services for clients. He is the chief consultant of the company and takes care of Business Development and Digital Marketing side of the company. He is very passionate about writing and marketing.

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