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The interviewer may ask one of those tough questions that you may not know how to answer during an interview. Therefore, it is essential to maintain your professionalism and respond to them accordingly. HOW you answer a tricky question is just as important as what you say when you give your answer.

Here are some tips on how to handle some of the five most common ‘tough’ interview questions you may be asked.

  1. What is your greatest weakness? – You always want to remain upbeat in an interview, focusing on your strengths. But how do you focus on your strengths when they’re asking you about your weaknesses? Never say, “I don’t have any.” Everyone has a weakness. Make sure to pick out something positive that you might see as a negative but that employers might see as a positive. For example, “I tend to work long hours, even on my own time, to get a task accomplished,” that tells the employer that you are a hard worker, perhaps at times to your detriment, however, it’s a weakness, but it’s also a strength.
  2. Tell me about yourself. – This is tricky because it doesn’t seem like a question. It looks more like an icebreaker – and it’s easy to drone on and on forever. The interviewer is not looking to have a friendly conversation – they want a two-to-three-minute summary of your experience thus far and why you are the best person for the job. If you’re unsure, think of it instead as “tell me something unique about yourself” –  a quick summary of your experience and education, as well as one strong quality that you have learned thus far to help you in your career. For example, ‘my business degree and experience supervising a team has made me a strong leader.’
  3. Why are you/did you leave your current position? – Don’t give them even if you’re leaving your current job for negative reasons. Instead, stay positive with every answer you provide and do not speak negatively about any current or past employer. Rather, keep the tone upbeat and focus on the positives of the job you are applying for and your desire to pursue a more challenging opportunity.
  4. Do you have any questions for me? – The answer to this interview question is always “yes.” Always have questions prepared for the interviewer, or it looks like you don’t care about the company. Even if this is true, you certainly don’t want to convey it to the interviewer. Instead, ask questions you could not have answered yourself with a quick online search. Ask the interviewer questions that no one but they could answer, such as “what do you like about working for the company?” or “can you describe the company culture?” Two or three questions are enough – you can usually gauge from the interviewer whether to ask that third question or stick to the two.
  5. Riddles – Sometimes you think you’ve come to the end of the interview, and then the interviewer may ask you an odd question such as “how many ping-pong balls can you fit inside of a minivan?”. They’re looking for how you answer as much as, or more than, what you answer. Try to develop a real solution, no matter how ridiculous it may seem to you. The interviewer is testing your problem-solver ability, so no joking or sarcastic answers here!


If you haven’t connected with an Employment Consultant at Job Skills, NOW is the time to get that one-on-one support you can use as you move through the new way of working. Call Job Skills toll-free at 1-866-592-6278 to connect to one of Job Skills’ experts.

Job Skills has more than 40 online workshops to assist you in your career exploration and job search situation. Watch for dates and times to register for any of our online workshops. We also have lots of excellent links and resources to assist you!

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