How to Answer the Toughest Interview Questions
You know they're coming: Those seemingly unanswerable questions that pop up during job interviews.
You can't clam up. And you don't want to stutter and stammer. So what's a job seeker to do?
The "Future" Question
Otherwise known as the "big picture" question, the future question goes something like this: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"
The best tactic: Talk about your values.
Don't get too detailed about your specific career plan. Instead, discuss things that are important to you professionally and how you plan to achieve them. If growth is a goal, mention that. You can also talk about challenge, another value that employers prize in their employees.
The "Salary" Question
Most people will tell you that whoever answers this question first loses. But that's not necessarily true.
When an interviewer asks your salary requirement, try first to gently deflect the question by inquiring about the salary for the position.
If the interviewer presses you for a number, give a range. To decide on a range, think about the salary you want, your salary at your most recent position and the industry-standard salary for the job.
The bottom line: The salary question is one of the most important, so you should prepare for it in advance and plan what to say.
The "Why" Question
There's a fine line between boastful and confident. And you need to learn it.
When an interviewer asks you why they should hire you, you're going to speak confidently and honestly about your abilities. But you should avoid sounding overly boastful.
Aim for earnest and prepare by practicing. That's right: Stand in front of the mirror and acknowledge your abilities and accomplishments to your reflection. Tell yourself: I have a very strong work ethic. I have integrity. I have excellent industry contacts. I aggressively pursue my goals.
It's sometimes hard to praise yourself, but after a few sessions you'll sound sincere.
The Seemingly Silly Question
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be? What if you were a car? Or an animal?
These type of questions can bring your interview to a screeching halt.
First, don't panic. Pause and take a deep breath. Then remind yourself that there's no "right" answer to these questions. The job isn't hinging on whether you choose to be a spruce versus an oak.
Interviewers usually ask these questions to see how you react under pressure and how well you handle the unexpected. It's not so important what type of tree (or car, or animal) you choose as that you explain your choice in a way that makes you look favorable.
So, be a spruce -- because you want to reach new heights in your career. Or be an oak -- because you plan to put down roots at the company. Either way, you'll get it right.