The answers to these tricky questions definitely need some planning and preparation. If you follow the advice, you can turn these scary moments into opportunities to let yourself shine. Mastering these responses can be key to your English job interview.
Tricky English Job Interview Questions:
- What are your weaknesses?
- Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work.
- Describe a decision you disagreed with.
- Tell me about a mistake you made.
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Why were you fired?
- Why was there a gap in your employment?
- Why did you change career paths?
- What do you like least about your job?
- What are your pet peeves?
What are Your Weaknesses?
The recruiter is trying to understand how self-aware and honest you are. Flaunting your shortcomings won’t help you here, but neither will claiming that you’re perfect. Choose to talk about a problem you recognise in yourself, and then turn the discussion to the steps you are taking, and how you are improving. For example, perhaps you are taking a course to work on your public speaking skills.
Tell Me About a Challenge or Conflict You’ve Faced at Work.
This question might seem like a hot potato, but take a breath and answer calmly and objectively. Likewise, using the STAR technique can help you to organise the story and explain it logically. Choose a situation where you played an active part in resolving the conflict. Focus on the steps you took to bring about a peaceful outcome. Similarly, focus on the resolution rather than the conflict. Talk about communication skills and how you avoid conflict at work. And of course, remain professional at all times.
Describe a Decision You Disagreed With.
Choose a story where you learned something from the experience. It is even better if the lesson learned applies to the job position. Tell your story using the STAR technique, then follow with the lesson you learned from the process.
Tell Me About a Mistake You Made.
This might seem like a lose-lose question, but your answer can put you in a favourable light. You can win points by showing that you are honest, self-aware, accept responsibility, and don’t blame others. Choose a story that shows you learned from the mistake and later took steps to avoid such problems in the future. Even though your answer won’t point to technical expertise, it can show maturity, self-awareness and a team spirit.
Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?
There’s a good chance you’ll be asked this question, so be ready. Don’t complain or criticise your past employer as you’ll look negative. On the contrary, accentuate the positive. Talk of your goals, ambitions, and your career plan. In the same fashion, explain how you consider their company, work environment, work culture to be ideal to your personal goals.
Why Were You Fired?
Of course, they may ask the follow-up question: Why did you lose your job? If you were laid off, an adequate answer is, “The company was reorganized, and unfortunately my position was eliminated”. If you were in fact fired, you should be honest, but focus on what you learned from the experience, the steps you are taking to improve yourself, and how much you have grown since then.
Why Was There a Gap in Your Employment?
If there is a gap in your CV, be prepared to talk about it honestly. Your answer can help your chances if done right. Of course, time off for education or upgrading skills has benefits. In much the same manner, you can find a positive side to other reasons for a gap. For instance, taking time off for taking care of aging parents shows compassion. A gap for travelling could show an ability to take on new challenges, and have an open, international focus.
Above all, remember that if you knew exactly the type of career you wanted, and the skills required, then it makes perfect sense to take time off to improve your skill set. In fact, this shows goal orientation and organisational skills. The key is to be comfortable, positive, and confident in your answer.
Can You Explain Why You Changed Career Paths?
This question is not as scary as it seems. Show them that you took the decision seriously. Tell them about your decision making process. Most importantly, tell them about how there are transferrable skills between the two jobs. Be proud of your ambition, your ability to see new opportunities, your self-awareness, and the path your career has taken thus far.
What Do You Like Least About Your Job?
Be careful. Don’t be overly negative. Don’t rant. Instead, focus on only 1 aspect about your previous job and show how that was part of the reason you are attracted to this position. Talk of the positive aspects of the new role having that important quality. You can also talk about other opportunities that the new role offers.
What Are Your Pet Peeves (What do you strongly dislike)?
Stay calm, and avoid being overly negative here. Choose something you dislike which the company culture also opposes. For example, if the company has a flat organisational structure, then saying that you dislike hierarchical companies and red tape should be well received. This question is an opportunity to show them that you will easily adapt to their company culture.