Job interviews are always stressful. You’re wearing an uncomfortable suit and shoes that pinch, and you’re being grilled by a person who could decide your future. Even in the most friendly, non-confrontational interview setting, it still feels like your education, experience, and even your very character are all being called into question, and if you suffer from interview anxiety, are shy, or get nervous easily, you could easily come off as unfriendly, inexperienced, and not right for the team. Here are a few tricky interview questions you need to be on the lookout for, and how to answer them in a way that will show you’re a great contender for the position.
1. What is your biggest flaw?
This is a tough one. Everyone hates this question. No one should ever answer this question too honestly, because no interviewer needs to know that you are only in this for the paycheck, or drink too much at lunch. Whatever your biggest flaw is, you need to make sure you don’t blurt it out without context or finesse. At the same time, it’s a bad idea to come up with an obvious lie like “I work too hard” or “I live for the job.” Hiring managers can see right through that. What you need to do is give the truth, but with a twist. If you’re disorganized, don’t talk about how your desk is a mess. Instead, give specific examples on how you combat your organization problem. In short, don’t tell them your flaws. Tell them how you overcome them.
2. What is your ideal work environment?
This one is tricky because if you give a scenario that is the complete opposite of how their environment is–say, you prefer to work alone but the job necessitates collaboration–they may think you’re not right for the job. Without knowing how the team operates, it’s hard to tailor an honest answer for this question. The best option is to create a specific, yet non-committal, answer that makes you sound genuine but still allows for some flexibility. For example, state that while you prefer working in groups, some alone time is great for you to collect your thoughts. Or that you want a work environment that is consistent yet allows for you to challenge yourself professionally. You want to turn the answer to this question into almost a compliment to the team.
3. Why do you want to work with us?
This is another hard one, because in all likelihood, you want to work there because you’re tired of interviewing and you need to pay the bills. But there is a good way to answer this question. Before the interview, take a look at the company’s mission statement. Read a few recent press releases or news pieces about the company. Is it a pharmaceutical firm that recently got an anti-cancer drug approved? Mention that you want to work for an innovative company that cares about cancer patients and is constantly trying to improve its developments to create better patient care. Make sure your answer is in line with the company’s ethics and focus, and you end up looking like a much better fit for the company.
Interviewing is hard, but proper preparation and a relaxed attitude can help ensure you get the job. You also want to check your posture and body language: smile, give a firm but not hard handshake, make eye contact, and stand up straight. Be firm but not rigid, and friendly but not too familiar. This will help you make the right impression and ace the interview.