If you’ve been to a large number of interviews, you’ve probably noticed that some of the questions are pretty tough to answer. These are often referred to as “tricky interview questions”.
Tricky interview questions are a method that recruiters use to see how you react and respond. Just as the name suggests, they’re trying to check how well you deal with a tricky situation.
Since these types of questions are meant to be tough to answer, it’s a good idea to prepare before your interview. Let’s take a look at some tricky interview questions with some tips and sample answers that you can use to prepare.
- When recruiters ask you tricky interview questions, they want to get a certain reaction out of you. You should answer in a calm and positive manner in order to make a good impression.
- Always try to prepare for tricky interview questions by doing thorough research on the company and looking up some sample answers to help guide you.
12 Tricky Interview Questions + Answers
Whether you’re looking for tricky interview questions for managers or any other job position, examine these questions and answers to prepare for your next interview:
#1. What is your weakness?
Example answer: I’ve been previously told that I am too detail-oriented, never submitting projects until I am fully satisfied with each and every detail. I accepted this feedback as I realized that I spend too much time focusing on details and that I could be much more efficient with my attention and time. Lately, I have been trying to balance my perfectionism with the ability to shift my focus to other priorities as well.
Besides asking you about your strengths, recruiters also want to see whether you’re humble enough to admit your weaknesses as well. The number one thing to remember while answering this question is to be honest while making sure you don’t mention anything that can ruin your chances of getting the job.
Try to write down a list of acceptable weaknesses you might have, and always make sure to mention how you’ve been trying to work on those weaknesses.
#2. Why did you leave your last job?
Example answer: Once I dove deeper into the company structure and culture, I realized that my last job just wasn’t a good fit for my career goals. However, I’m really excited about this opportunity since this position is a great professional fit for me.
The main thing to remember while you answer these questions is to never trash-talk any of your former employers or colleagues. While it is still important to remain honest with your answer, try to keep a positive tone and mention that although you didn’t fit in, you still appreciated the experience.
Try to talk about what you wanted that the previous job couldn’t offer you, so that the interviewer knows whether your needs can be met in the position they’re offering.
Additionally, it’s always a good idea to do some research on the company and what it offers.
Lastly, explain what you’ve accomplished at your last job and how it helped you grow professionally.
#3. Tell me about yourself
Example answer: Ever since middle school, I’ve been praised for my writing skills. I used to love essay days, and I wrote poems on the side. I realized that this came naturally to me, and as I was growing up, I knew that this was something I wanted to continue doing in my life.
I managed to get into the college I’ve always dreamed of, which helped me gain a deeper understanding of the written word and contemporary digital formats. I am more than excited to put my knowledge and passion to work as a content writer for your company.
This is considered a tricky question since there are a variety of answers you can give. It’s also a great example of tricky interview questions for freshers. It’s best to talk about yourself by giving some background information and explaining how you’ve decided on this career path.
Recruiters ask this question to explore whether your career goals fit with the job requirements. Additionally, think about your short-term and long-term goals and include them in your answer.
#4. How do you differentiate yourself from other candidates?
Example answer: I differentiate myself from other candidates through my unique blend of skills, experiences, and qualities. For example, I have extensive experience in project management as well as a strong background in data analysis and reporting. I’m also highly skilled in communication and collaboration, which allows me to effectively lead cross-functional teams and ensure successful project outcomes.
In addition, I’m a proactive learner who is always looking to expand her knowledge and skill set. I have a passion for staying up-to-date with industry trends and technologies, which enables me to bring innovative solutions to the table.
What the recruiters want to hear from your answer to this question is what you can essentially do for the company. Although this might seem like a good opportunity to brag, always try to remain humble.
Before entering the interview, do some thorough research on the job description and what the company is looking for. Try to choose the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job, but always be honest.
Specify how you can help with their projects with your particular skill set. You can also mention a situation where you had to handle similar projects in the past and explain how your expertise led to a successful result.
#5. Tell me about the gap in your resume
Example answer: I was dead-set on finding a long-term job that fits my values and my career goals well, because I want to be in it for the long haul. Although I did go to many interviews, I just didn’t feel a connection with any of the companies. During this gap, I’ve invested in myself and honed my skills through courses and various projects I helped out with free of charge because I felt the experience I gained made me a better professional.
It’s always a good idea to mention what you’ve been doing during your “time off” from work. Explain how you believed that there was a better option for you out there and were passionate enough to not let your skills get neglected.
Try to mention how you’ve used this gap to improve your skills and how you could best utilize them in your next job.
#6. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Example answer: I am positive that I’ll still be working in the social media field, but I do see myself in a higher position in the next five years. I am ready to hone my skills further, gain additional knowledge, and use this to advance my career.
My main objective is to become better at my job, and I believe that working on myself will help me get to the position I want in five years. Besides that, I don’t mind staying in the content writer position since it is my passion.
Employers want to see whether your career goals fit with the company’s future plans. To answer, stay positive and truthful. Use your set of short-term and long-term goals to mention whether you expect to grow professionally or not. Always answer with passion and dedication in mind so that they know you’re willing to work hard to achieve your goals.
#7. Why do you want to work for us?
Example answer: After doing research on your company, I have realized that my personality and goals are perfectly aligned with your mission and policies. Your belief that the best results come from a fun and well-run workplace highly resonates with me. I am convinced that this position will allow me to strengthen your company’s beliefs and values.
To answer this question, you need to thoroughly research the company’s mission and policies before your interview. When employers ask this question, they primarily want to see whether you’ve done proper research and whether you have a serious interest in them.
#8. Tell me about a conflict you faced
Example answer: During my previous job, a coworker and I had to work on the same project. Our main task was to come up with ideas for our client’s new product. We ended up proposing fundamentally different ideas, and the client was quite frustrated that he wasn’t presented with one cohesive idea. So, my coworker and I decided to discuss the project and our perspectives in depth to find some possible middle ground and make something together. We eventually managed to come up with one great idea by prioritizing the client’s needs, and he ended up loving the final proposal.
This behavioral interview question is used to check how you deal with stressful situations. Try to use the STAR method (situation, task, action, and result) and think of a situation where you’ve remained calm and what steps you took to deal with it. Always choose a successful story!
Avoid saying that you’ve never dealt with conflict before. Conflict in the workplace is inevitable, and there’s a reason why employers ask you this question. If you say that you’ve never had conflict because everyone loves working with you, you will appear arrogant and dishonest.
#9. What is your dream job?
Example answer: Ever since I was a teenager, I knew that I wanted to do something with writing. I used to make these cardboard book covers and write poems and essays on paper. I worked successfully as a content writer for over a year, and I would like to continue making my inner child happy by working in this field.
Recruiters want to know how enthusiastic you are about the job and how committed you intend to be to completing tasks. To answer, explain that this position is, in fact, your dream job. Try not to sound desperate and show that you’re passionate about doing a great job since it’s something you’ve always wanted to do.
#10. What motivates you?
Example answer: I am a team player, and I believe that having a good relationship with your employees and coworkers will always help when it comes to getting the job done. I take pride in my leadership skills, as I am always ready to talk and communicate with my coworkers if they need anything. Knowing that they can count on me to help solve their problems motivates me to do a good job as well.
When employers ask you about what motivates you, they want to know:
- Whether you’re a good fit for their team
- What attributes you prioritize about yourself
Ultimately, they want to find out as much as possible about you and how well your personality fits with the other members of their team. Explain your skills and experiences, as well as how you use them as your primary motivators.
#11. Tell me about your salary expectations
Example answer: The primary compensation I’m looking to get for this job is learning and growth. I don’t necessarily have a specific amount in mind, but I’d love to hear what you’ve budgeted for this specific position.
Known as the trickiest question out of all of them, the salary expectations question can be problematic for two main reasons:
- If you say too little, you’re selling yourself too short.
- If you ask for too much, you might not get considered for the position at all.
Recruiters ask this question to know whether your salary expectations fit with their budget. If they notice that a lot of interviewees have mentioned a higher amount, they’ll try to adjust the budget for the position in the long run.
As much as this question matters to you, it matters to them as well. Try to be polite while answering, and try to turn the question around. Ask them what they’ve planned to spend on this position’s salary.
#12. How long do you want to work with us?
Example answer: As long as I have the opportunity to grow professionally and truly contribute to the company’s success, I’m in it for the long haul.
When employers ask this question, they want to know whether you’re considering a long-term position. They want to see if you’re passionate about working with them and what the chances are that they will need to look for a new employee soon.
Try to remain positive while you answer. Mention that although this is your dream job, you still want to feel motivated. The best approach is to answer with something that will make the recruiters see that you’re willing to put in the work, provided they do the same for you as well.
Tips for Answering Tricky Interview Questions
Let’s look at some tips you can use to answer tricky interview questions well:
- Prepare and practice answering questions. Always research the company and the position beforehand. Try to look for some sample questions and answers online that are tailored to the specific job or industry. Ask a friend or family member to hold a mock interview with you to check how you answer questions and what you might need to change.
- Don’t rush the answers. Take your time to think about them before answering. It’s completely natural to let the interviewer know that you need a moment to think about the answer. No matter how prepared you are, you can never have answers for every possible question you might get asked.
- Be honest but tactful. Try to model your answers after the skills and experiences that were mentioned in the job description. However, you need to remain honest since recruiters can do a background check on you to verify whether what you’ve said is true or not.
- Moderate your facial expressions. Since these tricky interview questions can be really hard to answer, it’s important that your discomfort isn’t evident on your face. Maintain good posture and try to keep a solid smile. Don’t scrunch your nose or raise an eyebrow when you hear a tricky question, since that can leave a bad impression on the interviewer.
- Use the STAR Method. The best way to answer some of the tricky behavioral interview questions is to use the STAR Method. The letters in STAR are an acronym for: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This means that your answer should mention a tough situation that you had to deal with, the task that you were assigned, what actions you took to resolve the issue, and what the end result was.
Whether you’ve already encountered some tricky interview questions during job hunting or not, it’s always a good idea to show up prepared for an interview. Keep our tips and samples in mind so you can have no trouble answering tricky interview questions next time!
Good luck on your next interview, and we hope our guide has provided the help you needed!