Even tougher interview questions and how to answer them

Some interviewers delight in making you squirm. Stay one step ahead by arming yourself with the answers to five even tougher interview questions than our earlier tough interview questions.

Answer the tough questions well and you’ll put yourself ahead of the competition to get the job. So start practicing answers to these questions today:

  1. Can you give an example of the worst office politics you’ve encountered in a job? We’ve all experienced office politics. With this question the interviewer is trying to find out if you’re someone who partakes in office politics or can rise above it. Your answer needs to gloss over the event itself and move straight on to how you handled the problem in a positive way. “I had to learn tact and was careful not to align myself with any one group. I made a point of being friendly to everyone and helpful to the people behind the politics, but avoided situations where I would have to listen to gossip. Where possible I tried to come up with win win alternative solutions to problems that neither side could agree on.”
  2. Why do you think you weren’t promoted at your last job? There are many reasons employees are passed over for promotion. You could say that you lacked visibility because you had your head down working hard and failed to market yourself sufficiently. Or perhaps there was no-one to replace you in the role you were in. If that’s the case explain that your boss couldn’t lose you. Or the answer could be as simple as: “no vacant positions arose in the time I was there.”
  3. Would you rather be feared or loved? Your interviewer wants to know if you’re a corporate psychopath. People who would rather be feared aren't great to work with and don't make effective leaders in the long run. Respect based on fear is short-lived. People who are loved tend to be more likely to get buy-in from others and get the job done.
  4. What other roles have you applied for? Try to be honest. The employer will realise that it’s a competitive market. If you’ve not applied for other jobs you might look like you lack motivation. Try to give examples of relevant and prestigious jobs you’ve applied for. This demonstrates that you’re consistent in your career aims as well as aware that you are a marketable product. It’s always good to say that the job you’re interviewing for is your preferred option.
  5. How do you get along with older / younger co-workers? You’ve moving to an organisation that employs a wide range of ages. The employer wants to make sure you’ll cope alongside someone who is old enough to be your mum or young enough to be your son. Think of older or younger people you’ve worked with – even if it was voluntary work or study – and explain the relationship. If you work with people of very different ages do your best to a: find something in common, and b: show that you respect their intelligence or knowledge. For example, ask older people for their opinions, and younger people with help with technology.

Now that you’ve reached the end, go back to the beginning and practice your answers again. Preparation will help clinch the job. 

People who would rather be feared aren't great to work with and don't make effective leaders in the long run.