How to answer tough interview questions - part 2

How to answer tough interview questions - part 2

In our last post, we took a look at how you could go about answering some of the toughest interview questions you might be asked if you get called to an interview for your dream job.

These included responses to queries as to why you might be moving on from your employer after a relatively short time and what you would view as your weaknesses.

However, since there are so many 'difficult' interview questions out there, we thought it's worth revisiting the topic in another article - and this is it.
Let's take a look at some more common themes that could crop up as you face your panel and get the chance to shine.

As you're doing your preparation work, remember that no matter how challenging you view the possible questions, they are just a case of your would-be employer testing you to see how you stay calm and offer plausible explanations to what they have said.

If you can remain cool even when faced with your Achilles heel, they'll know you can withstand pretty much anything.

1. How do you stay well-informed about what's happening in your field?

Whether you're looking for a physiotherapy, speech therapy or pharmaceutical job, you're attempting to enter an ever-changing, fast-moving industry. Employers will want to see that you are an active member of professional organisations and read trade publications, so ensure that you do.

You should also highlight any training sessions you have run at your current or previous jobs, no matter how small they seem. Above all, demonstrate that you enjoy your profession and view it as an interest as well as a career.

2. How do you react to criticism?

Nobody likes to be criticised, but don't say that you stew on slights against you for hours and hold a grudge forever. Instead, stress that it depends on how valid the criticisms are and say that you try not to be overly sensitive. Explain that you like to share ideas and suggestions with your team, so you expect them to do the same - and if they are constructive, then it might be useful for your future development.

3. You took a career break, so how will you fit in with a routine and demands again?

This is perhaps the most common and dreaded question that parents in particular will face, but can apply to candidates who have taken a gap year or been away from the jobs market for a variety of reasons.

Say that despite your break, you have kept up to date in your field, going back to how you attend conferences and read the trade press.

And if your 'break' has been to have a family, politely point out that very few jobs will seem anywhere near as demanding as raising children, so you're used to working very hard. This will have the added benefit of showing your sense of humour and perhaps breaking the ice a little.

4. You were made redundant. How have you coped?

This obviously might not apply to you, but has been quite a common issue lately for many jobseekers. If you are asked about it, be honest and say you did find it disappointing and quite difficult, but stress that you tried to turn it into a positive by making a fresh start.

Show that you haven't been sitting at home watching daytime TV, but that you've been studying relevant online courses and carrying out voluntary work to fill your time constructively. Above all, say that you enjoy your work and are eager to return to a new job in your chosen field to continue your career and aspirations.

5. Something you don't know the answer to

We've cheated a little here and used this final point as a catch-all for anything that might come up unexpectedly - and that you therefore haven't prepared a detailed answer for.

Remember not to panic and think calmly when coming up with a reply, drawing on your case studies just as you have with your previous answers. For instance, if they ask about software you've never used, admit that you're not familiar with it but suggest that it might be similar to programs you have experience with and detail your examples.

If it's a situation that has never cropped up, do say you've never dealt with it - but come up with a way that you might if it did. Use case studies to show occasions when you did react to potentially difficult situations. You will be able to think on your feet as long as you know the job details and can apply your work experience to it - and don't forget to reassure the panel that you are quick to get up to speed with anything unfamiliar anyway.

That brings us to the end of this article on tough interview questions, so hopefully you have found some useful nuggets of advice within. And if you're searching for your dream job at the moment, we'll send you the very best of luck.