How to answer difficult interview questions

There are some interview questions that many people find challenging to answer. But it’s not just about answering the questions; it’s also about understanding them.

Here are three ways to help you do just that:

1. Have the right motives

Before you begin the job search process you need to identify the real reasons motivating you to find a new job. There are some circumstances, such as redundancy, that are self-explanatory, but if you feel that you have reached the natural end of your current job then you need to examine why this is, and make sure these motivations match the jobs you are applying for.

2. Prepare your answers

If you give your reason for leaving as lack of opportunity then an interviewer will be wondering why your current employer couldn’t facilitate your growth, so be clear on the reasons why.

A much better answer than “I need a new challenge” would be:

  • “due to the size of the company they couldn’t offer study support” or,
  • “I am qualified now and they couldn’t offer me a role fitting my experience.”

This will show you know what is needed to further your career and are clear in your motivations.

3. Show understanding of the new role

Reasons for leaving - Professionals are often declined at interview because employers just don’t believe they are motivated enough, or their reasons for leaving won’t be resolved in the new role. For example, you may say you aren’t getting enough management accounts experience – but if the new role is similar the employer will be worried you won’t enjoy this job either.

Career plan - If you say you’d like to be a Director in 5 years, an employer may think this is not realistic in their company and that they are the wrong fit for you.

Salary - Do your research if you are looking for a higher salary, to see if your skills and experience can command in your local area and whether your demands are realistic.

By understanding your motivations for leaving and making that your new role reflects these motivations, you are more likely to be able to answer these questions and find the right job for you.

The ultimate guide to interviews

The ultimate guide to interviews
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