The nine most difficult interview questions and how to answer them (2023)

Forewarned is prepared, which is why we've compiled a list of our nine toughest interview questions that recruiters love to use and candidates sometimes stumble over. This rundown of nine of the toughest interview questions you can ask will help you understand what employers are really asking. You'll also learn tactics for getting answers that present you in the best possible light, and you'll find some additional sample interview questions that might confuse you if you didn't think of them first.

You can practice your answers to tricky interview questions with our partner's resources atPreselection.I.

Difficult interview questions and answers.

"What is your most significant achievement?"

This tricky interview question is designed to test your values ​​and attitudes as well as your accomplishments, and employers often want you to talk about your activities outside of education. You're more likely to do well if you choose to talk about something you're truly proud of, which could be because it involves leading others, overcoming obstacles, or persevering in the face of adversity. Read the complete guide to answers job seekers with college degrees often give to this question, but use them with caution as they may not help you stand out from the crowd.

  • How to answer the tricky interview question: "What is your greatest achievement?"

'What motivates you?'

In a strengths-based interview that focuses on what you like to do and what you are good at, you will likely be asked about your motivation. This is an approach that experienced recruiters are increasingly using in conjunction with or instead of competency-based questions.

Your response should be based on an example from your extracurricular activities, work experience, or studies that indicates you would be highly motivated by the position you are applying for.

(Video) 6 MOST Difficult Interview Questions And How To Answer Them

  • What recruiters really want to know when they ask "What motivates you?"

"Give an example of a time when you showed initiative."

If an interviewer asks you to describe a situation in which you showed initiative, avoid giving an example of an idea you had but never put into action. It's much better to talk about a time when you not only found a solution to a problem, but acted on it. You can then explain how his decision affected the implementation.

  • This is how you show your interlocutor that you can take the initiativeand turn inspiration into success

'What is your greatest weakness?'

The problem with this question is that it asks you about your shortcomings, even though your instinct in an interview situation is to keep your shortcomings as hidden as possible. What you have to do is frame your answer to put a positive spin on it.

Strengths and weaknesses can be different sides of the same coin. Another way to approach this question is to think about how you overcome the potential drawback of your greatest strength. For example, if you are a natural team player, do you find it difficult to deal with conflict or adopt leadership skills? How do you deal with it?

  • Read on for possible answers to the question "What is your biggest weakness?"

"Are you innovative?"

Graduates are sometimes asked to give an example of when they were innovative, "thought outside the box," or used creative thinking to solve a problem. Many graduates are concerned that their examples are not innovative enough, but don't worry: the interviewer doesn't expect you to have given the Prime Minister any advice on how to deal with Brexit! Instead, talk about times when an idea made a positive impact: for example, when you came up with an idea to donate to charity or found a way to save time on a task.

  • Find out how to select the best examples of your innovative thinking.

"Give an example of a time when you were dealing with a major crisis."

Feel free to rephrase the question. This is similar to asking "Can you give an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation?" or "Give an example of a time when you had to deal with pressure." stronger and more emotional word. You may find it easier to give an example if you think back to your work experience, college experience, extracurricular activities and travel, and a time when you had to deal with an unexpected problem.

(Video) 7 MOST DIFFICULT Interview Questions & ANSWERS! (PASS GUARANTEED!)

  • Find out how not to answer the question: "Give an example of a time when you dealt with a major crisis."

"What can you contribute to the company?"

The simple answer to this question is that you bring the sum of your skills, experience, accomplishments, values, and enthusiasm to the company. Taking a comprehensive survey of employers allows you to frame your answer to show that you are a perfect fit for the company. The trick is not to overbid or underbid, but to stick to the facts: Sprinkle your answers with evidence of your accomplishments and details about the company.

  • Find out what employers want to hear when asked "What can you bring to the company?".

'Give an example of your lateral thinking.'

Lateral thinking is the ability to use your imagination to see a problem in a new way and find a new solution. Companies value employees with lateral thinking skills, because without them they cannot innovate and create new products. Think of times when you ran into real problems and somehow managed to overcome them. Your solution is likely to involve an original and creative approach, and that's what employers want to know.

  • This is how you recognize great examples of your lateral thinkingto use for graduate job interviews.

"Where do you think you'll be in five years?"

This is another question to show your employer's research and understanding of your chosen career path. You should appear enthusiastic but not overbearing. Please customize your response to reflect the nature of the organization, the industry, and your own experience and skills. The specific details will impress.

  • How do you approach the question "Where do you think you will be in five years?"

The most tricky questions and answers in the job interview

"Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?"

Senior recruiters use a few questions to see how you handle being asked on the spot and getting a truthful answer. This question is a test of your ability to think for yourself and come up with a diplomatic answer. Whether you're dodging the question by saying you've always gotten along with your employers or describing a difficult situation you've been through that highlights your potential, you should avoid attacking your previous employers.

(Video) The 10 Most Difficult Interview Questions & How to Answer Them

"What was your biggest failure?"

If asked about your biggest job interview failure, the recruiter is probably interested in how resilient you are and whether you can handle setbacks. Find out how you can use this question to show your strengths and convince the employer that you are the right candidate for the position.

"How to deal with stress?"

Get tips and tactics on how to respond when asked how to handle stress in your college graduate interview. Find out how you can show your drive and resilience.

"How do you deal with conflicts?"

Learn how to answer interview questions about managing conflict and resolving difficulties, with a sample answer and tips on what not to say.

"Give us an example of a time when you faced an ethical dilemma."

This is a classic example of an interview question that might annoy you if you didn't think about it first. Our tips will help you understand what employers are looking for and choose an appropriate example for the discussion.

"How do you manage your time and prioritize tasks?"

Your conversation partner wants to know your tactics and strategies for getting organized, so whatever approach you use to prioritize and list your tasks, be prepared to describe it. Your response should indicate that you can adjust your priorities as the situation changes.


"Why do you think you will be successful in this job?"

This is not an invitation to brag: you are being asked to match your strengths with the qualities you need to get the job done. Don't forget, it's a very specific question. Why are you suitable for this job instead of any other? Match your skills, interests, and experience to the job and the company.

'What are your professional goals?'

If you haven't given much thought to landing your first graduate job, this could be an especially tricky question. However, recruiters do not require this to get you. They're eager to find out if they're a good match for what you want because if they are, you're more likely to stick with them for the long haul. They can also check how much research you have done on your chosen career and how committed you are.

"Would you break the rules to get the job done?"

Employers can ask this strengths-based question to see how you would react in a situation where the rules might be challenged. There's never a simple yes or no answer, so read this article to find out how to approach your answer and get more context from the interviewer.

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Find out how to answer this question by calling attention to a specific strength without coming across as arrogant. You should draw from your real life experience in your answer.

If you could have dinner with five people, who would they be and why?

Don't be fooled when asked about dinner guests during your interview. Use our guide to understand who to choose and how to explain the reasons behind your selection.

(Video) TOUGH Interview Questions & Answers! (How to ANSWER the Most Difficult Interview Questions!)

What would you do if you won the lottery?

This is a slightly offbeat way to find out more about yourself as a person: what your values ​​are and what inspires you. Learn to answer this question impressively by being true to yourself.

What would you do if a customer complained?

Find out how you can use this question to demonstrate your communication and problem solving skills.


What is the hardest question to answer during an interview? ›

The most difficult interview questions (and answers)
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What's something that you didn't like about your last job?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • How do you deal with conflict with a co-worker?
  • Here's an answer for you.

How do you answer a tricky interview question? ›

Try not to get flustered, and keep in mind that interviewers are likely more interested in how you respond, rather than your precise answer. Be strategic in your response to tricky questions—and any interview questions—and aim to give replies that paint you in a positive way as a candidate.

What is the STAR method in interviews? ›

The STAR method is a structured manner of responding to a behavioral-based interview question by discussing the specific situation, task, action, and result of the situation you are describing.

What are the top 3 interview mistakes? ›

Top 5 job interview mistakes
  • Being unprepared.
  • Dressing inappropriately.
  • Talking too much or not enough.
  • Criticising previous employers or colleagues.
  • Failing to ask questions.

What is a weak point to say in an interview? ›

Examples of weaknesses related to your work ethic might include: Leaving projects unfinished. Providing too much detail in reports. Shifting from one project to another (multitasking)

How do you outsmart an interview? ›

Five ways to outsmart your interviewer
  1. They want to bring on board someone that they like… so be nice. ...
  2. Do your research. ...
  3. Ask probing questions. ...
  4. Show confidence with body language. ...
  5. Be totally engaged.

How do you beat a nervous interview? ›

  1. Go for a Walk. Fresh air does everyone a load of good. ...
  2. Practice the S.T.O.P Method. ...
  3. Prepare for the Worst. ...
  4. Make an Interview Cheat Sheet. ...
  5. Plan Something for Afterwards. ...
  6. Eat a Good Breakfast (or Lunch) ...
  7. Give Yourself a Pep Talk. ...
  8. Call an (Uplifting) Friend.
Jan 24, 2022

What are some tricky interview questions? ›

15 tricky job interview questions — and how to nail them
  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?
  • How did you hear about the position?
  • What do you know about the company?
  • What are your greatest professional strengths?
  • What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
  • What is your greatest professional achievement?

What are crazy interview questions? ›

Examples of Weird Interview Questions
  • How many basketballs can fit on a bus?
  • What two things, aside from food and water, would you want on a deserted island?
  • How many pizzas are ordered every night in the United States?
  • What would you do if you won the lottery?
  • Blue or green?
May 29, 2021

What is the key to a successful interview? ›

Communication Skills

Be sure to briefly cover your education, work history and a hobby. The interviewer wants to know you are well-rounded person. Show confidence in yourself and your abilities. Key words to use are: profit, challenge, responsibility, developing new skills, team player, etc.

What do you say in Tell me about yourself? ›

Your answer to the "tell me about yourself" question should describe your current situation, your past job experience, the reason you're a good fit for the role, and how you align with the company values. Tell the interviewer about your current position and a recent big accomplishment or positive feedback you received.

How do you end an interview answer? ›

With this in mind, here's the plan for how to conclude an interview response that'll get you through most interview questions.
  1. Option 1: Connect to the Position or Company. ...
  2. Option 2: Summarize and Get Back to the Question. ...
  3. Option 3: Ask Your Own Question.
Jun 19, 2020

What are the 3 C's of interview? ›

These three C's that we will examine are: Credibility; Competence; and Confidence. They are inextricably connected. I'm an introvert by personality type, but can interview with the best of them because of the successful implementation of these three C's.

What are the three P's to the perfect interview? ›

So my three Ps of interview preparation are, past, people and personal, but more on these shortly. The next thing to think about is what your preparation looks like.

What are 3 examples of weaknesses? ›

Examples of Weaknesses.
  • Self-criticism.
  • Shyness.
  • Lack of knowledge of particular software.
  • Public speaking.
  • Taking criticism.
  • Lack of experience.
  • Inability to delegate.
  • Lack of confidence.

How do you handle stress and pressure? ›

2. Commit to a Positive Attitude
  1. Decide what you can do. Pinpoint which parts of the situation you have the power to change or influence for the better. ...
  2. Get support. Find someone to talk to about your situation. ...
  3. Care for yourself. Take especially good care of yourself when stress in your life is high.

What to ask at the end of an interview? ›

20 smart questions to ask at the end of your next job interview
  • What do you personally like most about working for this organisation? ...
  • How would you describe your organisation's culture? ...
  • Can you tell me about the kind of supervision you provide? ...
  • What have past employees done to succeed in this position?

How do you manipulate an interviewer? ›

Be a bit friendlier than usual, in a level that makes the person more comfortable and amiable towards you. In general, just try to be a sincerely good and likeable person. 3. Make the person feel secure by agreeing with their opinions, or answering a couple job interview questions in way that'll go well with them.

How do you win every interview? ›

Follow these steps to have more success in interviews:
  1. Do comprehensive research. ...
  2. Prepare your supporting cases and stories. ...
  3. Prepare your questions. ...
  4. Dress appropriately. ...
  5. Punctuality is key. ...
  6. Stay positive and objective throughout. ...
  7. Watch out for your nonverbal cues. ...
  8. Be yourself.
Feb 22, 2021

What to say when you bombed an interview? ›

  1. Be Honest. It's important to let the hiring manager know you're aware that the interview was not representative of your ability to perform in the role. ...
  2. Share Concrete Examples of Your Work. ...
  3. Request Another Conversation. ...
  4. Close Out Graciously—No Matter What Happens.
Jun 19, 2020

Is it OK to admit you are nervous at an interview? ›

“I'm a little nervous.” Acknowledging that your nerves are getting the better of you might actually help you shake off your nervousness. Most interviewers have been there, too, at some point in their career and will understand.

Is it OK to sound nervous in an interview? ›

It is okay to be nervous for an interview. I think this is important to say, because it is not often included in interview preparation advice. Being nervous demonstrates that you care about the position you are interviewing for and it is something you really want. That is a good thing.

Can I say I am nervous in an interview? ›

It's okay to share with the interviewer that you are nervous. You might think it's one of the weaknesses that interviewers try to avoid when hiring, but it's a lot more normal for a person to be nervous at interviews than you might think. Saying it out loud can actually help.

What interviewers want to hear? ›

Six Answers Interviewers Need to Hear to Hire You
  • Do You Have the Skills to Do the Job? ...
  • Do You Fit? ...
  • Do You Understand the Company and Its Purpose? ...
  • How Do You Stack Up Against the Competition? ...
  • Do You Have the Right Mind-Set for the Job and Company? ...
  • Do You Want the Job?

How do you say you are stubborn in an interview? ›

For example, start by saying that you can be stubborn, then talk about how being persistent (the positive) has helped achieve a specific goal, but that you recognise when being stubborn because of ego could have a negative impact.

How can I impress an interview in 30 seconds? ›

10 Ways to Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds
  1. Open your body. ...
  2. Smile. ...
  3. Leave bulky bags outside. ...
  4. Make eye contact with everyone. ...
  5. Let them know you're delighted to be there. ...
  6. Get them talking within 30 seconds. ...
  7. Be prepared, not scripted. ...
  8. Ask an unexpected question.
Jul 13, 2011

What are 5 unique questions you can ask at the end of an interview? ›

20 smart questions to ask at the end of your next job interview
  • What do you personally like most about working for this organisation? ...
  • How would you describe your organisation's culture? ...
  • Can you tell me about the kind of supervision you provide? ...
  • What have past employees done to succeed in this position?

What are the 5 unusual interview questions? ›

Unique and Weird Company Culture Questions
  • Do you come to work just to work, or do you like to socialize along the way?
  • What inspires you to work in this industry?
  • Tell me about a time when you felt like a hero at work.
  • Tell me about a time when a job or company felt like a bad fit for your personality and why.
Dec 13, 2022

What are killer questions? ›

What are killer questions? Killer questions are questions that are asked to candidates who register for a specific job advertisement and have the effect of filtering applications and carrying out a very first screening action.

What is the most annoying interview question? ›

It's surely the most annoying and predictable interview question that ever gets asked: "What is your greatest weakness?" I'll start out by saying that I hate this question. Everyone hates this question.

What are 10 good interview questions and answers? ›

Top 10 Interview Questions and Best Answers
  • Tell Me About Yourself. ...
  • Why Are You the Best Person for the Job? ...
  • Why Do You Want This Job? ...
  • How Has Your Experience Prepared You for This Role? ...
  • Why Are You Leaving (or Have Left) Your Job? ...
  • What Is Your Greatest Strength? ...
  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
Dec 10, 2022

What are the six P's of an interview? ›

Landing an interview doesn't mean landing the job, because selling your skills and abilities depends on you: Prepare, Practice, Presentation, Powerful Interview, Post-Interview, and Ponder the Position are the six Ps that ensure the best possible outcome for you and the interviewer.

What are the 10 most common interview questions with answers? ›

10 most common interview questions and answers
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What attracted you to our company?
  • Tell me about your strengths.
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me about a time where you encountered a business challenge?

Why should I hire you? ›


The first thing you should do when answering “why should we hire you?” is to highlight any skills and professional experience that are relevant to the position you're applying for. To make your answer all the more valid, make sure to always back up everything you say with examples, experiences, and achievements.

Can you tell me about yourself best answer? ›

A simple formula for answering “Tell me about yourself”

Present: Talk a little bit about what your current role is, the scope of it, and perhaps a big recent accomplishment. Past: Tell the interviewer how you got there and/or mention previous experience that's relevant to the job and company you're applying for.

How do you start Tell me about yourself? ›

Key Takeaways
  1. Structure your answer in a way that makes sense. Stick to the past-present-future format, and you're all good!
  2. Keep it relevant and brief (1-2 minutes max). No one wants to hear your whole life story.
  3. Mention any of your top achievements and relevant work experiences.

How do you end an interview gracefully? ›

Here are some tips for handling a dead-end interview:
  1. Thank Them for Coming In. No matter what led you to the conclusion, always make sure to thank the candidate for their time. ...
  2. Let Them Know That You Value Their Time. ...
  3. Provide a Basic Reason.

What do you say at the beginning of an interview? ›

Start the interview with a polite greeting: “How are you today?” or “I'm pleased to meet you!” Thank the interviewer for meeting with you: “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.” Mention who you know at the company: “I was so excited when _____ told me this position was open!”

What is the most critical question in an interview? ›

3 Critical Job Interview Questions You Really Need to Ask
  • "Can you tell me a little about how your career has progressed up to this point?" ...
  • "Can you describe a time when you had to accept criticism from a colleague? ...
  • “What is it that appeals to you the most about this job?”

What are some hard questions to ask in an interview? ›

10 Hard Questions You Must Ask Your Interviewer
  • Why is this position available? ...
  • What makes it a great day and what makes it a challenging day at work? ...
  • When was the last time you promoted someone within your team, and why? ...
  • What are some of the challenges you expect the person in this position to face?

What are 3 weaknesses about yourself? ›

Sample responses to “What are your weaknesses?”
  • Self-criticism. I can be quite critical of myself, which can lead to negative self-talk and eventual burnout. ...
  • Fear of public speaking. I am a naturally shy person. ...
  • Procrastination. ...
  • Issues with delegating tasks. ...
  • Lack of experience with skill or software.
Aug 16, 2022

How not to answer tell me about yourself? ›

Going on and on about yourself or getting too personal might spoil the interviewer's first impression of you. Keep it short, sweet, and professional to leave them interested. The person interviewing you has already read your resume, so telling them exactly what's on it could make them lose interest.

What are 3 questions you should avoid asking at an interview? ›

Questions to avoid in an interview:

Never ask about pay, time off, benefits, etc. (Wait until later in the process to inquire about these things.) Never ask “What does your company do?” • Never ask “If I'm hired, when can I start applying for other positions in the company?” • Never ask how quickly you can be promoted.

How do you respond to why should I hire you? ›

The first thing you should do when answering “why should we hire you?” is to highlight any skills and professional experience that are relevant to the position you're applying for. To make your answer all the more valid, make sure to always back up everything you say with examples, experiences, and achievements.


1. INTERVIEW QUESTION: Tell Me About A Time You Handled A Difficult Situation? (The BEST Answer!)
2. How to Answer the 8 HARDEST Interview Questions | Job Interview Tips
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3. 9 Weird Interview Questions and How to answer them...
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4. 10 HARD Job Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them)
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5. 8 Short Answers to the Most Difficult Interview Questions + What NOT to Say | Indeed Career Tips


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