Killer interview questions are deadly only if applicants haven’t done any preparation. If you haven’t heard the shot, it’s easy to fall by the wayside. Here are examples of ammunition for suitable answers.
In the interview, there are many questions. Introductory phrases like “Did you find us well?” or “Would you like a glass of water?” nor to the harmless calibers. But some questions can quickly disqualify the applicant if he answers rashly – and he often doesn’t even notice.
Typical interview questions and answers
The killer questions that can determine the course of the conversation are not always immediately apparent. Often they even have little to nothing to do with the company and the candidate’s profile. But they are only apparently harmless because the answer says a lot about the applicant. For example, the question about the last book you read, your hobbies, or your role models.
We have the 13 meanest questions – including confident answers. So that you are well prepared for the next interview.
Bad experiences and a darned book
“Please tell us about a particularly bad experience from your last internship.”
How well an employee can deal with customers and colleagues is crucial for a career and success in the job. Applicants are therefore asked carefully about their social and communication skills. It is important to show how a problem was solved and what a candidate has learned from it. This enables him to document his ability to resolve conflicts well.
“ You studied in an attractive city – why do you want to move to the provinces? “
Interviewers from medium-sized companies and hidden champions in particular love to ask such questions to bring the candidate back down to earth. HR managers naturally ask questions about weaknesses and uncertainties. But many applicants today are prepared for this. Further (stress) questions are interspersed to see whether a candidate stays cool and brings up arguments such as flat hierarchies or innovative ability. And of course to find out how serious his interest in the job and the company (in the province) is.
“What was the last book you read?”
The seemingly innocuous question can easily become a pitfall. The answer is less about the alternative between Joanne K. Rowling and Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro. Reading a current technical or non-fiction book can be important, especially for your first job, to be up to date in the field. Anyone who, in addition to current literature, can also mention an read and an appropriate specialist book can (almost) always score with it.
Strengths and weaknesses
“Tell us about your strengths and weaknesses”
This question is one of the most frequently asked questions in job interviews and is almost inevitable. Think carefully about your answer to that. The HR manager doesn’t want to hear that you’re messy or unpunctual. Instead, turn your weaknesses in everyday life into your strengths in professional life. You can read exactly how this works in no time here.
About animals and hobbies
“How long does it take before you can come up with positive results?”
Every company wants new employees who can get started without a long training period. The answer reveals something about how much a candidate trusts their abilities and how well they understand the requirements that await them in the new position.
“If you were to describe yourself as an animal, what would you like to be and why?“
This question is also harmless, but it has a lot to do – or do you know an animal that is only ascribed positive properties? Animals with mostly negative connotations come to mind more easily, for example, snakes or rats. Applicants, therefore, choose an animal to which predominantly positive characteristics are attributed and briefly discuss those that suit their person.
“What are your hobbies?”
No problem, you think and start with the list: kite surfing, mountain biking, chess… After all, hobbies are activity and require commitment. But that’s exactly where the tough case lies: it’s commitment outside of the job. The follow-up question can be: “And how do you want to fulfill your demanding job with these hobbies?” Therefore, it is better not to specify too many (time-consuming) hobbies – and preferably also one that goes through as a balance to the job.
Failures and (honest) friends
“What was your greatest success and what was your greatest failure?”
Applicants should not choose successes from areas that have nothing to do with their future job or that might even indicate that they are interested in a lot other than the advertised position. Only in the event of failure is it advisable to switch to other areas. Nevertheless, there should be a reference to the world of work and a positive learning effect from the (minor) failure should be named.
“What did you dislike in the internship at company XY?”
No (future) employer likes to hear when the candidate makes a former employer bad. It is important here to highlight the positive points in the internship and to present negative things (if they existed) rather casually – again regarding the learning effects achieved.
“How would friends and acquaintances describe you?”
Very dangerous moment – because friends and acquaintances also know weaknesses, real weaknesses. Confident applicants have a benevolent and critical description of a (fictional) friend at hand, which does not say too much negative, but also does not come across as implausible because it only contains positive things.
Overtime and role models
“How flexible are you when it comes to overtime and weekend work?”
That is the crystal clear question about personal commitment. Here an answer is recommended that comes very close to reality. Anyone who cannot do weekend work, for example, because of children or looking after family members, should talk about it. The weekend and free time are of course also there to allow body and mind a break – so that you can go back to work stronger afterward.
“What role models do you have?”
The background to the question is whether an applicant has thought about professional goals that another has already achieved specially – the role model. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are role models who were very successful entrepreneurs even against resistance. Walt Disney too. Of course, female graduates should (be able to) name successful women as role models. Role models can come not only from the corporate world but also from sports or the cultural sector (if they are). The main thing is that they have achieved something extraordinary.
“Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?”
This question is often referred to as the real killer question in a job interview. A confident applicant can provide a summary of his strengths, performance, and professional goals. Divergent statements that do not relate to the desired job suggest an incompetent or unfocused applicant. And that’s the very last thing you want.