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Prep for those hard job interview questions

In order to ace the interview for that plum job, practise how you’ll reply to some tough questions. Here are a few that are commonly asked, with some pointers on how to answer them with ease.

Woman on a job interview

If you’ve got an important job interview coming up, the best thing you can do is prepare for the tough questions you’ll get. Key, though, is practice — you don’t want to sound rehearsed, but practice will help you sound conversational, rather than stiff. Practice with a friend or in front of a mirror so you can get a feel for how you’ll reply. Here are a few questions — and possible answers — to get you started.

So, tell me a little about yourself

Don’t let this broad opening question leave you flustered. Remember that they’ve just asked for a little bit of information, so be reasonably brief. Include a short introduction, but remember to highlight the product (you!). Work in some key accomplishments (but just the main highlights, as you can delve into more detail later on in the interview) and what strengths you drew on to achieve them. Then draw attention to how these strengths will benefit your interviewer’s company (in a modest, non-boastful manner).

What are your greatest weaknesses?

Do not say you don’t have any weakness or failures. We’re only human. Instead, consider one weakness but then outline how you’ve worked on improving it and how you’ve managed thus far to improve. If possible, come up with a weakness that could be considered a strength in some cases. Perhaps you can confess to putting too much time into your work, for example, but you’ve since come to learn how to better manage your time so that work is completed more efficiently.

Describe the worst boss you’ve ever had

Resist ranting about that one clueless manager who made your job a nightmare. Coming across as angry and (possibly) hard to work with is not the way to go. As with the greatest weakness question, come up with a reply that could be seen in a positive light. For example, if you had a boss who had no time to coach you in new endeavours and skills, turn the focus subtly to the fact that you were keen to learn, for example.

What is the strangest/most surprising question you have been asked in an interview?

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