Answers To The Toughest Job Interview Questions

By: Peggy McKee

Job interviews are notoriously stressful, and in each one there are going to be a couple of difficult questions for you to handle. The key to being successful in your job interview is being prepared for the most difficult interview questions so that you can answer them smoothly and with confidence.


"Tell me about yourself."


Some candidates see this as an open invitation to talk about everything that's happened to them since birth. That's just not right. What the hiring manager wants to know is "what have you done that will help me see you in this job." These are the things that will make a difference in your candidacy. So, you might start with your education. Hit the high points: your promotions, key opinion leaders you were able to sway, the numbers that you achieved, the awards you received, etc. But you must be succinct. It shouldn't drone on and on... the entire message should be: "I can achieve, I can do, I've done it before, I can do it for you." Make sure you are using a targeted message that's going to get you what you want: this job.


"You don't have the experience we're looking for....so why should we hire you?"


This question gets asked often when candidates are trying to transition into a new area. It might be good to remind your interviewer of something: "At some point you weren't in this area, yet someone hired you and you've obviously been very successful. Would you hire you again?" With this question, you're putting them in your shoes. You've got them nodding their heads and it gives you a psychological edge.


You can also remind your interviewer of a time when they might have hired someone else with no experience in this particular industry. What you would say is "Of your team, have you ever hired someone with no experience in this industry?" They are probably going to say, "Oh, yeah.....I remember so-and-so, he was great." Then you can say, "I can be that person for you. I can transfer my particular skills to this industry and be a great worker for you."


In both cases, you're helping them to remember instances where someone with no experience in this area was successful.


Writing Exercise:


Sit down and evaluate your top 25 achievements throughout your career. Granted, once you get past the first 4 or 5, they might not be that exciting, but consider them anyway. Write them down on a list on one side of a piece of paper. On the other side, write down what you had to do to make that happen. You have to jog your memory about those things, because you will get asked about those in interviews: "What has been your greatest success?" or "What has been your greatest failure?" or "Tell me about when you were able to organize people to achieve an objective?"


What will happen is that if you've done this exercise correctly, you'll be able to remember what you've done and be able to give specific examples and steps for that.


Why is that important? Well, lots of people can say, "I'm a great salesperson," but when they are asked for specific examples to back that up, they can't articulate that well--either because they have no example, or because they just haven't thought about it to that extent. But the explanation is what's going to be impressive to the hiring manager and get you the job.

About the Author

Peggy McKee has over 15 years of experience in sales, management, and recruiting. She is the CEO of PHC Consulting, a nationally-known medical sales recruiting firm. See her website and blog for more on medical sales at => http://www.phcconsulting.com.

She offers powerful tools and tips for resumes, LinkedIn, 30/60/90-day plans, brag books, and more that will help you succeed in your job search at => http://www.career-confidential.com.

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