Interviewers often ask some questions to catch you off-guard so they can assess how you react to unexpected situations. There are even some questions that are intended to get you to reveal things you may have otherwise concealed. Don’t fret– digest the question and stay composed. Let’s take a look at some great advice to some potentially tricky questions.
1. Are you a nice person?
Many interviewers use this question to gain insight into whether you would potentially be a good fit in the company culture. This question can be tricky: The employer may want to hire “nice” people, or they may want to hire pit-bull personalities who aren’t necessarily always so nice. Try to give an answer that demonstrates your style of niceness, whether that means being compassionate to others, working well with a team or showing respect to your boss or other staff members. Do some research on the company before your interview to get an idea of what type of “nice” they may want. If your style of nice is distinctly not what the company is looking for, you may need to consider seeking opportunities elsewhere.
2. Which would you prefer: popularity or respect?
How you answer here should take into consideration the type of job for which you’re applying. If you’re going for an executive or managerial job, respect would be a priority because you want employees to carry out your directives enthusiastically and efficiently. For a job that requires teamwork and collegiality, an interest in being part of a harmonious work group could be a deciding factor. You can always go the safe route on this question and answer that you believe a mixture of both is the best recipe for success on the job.
3. If you could be an animal in another life, which one would you want to be?
Don’t look at your interviewer as if they’ve lost their mind should they ask this question; there is a reason for it. Employers will often ask this psychologically based question as a way to judge how quickly you can think on your feet. It seems silly, but it can have a big impact on the outcome of your interview. For instance, if you say “turtle,” you may come across as slow, passive and prone to withdraw when hard times hit. On the other hand, if you answer “Komodo dragon,” you may earn a label such as aggressive or combatant. Consider what type of personality would best fit the job for which you’re applying, and come up with an animal that may fit both that niche and your basic personality type.
4. Do you think you’re overqualified for this job?
Tread lightly here; this can be a loaded question. If you feel your training and experience make you overqualified, be honest but with a degree of tact. Employers will be hesitant to hire an overqualified employee they fear will only stay long enough to get a bit of training while looking for a job more in line with their qualifications. You may respond that you feel you’re overqualified in some ways, while emphasizing that you look forward to the challenge of learning skills you’ll need in a specific area particular to the job you’re seeking. This is an excellent opportunity to work into the interview process your reasons for wanting to work for the particular company.
5. Tell me something about yourself that you wouldn’t want your employer to know.
Should this question come up, the thing to remember is that you’re not talking to a friend over a casual lunch; you’re talking to a potential supervisor. Don’t let this question put you off your game; don’t blurt out the first thing that comes into your mind. Interviewers who ask this question are looking for an example of something in your life experience that had a positive impact on you; something that possibly changed you for the better. Your answer to this question should reflect your ability to adapt to events around you, to learn and to grow. It also gives insight into your ability to be flexible. Consider offering examples from your younger years, when most of us make plenty of understandable, and even humorous, mistakes. Don’t go so far back as your first-grade experiences, but something from your high school years is not out of the realm of possibility. There’s no need to go into sordid details; just make certain to conclude with what you learned from the event.