How to Own the World’s Toughest Interview Questions

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We are certain you’ve heard all the craziest interview questions before. They range from the absolutely absurd to the completely caught off guard. Before going into an interview it is extremely important to understand that these questions aren’t designed to be answered correctly but rather test you on your ability to think quickly and not get flustered. Answering them is an art form and even if you aren’t prepared for the specific question you can be prepared for the conversation overall. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next interview.

The Question About You

Whether the question is about your strengths or weaknesses, your long term goals, or your ability to work with others job seekers often choke when they are expected to talk about themselves. Most people have been taught culturally that discussing successes and accomplishments amounts to bragging so it is difficult to think of good, solid answers to these questions on the fly. For an interview, it is really time to let this line of thinking go. Don’t be afraid to speak proudly of the things you’ve done; the interviewer really does want to hear about this. If you are speaking about your weakness don’t try to humblebrag and talk about how you are just “too good at programming.” Offer a real, honest to goodness weakness and then provide the way you work on making sure it doesn’t hold you back. For instance, “I am not always that organized when it comes to my work space. I recognize this can be a problem and cause missed details so I work really hard at keeping my space as organized as possible. I typically spend about 15 minutes at the end of each day reorganizing my desk to make sure that my tasks will be on track the following morning.”

The Philosophical Question

Question about colors and travel and shapes are really designed to see whether or not you can think fast and give real, solid answers. There is no such thing as right or wrong when it comes to this line of questioning but they are meant to make you stop in your tracks. There are so many options for this category of interview question. Many revolve around the construct “if you were [blank], what kind of [blank] would you be?” For example, you may be asked “If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?” They don’t actually judge you on the make and model that you choose but they do want to know why you chose your answer. For example you may say, “I would be a Honda Element because they are quirky but very useful. Elements are not necessarily the most powerful car on the road but they have a lot of room to pack your stuff for a camping trip or to help a friend move. I like to think of myself as creative and quirky but able to pitch in at any level when it is necessary.”

The Technical Expertise Question

There are many categories of people you might interview with. If you’re meeting with the IT manager for an IT job you expect that they know what you’re talking about when you use complex industry ideas to discuss your experience. However, a human resources manager may not have the same experience. How do they know that your experience is genuine and not just a lot of big words? They may ask a question that is intended to drill down to the core of your experience and knowledge such as “I want you to describe internet security and why it is important to a 6 year old.” It isn’t that they ever expect you to need to describe what you do to a first grader but rather that you truly understand what it is that you do and can explain it simply to individuals who don’t have a technical background. Don’t be afraid to use simple examples in your description and show that you really understand the underlying principles as well as the nuts and bolts of your industry.

Do you think you’re prepared for your next IT interview? VincentBenjamin provides staffing services within the IT industry for companies in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver and Orange County. Contact us today to learn more!

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