5 Tough Interview Questions And Answers (With Helpful Tips)

Updated 3 March 2023

Employers often ask candidates hard interview questions to discover how much they know about the job and the company. The responses they get help them assess if the candidates are likely to be a good fit for the available role. Understanding the types of difficult interview questions that employers may ask allows you to prepare well, make a good impression at the job interview and improve your chances of getting a position.

In this article, we provide a list of tough interview questions and answers that you can use to get ready for an upcoming job interview and explore a list of tips to help.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

5 Tough Interview Questions And Answers

Refer to the following tough interview questions and answers to prepare for your upcoming job interview:

1. Where do you think you are going to be career-wise 5 years from now?

Another similar question interviewers might ask is ‘What are your career goals?'. When interviewers ask these questions, they want to find out how committed you are to your career and whether you might remain with them long term if they hire you for the available role. They may also intend to check your industry knowledge and assess if you understand how to advance in your field. When responding to this interview question, mention your long-term goals and discuss how the available work opportunity with their company might help you achieve those.

Example: I plan to continue working in the machine learning and artificial intelligence fields five years from now. Given the innovations happening in the industry, there can be a lot of scope for career advancement here. With that in mind, I make continual efforts to update my knowledge and skills by reading or viewing content by industry experts and taking short-term online courses. I hope to work with you, make valuable contributions and continue to expand my professional abilities.

Related: How To Answer The Question ‘Why Do You Want To Leave Your Current Job?' (With Sample Answers)

2. Can you tell me about your greatest professional achievement?

This is a frequently-asked interview question, and its purpose is to test your attitude towards your profession and values. The interviewer wants to know what motivates you to excel. Your answer can help them determine if you fit well with their company culture. Consider using the situation-task-action-result (STAR) technique to form an appropriate response. With the STAR technique, you can explain what the situation was, what tasks you wanted to achieve, what actions you took and what the results were.

Example: My greatest professional achievement to date is when I made a successful presentation before a high-end client that helped us win a tender for a multi-crore construction project. I had to really work on my public speaking skills and conduct in-depth industry research to prepare for the presentation. I was nervous when I stepped to the podium, but I was able to focus on the principal goal of convincing the client of our capability and innovative ideas. Fortunately, I did well, and they told me afterwards that my sincerity influenced their decision to work with us.

Related: Top 20 Manager Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

3. Was there anything that you disliked about your previous job?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to be diplomatic and deal constructively with an adverse situation. It is advisable to respond in a manner that reflects well on both you and your former employer. It may help to provide an example that demonstrates how you can raise your concerns with your employer in an appropriate way.

Example: Not really. I was fortunate enough to work with some very reasonable people. My manager always kept communication lines open and was willing to consider our opinions. For example, when they assigned me a project with an impossible deadline, I met with them to explain my reasons for not being able to complete the work on schedule. They were willing to restructure the project and divide it into smaller assignments that were reasonable for me. That reduced my stress and enabled me to do an excellent job, and the client was really pleased with my work.

Related: 7 Experience Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

4. What is your strategy for handling stress?

When interviewers ask this question, they want to assess your resilience and find out if you can handle any stressful situations that might arise while managing the job responsibilities. For example, you might face customer concerns or complaints, deal with late deliveries from suppliers or work overtime to complete urgent projects. When responding to this interview question, it can help to share a past example that shows you can have a positive attitude and constructive approach to deal with work-related stress.

Example: My strategy for handling stress varies according to the situation. I try to maintain effective communication and listen to what people say. Once I know what is going on, I can determine what I can do to resolve the issue. For example, when I worked as an operations manager with the Milton Group, I had to handle multiple projects simultaneously and ensure we met deadlines. Initially, the pressure led some of our employees to underperform and disrupt the work schedule.

After discussing the situation, I worked with them to create more manageable schedules that were less stressful and enabled them to become more productive. It also reduced my stress level, as I could now be sure they would deliver on time. We managed to complete all projects on time from there onwards.

Related: How To Handle Pressure From Work (With Practical Tips)

5. Why would you be a good fit for this position?

The purpose of asking this question is to find out if you understand the exact requirements of the role and have the ability to fulfil them. The interviewers want you to convince them that your professional capabilities make you a better candidate for the available position than others. Before the interview, it is advisable that you review the job advertisement and prepare a response that demonstrates how your qualifications, work experience, skills and achievements can benefit the company.

Example: I understand that you are looking for an exceptional marketing manager to improve the efficiency of your product marketing activities in Jharkhand. I can use my 10 years of successful marketing experience to make that happen for you, which is why I would be an excellent fit for this position. In my previous role, I oversaw a 50-person team of marketing professionals, planned the marketing strategies for our assigned territory and implemented them across multiple online and offline marketing channels. It enabled us to achieve a 60% sales increase.

Related: 61 CEO Interview Questions (With Sample Answers And Tips)

Tips For Responding To Tough Interview Questions

Here are some tips to help you respond confidently and effectively to the toughest interview questions:

Research the company

Research the company and what it does ahead of the job interview by looking at the official company website, social media platforms and professional networking sites. Run an online search to find articles, blogs and other content about the company. Additionally, read reviews by current and former employees on job sites to learn about their experiences with the company.

Review the role

Read the job description carefully to understand the exact work duties, and research the position online. Look up professionals in similar roles in the company, and check if they have said or written anything about their everyday work tasks. Consider connecting with them on social media, explaining your interest in working with their company and enquiring about the work responsibilities.

Related: 11 Creative Interview Questions And Their Sample Answers

Determine employer expectations

Find out what the company expects from a potential employee for the available position. For example, they may expect you to behave professionally, follow a set work schedule, perform assigned duties and complete work on time. Depending on the job, they may also expect you to be a team player, have presentation skills and know specific software programs.

Prepare in-depth responses

Researching the types of tough interview questions the company has asked candidates in the past and preparing in-depth responses to them can help ensure you give succinct and professional answers on the day of the interview. When drafting your answers, consider why they might ask these questions and what kind of responses they expect. Think carefully about what you can bring to the role that can distinguish you from other candidates.

Related: ‘Tell Us About A Time You Missed A Deadline' Interview Question

Rehearse before the interview

Get information about the recruitment process at the company, and ask a colleague to conduct a mock interview to help you prepare. Consider also recording the mock interview to self-assess your performance. Because the way you answer questions is as important as what you say, rehearse until your response delivery comes across as smooth and confident. Interviewers are more likely to shortlist you as a candidate if you portray yourself as positive, capable and self-assured.

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