human resources online

How to handle these tough interview questions


No matter how many times you have been in an interview, you will inevitably feel a mixture of nerves, excitement and anxiety. You also know that certain questions are bound to come up. This means preparation is everything which will help you answer calmly and with confidence.

CareerBuilder created a list of the most common interview questions and suggestions on how to handle them so that you can shine in your next big job interview.

1.Would you be willing to take a salary cut? 

Salary is a delicate topic so proceed with caution but answer honestly so that you do not waste anyone's time

Suggestion:  I understand that the salary range for this position is [$XX - $XX]. Like most people, I was hoping to earn a higher salary, but I would regret it if I passed up such a golden opportunity to work for a company I admire because of this.

That’s why I would be open to negotiating a lower starting salary but hope to revisit the subject in a few months after I've proved myself to you.

2. "Why did you leave your last job?"

This is not the time to bash your old company no matter how terrible they treated you, focus on your career and aspirations.

Suggestion: While [company X] provided me with a tremendous amount of experience for which I am grateful, I'm looking to be challenged in a more creative way, I think this job would suit me and my career goals.

3. "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Find a balance between showing you are a stable employee with ambitions and goals but keep owning your own company or retiring at 40 or settling down with a family to yourself.

Suggestion: Ideally, I would like to work for a young company, such as this one, so I can get in on the ground floor and take advantage of all the opportunities a growing firm has to offer.

4. "What are your weaknesses?"

You want to be honest but not too honest that you sound like a terrible fit for the job.   You also want to avoid the humble brag which interviewers can see right through, "I'm a perfectionist" for example. Instead, focus on things you can improve.

Suggestion: In my last position, I didn’t have an opportunity to develop my public-speaking skills. I'd really like to work in a place that will help me become a dependable presenter.

5. "Tell me about yourself. 

The answer should be concise and about your professional qualifications not a history lesson about your life.

Suggestion:  I graduated from University X and since then, I have been working in X where I have done X. While I have enjoyed X I am looking for a new challenge and expand my horizons in X.

And remember at the end of the day you are not the only one who has to answer questions, make sure the company is a good fit and see 7 interview questions candidates should be asking.

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

Related topics

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top Human Resources stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's Human Resources development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window