How to Answer Tricky Interview Questions

Two Methods:PrepareIn the Interview

Employers use job interviews to assess the character of potential employees, so acing an interview can be a huge help when it comes to landing a competitive job. Because interviews are important, employers often test the interviewees with tough questions. With a few tips and tricks up your sleeve, all your interviews from here on out will be no sweat. Next up you'll need to read How to Accept a Job Offer!

Method 1

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    Practice beforehand. Have a friend or family member think up questions, and practice answering them. It will help with nerves, and help you sound polished.
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    Have a "theme". Politicians use this tactic in press conferences. Pick one of your strengths-- for example, your foreign language skills-- and connect your answers back to that strength.

Method 2
In the Interview

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    Calm down. Before you even enter the room, make sure you are focused and relaxed. If you're already calm, great! Stay that way. Make sure you drink enough water, but don't spill any on yourself. This will keep your brain working at its best, and will also reduce the possibility of your mouth going dry.
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    Pause! It may seem like an eternity of silence, but it's really only 10 seconds or so. However, be sure to acknowledge the question. Say "Wow. That's a hard question. I've got to think about that for a second." It's much better to wait a few seconds and come up with a good answer than to plunge in blindly and say something silly.
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    Make a good entrance. Come in the door smiling and confident, and make sure not to trip on anything. Your interviewer will probably shake your hand; grip firmly, but just barely gentle enough to not hurt anybody. Remember that confidence is important, but so is humility.
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    Be honest. Remember, your potential employer is assessing you personally, and has interviewed many, many people in his or her career. He or she can smell a phony answer right away!
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    Think. Not just on the tricky questions, but on all of them: don't open your mouth until you know exactly what you're going to say. The human mouth has an amazing ability to say something incredibly stupid at the worst possible time. Don't let this tendency take advantage of you.
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    Ask for clarification. Say, "I want to make sure we're both on the same page. Were you asking for [rephrase the question]?"
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    Pick the "best answer", which is the response which answers the question honestly and portrays you in a good light.
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    Don't let your interviewer shake you. Keep in mind that one of the purposes of the tricky questions is to make you uncomfortable. Keep your cool at all costs; you'll need it for the rest of the interview. Besides, don't forget, your performance under pressure is being tested here.
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    Own up to shortcomings and offer a suggestion of how you work to improve. For example, say "I know I tend to be disorganized, so at my last job I created a filing system for myself so I wouldn't lose things on my desk."


  • Eye contact can help establish connection with your interviewer (assuming this is culturally appropriate).
  • Speak slowly and clearly, as most people tend to speed up and lose clarity when nervous.
  • Make sure you look professional. Give yourself some time to make sure you look perfect. Looks are an important part of making a good first impression; perhaps more important than they should be, but use this to your advantage.
  • Don't worry about anything. Put all your worries out of your mind, or they will interrupt your focus in the middle of your interview.
  • Avoid excessive hand gestures, which can distract from what you're saying.
  • Don't skip breakfast. Your brain will need all the help it can get.

Article Info

Categories: Interview Skills