Guide to Tough Interview Questions With Example Answers

Tough interview questions give hiring managers some valuable insights into the type of employee that you will be. Interviewers ask many of these questions to test your integrity, self-awareness and ability to fit in with the company culture. In this article, you will find several questions and sample answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Why do interviewers ask tough questions?

Tough questions help interviewers get to essential information and helpful details as quickly as possible. For example, asking about your biggest personal weakness can let them know what to expect from your performance if they hire you. Asking difficult questions also gives the hiring manager an idea of how you respond to stress. If you are able to provide a clear, confident answer to a tough question, you may show the interviewer that you can respond well under pressure. 

Tips to help prepare for tough interview questions

The following questions along with the sample answers can help you prepare for tough interview questions:

Why are you leaving your current position?

Interviewers may ask why you’re leaving your current position so they can determine whether you’ll be happy in your new position if you accept a job. Provide a positive answer that emphasizes the opportunities you’re looking forward to in the future.

Example: ‘I’ve learned a great deal in my time with Warner and Associates and believe that I’m ready to take on a job with more responsibility. There are limited opportunities for upward movement where I am now. I feel that moving to a new organization is the best way for me to continue growing in my career.’

Why do you want to work here?

Hiring managers ask this question to find out more about your career goals and learn what you can bring to the company. Show them that you’re serious about this job by including company-specific details in your response. Come prepared with a few points that highlight how you’re uniquely suited to a position with this business.

Example: ‘This company has an outstanding reputation for its innovative apps. As a developer, I’ve been intrigued by products like Sweet Tooth and Beach Splash for a long time. I believe my skills in app development and graphic design would be a great fit for similar mobile games.’

What criticism do you receive most often?

Similar to ‘what is your greatest weakness,’ this question gives the interviewer insights into your self-awareness and honesty. Your response can also show the interviewer your dedication to self-improvement. Offer an honest assessment of the areas where you struggle and mention ways that you’re working to better yourself.

Example: ‘I’ve had difficulty scrambling to finish projects at the last minute. My supervisors most often criticize my lack of delegation. I tend to tackle everything myself, but I’ve been working on improving my leadership skills so I can better divide the responsibilities involved in big projects.’

What does the perfect workday look like to you?

This question gives interviewers an idea of how satisfied you’ll be with their work environment. If elements of your perfect day align with the culture and activities available with the company you’re interviewing for, the hiring manager will see ways that you might fit well in the organization. Prepare an answer specific to that company. Touch on two or three highlights of the day to keep your answer brief.

Example: ‘My perfect workday would include a brainstorming session with the development team. I really enjoy opportunities to utilize my creative thinking skills. After that, I’d like to spend the afternoon working on graphic design. Creating the first few wireframes for a new project is especially exhilarating for me.’

How would your previous supervisor describe you?

This question tests your self-awareness. The hiring manager can easily call your previous supervisor for a reference and compare your answer to your supervisor’s response. Provide an honest and balanced assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. If you know of specific compliments or criticisms that your supervisor would share, don’t hesitate to include these, as it will demonstrate your honesty, particularly if the interviewer does speak to your supervisor later.

Example: ‘I believe my last supervisor would describe me as punctual and reliable. I never arrived late and took only three sick days in my four years with the company. She might also mention that I take on too much sometimes and have been admonished for staying late when it wasn’t always necessary.’

What do you wish you had done differently in your last job?

Hiring managers can learn about your career goals with this question. Provide one or two examples of instances where you believe a different action would have produced a better outcome. Conclude with an example of how you’re making the appropriate changes to prevent any future regrets of this kind.

Example: ‘If I could go back, I would focus on graphic design earlier in my career. I worked heavily with coding initially, and while I still enjoy coding, I believe that I could have more advanced design skills at this stage if I had worked on that area more early on. I’m currently taking a graphic design course to improve in that area.’