Common Tricky Interview Questions With Example Answers

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Preparation is the key to success in any interview. Though it’s wise to spend a substantial amount of time researching career-specific interview questions, you can rehearse answers to tricky interview questions as well. Learn what tricky interview questions are and why interviewers ask them and review some examples of confusing interview questions with sample answers.

What are tricky interview questions?

Tricky interview questions are confusing or seemingly random questions that are designed to startle a candidate. They can range from difficult questions about your career to inquiries about the number of windows in a major city.

Why do interviewers ask tricky interview questions?

Interviewers ask tricky questions to evaluate your thought process and problem-solving skills when faced with a difficult situation. They want to know how you handle the unexpected and uncomfortable.

Common confusing questions to prepare for before an interview

Here is a list of tricky interview questions along with sample answers.

Everyone exaggerates about something on their resume. What did you embellish?

This question is hoping to coax you into admitting that you have misled hiring managers with the information on your resume. It’s important to remain truthful on your resume and cover letter so that you can provide an honest answer to this tricky question.

Example: I have complete confidence that my abilities and experience are accurately depicted in my resume, cover letter, and portfolio. If you’d like, I can answer any questions regarding the information I’ve presented. You are free to confirm those details by contacting any of my listed references.

Describe your dream job

This question is often used to evaluate a candidate’s commitment to the role they are applying for. When answering, it’s a good idea to connect the job you are applying for to your dream position by highlighting the opportunities for you to learn and grow. Adversely, if the position you are applying for is your dream job, make that clear with your answer.

Example: I have always dreamed of working in advertising as a creative director, and I know that a junior art director role, like this one, with an agency that has so much recognition, is the perfect place for me to begin my career path.

What aspects of the job description sound the most difficult and why?

Interviewers ask this to assess whether your strengths are able to match the needs of the company. As with your resume, it is wise to remain as truthful as possible about your capabilities, but you can counteract any discrepancies by communicating that you welcome challenges and actively search for opportunities to develop your skills.

Example: A majority of my experience as a graphic designer has been spent developing ad campaigns, flyers, and logos. I’m less familiar with designing websites, but I have been actively searching for a chance to grow my skills in this area.

What will your references likely say about you and your work?

Hiring managers want to see if you’ll offer any details that could indicate a negative past experience or inability to fill your position. Remember that your references have agreed to vouch for you and are likely planning to speak positively about you and your professional abilities.

Example: I really enjoyed working with every reference that I provided, and I’m sure that they feel the same way. I accomplished a lot while working with them, and we have developed meaningful professional relationships.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

Employers want to know that you are committed to your career and the role that you are interviewing for. Even if you are uncertain if you will be working for the same company in five years, your answer can demonstrate a commitment to the industry or field. To communicate a dedication to your professional development, it’s a good idea to provide a few specific things that you hope to achieve.

Example: In five years, I hope to be working in this industry but in a position that holds more responsibility. I hope that my determination to continuously learn and grow will help me continue to develop into an expert in my field while remaining challenged and fulfilled.

Why do you want to work for this company?

This question is trying to gauge whether you have researched the organization and are eager to join their team. Try to focus your answer on the company’s mission and values. After you have outlined why you want to work at the company, talk about your interest in the role you are interviewing for.

Example: This company is invested in things that I’m passionate about. It would be an honor to work at a place that is so committed to creating excellent products that help the environment. I think that this position would be a wonderful chance for me to help the company reach its goals.

If you could work anywhere, which company would you want to work for?

Interviewers want to evaluate your interest in their company and some of the other places you may be applying to. Avoid mentioning other companies and focus on illustrating how their company is your primary choice.

Example: I’ve spent a lot of time researching places that I might want to work. This company aligned with my goals, values, and mission the most. I think this work environment would be great for me and that I could add value to this team.

What is your biggest weakness?

An interviewer wants to evaluate your self-awareness and determination to overcome your biggest challenges. Though it’s okay to name a few areas that could use improvement, frame them as opportunities to grow.

Example: I’m extremely detail-oriented, which often translates into perfectionism. My work is usually high-quality because of it. Still, it can cause me to become obsessed with inconsequential details and spend more time on a task than I should. I’ve been working on this by experimenting with productivity and time management strategies.

Are you considering any other roles that are similar to this one?

This question is intended to discover your professional goals as well as where else you are applying. Avoid naming specific companies. Focus on the skills and interests that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for.

Example: Yes, I’m looking for opportunities in this field that match this job description. I’m passionate about this type of work, and I feel that the details of this particular position really match my interests and experience.

Are you the kind of person who works while on vacation?

This question can be tricky because you want to appear dedicated to your work and create healthy boundaries. Emphasize that while you are committed to your work, you understand you can only be effective if you take care of your well-being.

Example: I’m willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish my goals, but I take my vacation time seriously. I know that it is the key to my professional growth and success. I avoid working while on vacation, but I always take care of my responsibilities before I leave and assure my manager that I can be reached during emergencies.


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