How to survive curly interview questions: Tell me about yourself?

How to survive curly interview questions: Tell me about yourself?



JobFlex’s Job Seeker Guide

We have all been there, sitting in an interview – the first couple of questions have been easy to answer, you are feeling confident and then suddenly BAM, you are hit with a difficult or unexpected question.  What do you do?

Job seekers need to anticipate strange, weird and left of center interview questions – employers often throw these questions in  for candidates to demonstrate their thought process, to communicate their values and character and to show the prospective employer how they perform under pressure.

The list of difficult, strange and down-right bizarre interview questions is endless, we could be here all day writing every tricky one that has ever existed however still would not even scratch the surface.  Today we cover 3 apparently simple (yet in reality not so) interview questions – with more to follow in the coming weeks.

Oh this pearler.  It seems such a simple, easy question yet in reality really allows an interviewer to determine the sort of person you are.  The best idea here is to have a few key statements prepared in advance – limited to work related items. This is not the time to list the achievements of your children, the car you drive, details on your family or whether you were school captain 20 years ago!

This can be the most difficult question that you will have to answer (especially if you are wishing to leave under less than wonderful circumstances). You may have resigned, been made redundant, wake up one morning and decide your job was really not for you, hurled abuse at the receptionist and marched out of the door then and there – the reasons are endless however there is a good chance you will have to explain it during your interview.

An incredibly important thing to remember here is NOT to start ripping into your former boss or company and to stay positive– no matter how much you cannot stand the company, a colleague or the work you are currently performing an interview is not the place to vent your frustrations.

IF YOU WERE FIRED: Be honest, but quick about explaining it. Don’t get into the political details, rather, explain what you learned from the experience and how it makes you an even stronger employee today. Never lie about your termination. When the interviewer calls your references, they will most likely find out you were fired anyway. So be honest, and explain what you learned.

IF YOU WERE MADE REDUNDANT: In this day and age, it is common and not nearly as taboo as years ago, so there is no need to apologize or act defeated. If a company goes bankrupt, restructures or simply performs a staff cleansing process, simply explain, “Because of the economy, the company decided to eliminate six departments, including mine.”

IF YOU QUIT: Again, be honest and stay positive. State that the work being offered wasn’t challenging enough, that you are seeking higher levels of responsibility or simply that you are ready to make the next step on your career ladder.

Ie Did you ever have an argument with your boss/co-worker/courier etc? How did you handle it?

It is human nature that conflicts, issues and arguments are part of a working culture everywhere – anyone who says they have never worked in a work environment where conflict existed must be lying.

So be honest. Just don’t go ahead criticizing your boss and tell how much you hate or mention that he does not to accept change, etc, etc. Ultimately you will have a boss at your new company too, so answer this question carefully.

Everyone understands that people have arguments/disagreements with their bosses, so make sure that you mention an example of an argument with your boss and how you resolved it. It could be about a new product, project or a method of execution. In every company it is assumed that people agree to disagree. This very notion causes people to come with the best product or service

Answers to this question should come from your personal experience. Always remember to be honest and don’t use an example that will reduce your chances of getting the job.  This is most definitely an question that is worth dedicating some time to prior to going on interviews – the chances are you won’t be asked it, however as always it pays to be prepared.

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