12 pitfalls of an interview and how to answer them

Are you smarter than a breeder? If you prepare yourself properly, you can be!

During a job interview, the recruiter can ask you tricky questions with the intent of catching you out. This is not because he enjoys seeing you in trouble, but simply because he wants to make sure you are the right candidate.

The tricky questions

The recruiter knows that you’ve most likely practiced answering traditional job questions best, so they’ll try to challenge you with more deceptive questions.

The tricky questions allow the recruiter to get a clearer idea of ​​your background, your skills, your personality, and how you will behave in the workplace if you are offered the role.

The recruiter must be convinced that not only you are a competent candidate, but that you are also able to adapt to the company.

Does your personality match corporate culture? Will you have the right attitude to manage every situation in the workplace? Do you know and are you convinced of what you want on a professional level?

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Remember that for some tricky questions, there may not be a right or wrong answer. The recruiter wants to see a candidate who is convinced of the claims they make and aware of their skills and abilities.

For this reason, when answering trick questions try to provide the recruiter with specific examples of experiences and situations you have faced in the workplace.

The recruiter, to trust your answers, needs the episode stories that demonstrate how you behaved in different circumstances and how you used your skills.

When answering the recruiter’s questions, you must keep in mind the characteristics of the company and the position you are applying for. To personalize your answers and create a match between you, your skills, and the requirements requested by the company.

Tricky questions and how to answer them

The trick questions are of different types, based on the trait of you they want to investigate.

Questions that concern you and your personality

Preparing for an interview is a good opportunity to study yourself. The recruiter wants to find out what your personality is, he wants to evaluate how you see yourself and how aware you are.

These questions investigate the way you are and act in particular circumstances in the workplace.

What is your relationship with bankruptcy?

The recruiter is interested in understanding how you see failure, if you have failed in the past and how you have reacted to it. In the workplace, as in life, things do not always go as expected, and it is very important to react to “defeats” positively.

The recruiter wants to make sure you can learn from failure to improve and grow.

If you could relive the last 10 years of your life what would you do differently?

This is a very deceptive question that the recruiter asks to find out your flaws and to know your true intentions, from a professional point of view. Be careful not to get carried away by revealing your regrets and disappointments.

You have to convince the recruiter that you are in the right place at the right time, that you are convinced of your choices, and ready to embark on this new path.

Do you consider yourself a lucky person?

The recruiter asks you this question to figure out if you are a positive or negative person. In the most difficult situations do you see the glass half-full or half-empty? Are you grateful for what you have? Did you make the most of the opportunities?

The recruiter and the employer are looking for an enthusiastic and positive person to join the company. Furthermore, this question is an opportunity to show how your skills have made you achieve great results.

Questions about your weaknesses

Questions like “What is your biggest weakness?” put the candidate in difficulty, but the recruiter likes to do them to get to know you better.

The recruiter wants you to be honest, but you don’t have to dig too deep and reveal all the darker sides of you and your past.

There are good and bad ways to answer questions in this category. The sure thing you won’t have to do is pretend to be perfect, to have no flaws, to have never made a mistake, never doubted, or never encountered difficulties in the workplace.

This is unrealistic and the interviewer would think you are arrogant or unaware of yourself.

The best way to answer the trick questions about your weaknesses (your flaws, mistakes, critical moments) is, to be honest, positive, and focused on solutions: when you talk about the difficulties you’ve experienced, put emphasis on how you got through them.

What did you learn from your mistakes at work?

No candidate is always perfect, everyone makes mistakes occasionally. The recruiter asks you this question to evaluate your ability to take responsibility for the mistakes made and to learn from them.

What do the people you work with criticize them most often?

With this question, the recruiter not only wants to test your level of self-awareness but also wants to know if you can accept criticism from others.

A good way to answer this question is to talk about a weakness you have that, on occasion, has proved useful for doing a good job.

Why didn’t you work for a long time?

A big red flag for the recruiter is the fact that a candidate has been unemployed for several months.

It is in the recruiter’s interest to understand whether this was the candidate’s choice (lack of direction or ambition, laziness) or whether certain circumstances beyond the candidate’s control influenced this decision.

Questions about your work experience

Being past situations you must rethink your experiences and prepare precise answers for this type of question: if you hesitate or try to invent the answer at the moment, the recruiter will have doubts about your words.

If the recruiter asks you to talk about the difficulties you have faced at work or negative episodes that have interested you, remember to always highlight the positive side of your stories. Don’t speak ill of the context where you worked or the people you met.

Try to be enthusiastic and always ready to cooperate.

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What did you like most and what least about your previous job?

Even if honesty always pays off, too much sincerity could play tricks on you to answer this question.

The recruiter tries to find out if you are an employee who complains and is dissatisfied with what he does. It also wants to understand what aspects of the job you like least: a big negative sign for the recruiter is the fact that the candidate does not really like those elements that will be present in the new job.

So don’t mention tasks and responsibilities that are essential to fulfill the proposed role.

Who is the best manager you have had and the one with whom you have less agreement?

This is another question that helps the recruiter to better understand your personality. Can you appreciate the positive aspects of your boss? Or is it more negative things you have to say about him/her?

Always avoid speaking ill of the people you have worked with and instead focus on the positive things your previous managers have left you, without judging them.

What were the most rewarding and least rewarding things about your previous job?

As with any trick question, emphasize the most exciting and beneficial elements of your job. Focus on the ones that will be most important in your work.

For the less rewarding aspects, mention minor things that aren’t critical in the new job.

Questions about the new job

This category includes questions that aim to understand how you see the new job and what you expect from it.

With these questions, the recruiter investigates what your expectations and needs are and assesses if they match what the employer expects from the person to hire and can offer to this person.

Every company is different and for this reason, the recruiter wants to make sure that a good match is created between what you want and what the company can give you. And vice versa.

What do you expect from your manager?

The recruiter is interested in whether you, as an employee, can be guided by your bosses in your work and have good expectations of them.

To answer this question, providing a list of things you would NOT want your manager to do is not the best choice. Instead, try to give examples of the management style that most motivates you to do a good job.

How much do you expect to earn?

The recruiter wants to make sure your salary expectations are reasonable.

The best strategy you can adopt is to mention the average salary of a professional figure like you, in that sector, and state your willingness to negotiate, at the right time, the salary.

What would you do differently today in the work you haven’t done in the past?

This question might also fall into the category of your weaknesses and mistakes. Think carefully before answering and think about the lessons you have learned after making mistakes or experiencing inefficiencies in your work.

Explain to the interviewer how you were able to transform a negative experience into learning that brought you great benefits.

Other questions

Some of the most common job interview pitfalls are:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Tell me something that isn’t on your resume
  • What are you looking for in your next job?
  • Do you think you are too qualified for this job?
  • Do you consider yourself unqualified for this job?
  • What makes it unique?
  • What other companies did you apply to?
  • Do you consider yourself a successful person? Why?

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How to impress the selector

The first thing you need to do when answering questions, and especially pitfalls, is, to be honest. Trying to present yourself as someone you are not could make you fall into the traps of the recruiter, who has the objective of investigating you thoroughly and finding out if you are hiding something.

You have to consider if the position is really what you want and if you are willing to stay in that company for a long time. You have to ask yourself if your personality and characteristics are suitable for carrying out those tasks, if your work ethic fits well in that context, and based on the answers you give to yourself you can then formulate a convincing answer for the recruiter.

The recruiter, most of the time, notices when a candidate is insecure and is pretending, and if during the interview he will not be able to get a clear idea about you, he will never choose you for a job. So, try to tell yourself with sincerity and transparency.

Also, remember to make sure that your answers create a match between you and the position offered and the company. Therefore, good preparation, doing thorough research on the company, and your role, is essential to formulate effective responses.

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