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Top 15 Tough Interview Questions

Question 1 of 19
What is your long-range career objective?
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Question 2 of 19
Why should we hire you?
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"You should hire me because I am unlike anyone else you have interviewed before. When I started my current company, I was the youngest salesperson they had ever hired. That didn't stop me from becoming the #1 sales person in the company within six months. I am dedicated to my craft and engaged in this industry to the point where I commit myself to taking at least one business development or leadership related workshop every business quarter. I am a competitive achiever. You won't be disappointed when you hire me."
Interviewers want to hear about that one unique skill that sets you apart from the other candidates applying for this job. Think of your answer as your 'elevator pitch' or your qualifying statement. If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived.

Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This skill could include any industry accolades, exceptional achievements, additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most influential advocate.

Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"You should hire me because I'm qualified and passionate about your cause. I am excited about the idea of delivering value to your organization and will hustle for the opportunity to go above and beyond for your customers."
Sales Example
"When I read the job description, I smiled because it was as though you wrote it with me in mind. I have three years dedicated to exceeding my sales goals, inside and outside sales experience, and I know the industry. Also, I was the fastest promoted in my previous position and have led the rollout of new markets in my current job, making me ideally positioned to help you continue to build your sales organization, markets, and exceed financial metrics. Not to mention, I am looking for a company that I can stay with for the long haul, something that you said you value earlier as well."
Retail Example
"I have over a dozen years of experience in a related industry at one of your largest competitors. I have a proven track record of successes there and will bring that knowledge with me. I also offer creative solutions on how to position your department against the competition, and ideas that will help elevate your business to the next level. Having been a part of the industry for nearly half of my life, I have seen a ton of change and have adapted to every change or innovation with ease and excitement, and I look forward to doing that at your company as well."
Marketing Example
"I know that my years in sales, freelancing as a marketer, and working on different marketing campaigns have prepared me to be a great asset to your team. I believe that I am the best fit for the role because of my experience, passion for marketing, and more specifically, excitement for your company and product. Having been a customer and fan for years, I know that I will be able to bring more fire and energy to the role than my fellow applicants, and am certain that I am the right fit for your team."
Manager Example
"You mentioned earlier in the interview process that you were struggling with maintaining staff and retaining them. I have an incredible onboarding strategy that took my current company from a 35% turnover rate to just 5% in twelve months. I will turn this pain point around for you."
Teacher Example
"In addition to winning the 'Top Educator of the Year' award in my current district this year, I also bring an elevated level of education compared to most candidates. I have my Masters' Degree in Education and have also taught first-year University classes for future educators. I look forward to bringing this knowledge and influence to your school."
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Question 3 of 19
Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume.
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"I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in a variety of races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit."
The interviewer would like to get to know you apart from your resume. You are indeed not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your kids, or relationship status, for instance. Stick with a couple of fun facts to show the interviewer that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate!

Focus on unique non-work related skills or hobbies. For instance, you might share that you enjoy beat-boxing or making origami swans. Be prepared for the interviewer to stop you and ask you to perform your skill on the spot when it's possible! (This will make you unforgettable!)

Specific Career Examples
Retail Example
"I moved here from Ukraine when I was 8, speaking only Russian, and learned English from my Palestinian neighbor who spoke zero Russian. How? I'm still not sure, but we were pals and hung out daily and somehow figured out how to communicate! This experience taught me a lot about the importance of eliminating pre-conceived notions of others based on their background."
Sales Example
"I am bilingual in Spanish and have some proficiency in French and Italian, too. I also am a huge Harry Potter fan and could pretty much quote each book to you! Are you a Harry Potter fan?"
Marketing Example
"I am a certified yoga instructor, and I spent three months after college traveling and doing yoga. I spent six weeks in Asia and another six weeks in Latin America, and it was a fantastic experience that helped me to grow as both a yogi and a professional."
Manager Example
"I currently run a meetup group in our city for ultimate frisbee! I have met many new friends this way and always encourage my team to participate when they can. Healthy competition is great for team building, too."
Admin Example
"I am a complete organization nerd, which you may have already gathered from our interview time together. I have created and designed customer personal planners that are downloads which I sell on Etsy. My shop offers me a great side income, and essentially runs itself!"
Teacher Example
"I have not included the information on my resume; however, I put in volunteer efforts on weekends. It's important that I give back to the community which is why I act as a volunteer coordinator for the women's shelter."
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Question 4 of 19
What would your most recent boss say about you if they were asked to describe your character?
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"If my current employer were asked to describe me I believe they would say that I am determined, collaborative, and broad-minded. Also, during my post-secondary years, I would hear those compliments from time to time, and it was always very encouraging. I was a strong student and am a dedicated employee."
Think of some words that best describe your work ethic and character. If you are new to the workforce, feel free to refer to a professor from your post-secondary experience or even a high school teacher, or coach.

Be sure to include descriptive words that will ensure you are a standout candidate. Most people, when asked this question, will say they are 'reliable' and 'easy to get along with.' A well-thought and unique answer to this question will give you a better chance of impressing the interviewer.

Here are some unique descriptive words you could use:

- Honest
- Attentive
- Committed
- Persistent
- Motivated
- Tenacious
- Respectful

Specific Career Examples
Retail Example
"My professors would describe me as diligent and someone who asks thoughtful questions. I am curious by nature and am always asking questions to understand a topic or situation better."
Sales Example
"I believe my manager would describe me as persistent, goal-oriented, not afraid to push the envelope, and always wanting more. Also, I think he would add that I am always up for the challenge and am fun to be around."
Admin Example
"My boss would say that I am a people-pleaser who is enthusiastic about my job, the people I care for and doing the right thing. She would say that I am a go-getter, that I love what I do, and I approach situations with care and tact."
Marketing Example
"My boss would describe me as creative, committed, and inquisitive. I am always looking to learn something new, try a new approach, and am dependable."
Manager Example
"My character is something that I am very attached to, and I am proud of the reputation that I have developed over the years. When you call my boss for a reference, I believe she will say that I am tenacious, motivated, and let by numbers and data."
Teacher Example
"If asked to describe my character, my current Principal, and faculty would say that I am eager to help, creative with my lesson plans, and respectful of the needs and boundaries of others."
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Question 5 of 19
What qualities do you feel make a manager successful?
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A great manager is someone to who people want to be like. An active manager will have exceptional interpersonal, and relationship building skills. Talk to the interviewer about some of the qualities that you admire, and value, in a leader.

If you are applying for a management position, discuss the best management qualities that you hold. It's a great idea to draw some ideas from the company's job description as that document will have many useful keywords you can bring into the conversation.

Some great management qualities are:

- Accountable
- Invested in Culture
- Positive Mindset
- Perceptive
- Approachable
- Empathetic
- Honest
- Patient
- Decisive
Specific Career Examples
Admin Example
"Most importantly, I think a successful manager should have great people skills. People are your most valuable asset and your ability to work with, get along with and inspire people to work well with you is critical to your success as a manager."
Sales Example
"I believe the best type of manager leads by example at all times. They are approachable, hardworking, and fair. Also, they don't just talk the talk without walking the walk. It is irksome when a leader says that we need to put in the long hours but leaves earlier than everyone else, for instance."
Retail Example
"In my experience, a manager is only as successful as their investment in their people is strong. A manager must care for their employees, and make sure they are growing to meet expectations. A successful manager will communicate expectations, hold people accountable for achievable goals and be the shining light that gets everyone fired up to do their best at all times. That means not taking favorites, and leading by example at all times."
Marketing Example
"I think the most successful manager is someone who is firm but nurturing. I like a manager who is like a coach, always working to make me better and willing to teach me something, but firm and direct when needed."
Teacher Example
"I believe it's essential that a leader identifies talent and nurtures it. I've seen far too many Principals and District leads choose favorites and let more talented folks go by the wayside, which is a shame for everyone involved. A leader needs to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and always ready to roll up his or her sleeves and tackle even the smallest of projects to help out the team."
Manager Example
"I read in your job description for this role that you are looking for a manager who is collaborative and energetic. I agree that these are must-have qualities for a manager to be successful. I certainly identify with these qualities. Some qualities that make me a successful manager are my strong listening and analytical skills, and my decisiveness when it comes to decision making."
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Question 6 of 19
How has your post-secondary education prepared you for this job?
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Question 7 of 19
Have you ever experienced conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?
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Question 8 of 19
What motivates you?
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Question 9 of 19
Tell me about the worst manager you ever had.
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Question 10 of 19
What questions do you have for me?
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Question 11 of 19
Do you ever use your sense of humor to diffuse a situation at work?
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Question 12 of 19
What is your biggest regret?
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Question 13 of 19
What was one question you didn't want me to ask today?
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Question 14 of 19
What was your least favorite job? Why?
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Question 15 of 19
Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person. How did you handle it?
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Question 16 of 19
Why do you think you will be successful in this role?
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Question 17 of 19
How do you manage your time, even on the busiest days?
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Question 18 of 19
Do you consider yourself a team player?
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Question 19 of 19
Why should we not hire you?
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