MockQuestions

Tough Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your next job interview, here are 30 of our hardest interview questions.

Tough was written by and updated on December 5th, 2020. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

What is your long-range career objective?

How to Answer

Onboarding new employees is a time consuming and costly endeavor, so the interviewer wants to make sure that this role will be a long-term fit for you. Be open to the interviewer about your dreams within this company, on a long-term basis. Share what promotions you hope to eventually receive and discuss what you wish to learn from being a part of their organization. The key to answering this question is to express to the interviewer that you plan to stay with the company for many years to come.

Written by Rachelle Enns

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List of 30 Tough Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    What is your long-range career objective?

      How to Answer

      Onboarding new employees is a time consuming and costly endeavor, so the interviewer wants to make sure that this role will be a long-term fit for you. Be open to the interviewer about your dreams within this company, on a long-term basis. Share what promotions you hope to eventually receive and discuss what you wish to learn from being a part of their organization. The key to answering this question is to express to the interviewer that you plan to stay with the company for many years to come.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      1st Answer Example

      "While visiting your company website I noticed that you have some leadership opportunities available in a variety of locations. I would love to work my way into a management or leadership role with your organization and would be willing to relocate to do so. I like what your organization stands for, and I hope to see a current fit, and future growth, here."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Admin

      "Currently I support a couple of management-level executives; however, as you can see from my application to your position, I wish to gain a position that includes supporting executives in the C-suite. I want to earn my way to the top of your executive chain by proving my dedication to the people whom I support."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Manager

      "My long-range objective is to be a director within your organization. I am constantly looking to improve myself professionally and personally and would welcome the opportunity to do that within your organization."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Marketing

      "I am looking for a position with which I can grow, specifically into a Director of Marketing position. I know it's a few years off, of course, but that's where I am looking to end up within the next 5 or so years."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Retail

      "I am a long-haul type of employee, as you can see from my decade-plus employment with my current organization. That said, I am looking to make a longterm career change. One in which I can grow into an executive management role, with my eyes set on GM of the store in the next four years or so. Of course, I know there are plenty of milestones to reach on the way to that end and intend to achieve floor manager in the next 1-2 years."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Sales

      "My long-term goal is to move into an executive leadership role: ideally a VP of Sales or Customer Success. That said, I know there is a long way to go to getting there, so my next goal is a management role. I love that you promote heavily from within and I look forward to the opportunity to rise through the ranks of the organization into an executive role."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Teacher

      "My long-range career objective is to extend my post-secondary education to include a Masters' degree and eventually work my way into a Vice-Principal position. If my passion as an educator could influence other teachers, that would be my biggest dream."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Community Answer

      "My long-range career objective is to get to know the company better, and I hope to be given challenges and opportunities that will allow me to enhance my skills and management experience. Hopefully, soon, gaining enough exploration with my skills and experience, I will be promoted to a management position."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Rachelle Enns

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Rachelle Enns Reviewed the Above Answer

      It seems you have a clear path set out for yourself. If there are specific challenges and opportunities that you would like to see (i.e., leading bigger teams, writing new HR policies, taking workshops), that would be an excellent addition to your response.

  • 2.

    Why should we hire you?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      1st Answer Example

      "You should hire me because I am unlike anyone else you have interviewed before. When I started at 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 take 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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      Admin

      "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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Manager

      "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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Marketing

      "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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Retail

      "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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Sales

      "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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Teacher

      "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."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

      Community Answer

      "Because I am a very focus individual, who's engaged and eager to achieve results.

      I also love your company, and I would be proud to be part of it."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Lauren McCabe

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Lauren McCabe Reviewed the Above Answer

      Great start. I assisted in expanding your response slightly. See my suggestion below.

      "I am the right fit for this position because I possess a high level of skill, focus, and eagerness to succeed. I have explored areas of improvement, and I am dedicated to exceed expectations and grow my career through this opportunity. I have a strong affinity for the company and would be honored to be a part of it."

  • 3.

    Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn't know from reading your resume.

      How to Answer

      The interviewers would like to know what sets you apart from what is written on your resume. You are certainly not obligated to discuss personal matters such as your relationship status. Stick with a couple of interesting facts to show the interviewers that you are a real person, too. Your answer should be unique so that you are a memorable candidate!

      At the end of your response, remember to connect the factors you discuss and how they will ensure that you are a stellar choice for their open role.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      1st Answer Example

      "I am an avid marathon runner and have traveled to 10 countries in the last eight years to compete in various races. I am a competitive individual and enjoy keeping fit. I believe my competitive nature will benefit me in this role as I will show a consistent drive to deliver my best work every day."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      Admin

      "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 I sell on Etsy as digital downloads. My shop offers me a great side income and essentially runs itself. This organization and desire for order will help me succeed as an administrative professional since I pay attention to and fix details that most people may not even notice."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      Manager

      "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. By immersing myself in healthy competition, I have learned a lot about team building and collaboration in the workplace. As I grow these traits, I witness myself becoming a more skilled manager at the same time."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      Marketing

      "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 grow as both a yogi and a professional. For instance, I have grown in my acceptance of roadblocks. I have also developed a great deal of patience and mental fortitude, factors that will certainly benefit me in my career within the fast-paced marketing industry."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      Retail

      "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 preconceived notions of others based on their background. I believe this experience has helped me to embrace diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace. I consider myself an ally to all and will bring this mentality to work every day, ensuring I uphold the inclusive culture this organization has worked hard to develop."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      Sales

      "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! Being bilingual and having a variety of interests will help me excel in this sales role as I can connect with a wide range of potential customers."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      Teacher

      "I have not included the information on my resume; however, I put in volunteer efforts on weekends. I have a strong desire to give to my community, which is why I act as a volunteer coordinator for the women's shelter. As a teacher, this volunteer work has helped me to grow a greater sense of empathy for others while I also work to eliminate some existing bias that I was not aware that I held."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on December 5th, 2020

      Community Answer

      "I am a coffee lover! I have traveled around Bali and Lombok solely to taste different coffee beans. I have tried Madagascar and Ethiopian coffee beans as well, but have discovered Toraja and Mandailing coffee are my favorites."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Lauren McCabe

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Lauren McCabe Reviewed the Above Answer

      This is a great, unique factoid!

  • 4.

    How has your post-secondary education prepared you for this job?

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  • 5.

    Do you consider yourself a team player?

      How to Answer

      The answer to this question should always be, yes! No matter where you work, you need to be a team player, to help your company achieve its goals. Be prepared with an energetic and enthusiastic, 'Yes, I am!' Expand on this answer by sharing your philosophy on the importance of teamwork and being an active part of a team. Show the interviewer you understand that it takes a group of people for a company to achieve its goals, and you recognize that each person is a piece of the puzzle.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 6.

    Have you ever experienced conflict with a boss or professor? How was it resolved?

      How to Answer

      Employers want to know that you are respectful of your leaders. While you do not always have to agree with your leader, the interviewer wants to see that you respond to them with kindness and respect.

      Talk about a time when your boss made a choice to which you did not agree. Explain how you responded. The key to successfully answering this question is to impress upon the interviewer that you are a respectful employee who treats others with dignity and kindness. If you are newer to your career, you can draw from a post-secondary example (Perhaps you had a conflict with a professor).

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 7.

    What would your most recent boss say about you if they were asked to describe your character?

      How to Answer

      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

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 8.

    What qualities do you feel make a manager successful?

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  • 9.

    What was one question you didn't want me to ask today?

      How to Answer

      This question can stand in for the common 'What is your greatest weakness' question. The interviewer is expecting you to be unprepared because it's an uncommon way of asking a question. You may be less scripted than other points in your interview, and the interviewer wants to see how you deal with that.

      Two scenarios commonly play out: either a candidate blurts out a weakness, or they pause and respond with something thoughtful. This question gives the interviewer information about you but also a good sense of if you can think on your feet and answer a tough question. Use this as an opportunity to show how weakness can be a strength, or explain something they have not yet asked, but may be an objection to you getting the job. It is then up to you to overcome the opposition.

      Remember: it is okay to pause and be thoughtful about your response rather than blurting something out or seeming too rehearsed. Be prepared, but be sincere in your replies.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 10.

    What questions do you have for me?

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  • 11.

    Do you ever use your sense of humor to diffuse a situation at work?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know that you can diffuse a tense situation if needed. They also want to see a bit more of your personality! Stress and fast-paced work environments can cause people to feel overwhelmed and sometimes even angry or upset. Think of a time when you took a much more lighthearted approach to diffuse a tense situation.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 12.

    What is your biggest regret?

      How to Answer

      Think about a time you failed, or made a big mistake. What would you change about that situation, if you have an opportunity for a re-do? Perhaps there is a missed opportunity that you still regret not taking. This question sounds more intimidating than it is. Even though the interviewer is asking about your most significant regret, you indeed don't have to share the worst mistake you have ever made in your life. Make sure that you keep your answer professional and career-related.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 13.

    Tell me about the worst manager you ever had.

      How to Answer

      Everyone has had that one boss that nearly drove them crazy. If you haven't - consider yourself lucky! At the very least, you probably know someone who had a manager with which they did not mesh.

      Your worst manager may have been someone who didn't know how to take the lead. Maybe they lacked confidence or training. Talk to the interviewer about an experience you've had with a manager who was not a strong leader. Be sure to end on a positive note and avoid allowing this to become an opportunity to bring someone down.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 14.

    What was your least favorite job? Why?

      How to Answer

      Most people have had a job that they don't particularly love. Think about your least favorite situation and break down for the interviewer what made it so tiresome. Perhaps the responsibilities were mundane, or the co-workers were unfriendly. Discuss with the interviewer what made the job so complicated, and what you did to make it better for yourself. The interviewer wants to see that you are proactive in situations like this rather than just giving up and quitting.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 15.

    Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person. How did you handle it?

      How to Answer

      From your work history, picture a co-worker who didn't carry their weight or had a difficult personality. Maybe they were unmotivated or preoccupied with their personal life. Think about what bothered you about this person and how you were affected by their behavior. Most importantly, the interviewer wants to know how you let this person's behavior affect you and your work performance.

      Avoid taking this as an opportunity to complain about someone; instead, view it as an opportunity to showcase your ability to deal with difficult people while maintaining your productivity.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 16.

    Why do you think you will be successful in this role?

      How to Answer

      This question is another version of 'Why should we hire you?' Rather than just sharing how you have gone above and beyond, focus on how your qualities and skills will help you to exceed expectations. If you can, match your strengths to the requirements outlined in the job description.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on June 17th, 2018

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  • 17.

    How do you manage your time, even on the busiest days?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know more about the types of tools you use to stay on task and meet deadlines. Discuss how you prioritize when everything demands your attention at once. Think about the ways you manage your projects and daily tasks.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 18.

    What motivates you?

      How to Answer

      Typically, employees find motivation through environments where they feel supported and encouraged. The interviewer wants to know how they could drive you - even on the toughest of days! Be open with the interviewer about the ways you can stay motivated on the job when the going gets tough.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 19.

    Why should we not hire you?

      How to Answer

      This interview question is similar to 'What are your weaknesses?'. This question can be tricky to answer because you do not want to be a hundred percent honest and lay out all the reasons the interviewer should not hire you. Start your answer by saying there is no reason not to hire you. This reply displays confidence to the interviewer. Then focus on one skill which you still need to improve. Tell the interviewer you are weak in this one area but are actively looking to improve yourself there.

      Written by Rachelle Enns

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  • 20.

    Take a few minutes to bring your resume to life for me.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for an overview of your background. Because this question is so open ended, it can be easy to run away with your answer and even put your foot in your mouth. Offer a less than 5 minute brief of your related education or training, and then touch on the last 5-10 years of your career, depending on how far along you are in your professional career. You can discuss your volunteer experience and don't forget to talk about any extraordinary skills you may have.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 21.

    What do you know about us?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know how much time you have put into researching their organization before coming into your interview today. It's essential that you take the time to dig deep into the company's history as well as their successes. Just reading their Wikipedia page may not be enough. You should also Google search their company and look for awards or other exciting accolades to mention.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 22.

    Why are you looking for a new job?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is asking, point blank, what your reason is for seeking a new opportunity. Perhaps you were terminated, or your company closed their office. Maybe you are not receiving the growth opportunities you once thought you would have. Whatever your reasoning, be positive and do not speak poorly about your most recent employer.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 23.

    If you could change anything about your current job, what would it be?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like assurance that you are not merely looking for a replacement to soothe issues that will be the same in their position. For instance, if you say that you want a shorter commute but you still live far away from their particular office, this would be a red flag. Give a meaningful answer but be sure not to speak poorly of your current employer.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 24.

    Name one suggested area of improvement from your last performance review.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know which area of improvement your current boss has brought up, most recently. You do not need to go into in-depth detail on your performance review. Briefly mention one area that you are looking to improve and what you are doing to implement that constructive feedback. If you do not receive formal performance reviews, you can rely on a conversation or meeting that you have had at work in the last three months or so.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 25.

    Describe yourself in just three words.

      How to Answer

      By giving you only three words to describe yourself, the interviewer knows that you are going to choose carefully! Try to use words that are unique and will set you apart. You want to avoid giving an answer that everyone else has likely given. Time to get out your thesaurus and choose some fun and new descriptive words!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 26.

    Would you rather lead or follow?

      How to Answer

      There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The interviewer would like to know if you identify more as a leader, or a follower, so they can further understand where to place you when the time comes. Give an honest answer but try to avoid pigeonholing yourself into one particular stereotype.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 27.

    What does greatness, and success, mean to you?

      How to Answer

      This question is a discovery-based inquiry, genuinely focused on how you think versus what you do. Go with your initial instinct when it comes to how you define success and greatness. There is no right or wrong answer, here.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 28.

    Besides compensation, what do you value the most in the workplace?

      How to Answer

      Financial compensation aside, the interviewer would like to know what is most important to you when looking for a new job. Your answer will show the interviewer some direction when they are ready to make you an offer of employment. You can talk about the health benefits, work-life balance, workplace culture, growth, or even continued education opportunities. The sky is the limit!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 29.

    How do you feel about relocation or substantial amounts of travel?

      How to Answer

      This reply should be pretty simple for you, depending on your situation. Whether you are flexible or not, in regards to travel, and even relocation, it's essential, to be honest in your answer. If you are unsure, it's okay to let the interviewer know that you are open to ideas in the future.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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  • 30.

    How much do you think this job should pay?

      How to Answer

      This question is merely another way for the interviewer to ask about your desired pay for this role. Be honest about what you are hoping to make, but you should also avoid asking for too little, or for too much. Using an online salary calculating tool, like the ones from Glassdoor or Indeed, will help you to determine the average ask for your position, years of experience, and even location. You can also use your current salary as part of the basis for your ask.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on July 29th, 2018

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