Do you know how to answer the most difficult interview questions? Or even what they are?
Don’t worry if not, we’re here to help! Many candidates unknowingly overlook these difficult interview questions in their interview preparation.
So what are the most difficult interview questions?
The questions that trip up so many candidates in the application process are negative behavioural based questions.
You’ll probably have heard of behavioural interview questions – where the interviewer will ask you to describe a time from your work (or life) experience where you dealt with a specific situation, and how this situation was resolved.
These questions can be tricky, as the situation the interview panel gives you might be quite specific, and you’ll have to think of a situation to fit it!
If you’re asked a question like this unexpectedly in an interview and put ‘on the spot’ you can imagine how hard you might find it to answer!
Negative Behavioural Questions
Negative behavioural questions will ask how you dealt with a negative experience at work. This is often related to how you dealt with a difficult colleague or employer.
An example for each might be:
“Tell me one thing that you disliked about your last employer.”
“Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult work colleague, and how the situation was resolved.”
Or the question could be customer based, such as:
“Can you tell us about a situation where you had to deal with an aggressive customer?”
The basic formula for answering these is:
- Think of an appropriate situation that had a positive outcome.
- Briefly describe the situation.
- Explain how you helped to resolve the situation, highlighting the positive outcomes that were the result of your actions.
Why do the interviewers ask these types of questions?
Mainly it’s to get an indication of how well you’d deal with a tricky or challenging situation.
Also it’s a good way for the interview panel to find out more about your character and attitude, and how you view negative situations and challenges in the workplace.
The panel will also have a copy of your CV in front of them at your interview, and may use these types of questions to try to find out if you were as proficient as you claim to be in previous employment.
How should I prepare for these difficult interview questions?
Try to write down any difficult situations you have had in the past, with colleagues, employers or customers. That way you will have them fresh in your mind for the interview.
One important thing to remember is to only use an example that had a positive ending! You want to prove to the interview panel how well you handled and managed the situation.
Try to avoid ‘badmouthing’ the other person, and to put as positive a spin on the situation as possible. Talking in a negative way about others can really reflect badly on you.
It’s best to avoid talking about situations that made you incredibly angry or upset and that you still feel strongly about. It could be difficult to keep the emotion out of your voice or your body language.
Finally, don’t try to avoid the question, or worse, say that you can’t think of an example!
It’s highly unlikely that you will never have came across a challenging situation in previous employment, and the interview panel will know this!