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Mastering the Top 5 Most Feared Interview Questions: Tips and Techniques for Impressive Responses

The five most feared interview questions are subjective and can vary from person to person. However, based on my discussions with clients, the following five questions are regularly raised and guidance sought. This blog looks at the reason why they are so feared and gives you some tips on giving good answers.

"What are your weaknesses?"

No one wants to admit what they aren’t good at, let alone when they are busy trying to impress at an interview. We’ve all heard the cringeworthy answer of chocolate, but crafting a good response isn’t always easy.

Whilst honesty is important, my best advice is to pick something that isn’t fundamental to the role you're applying for. As a Project Manager you wouldn’t want to admit to poor organisation skills or an inability to manage stakeholder expectations.

Pick something that isn’t as big a part of the role e.g. if you know they have a business analyst or data analyst on the project and you know data sends you to sleep then this could be something to choose.

It’s also important to show how you manage or are working to improve that weakness. In this case you could explain how you’ve worked closely with someone who has that skill and you’re learning from them.

"Why do you want to leave your current job?"

Whilst you would love to answer this question honestly and say it’s because my Manager is a nightmare and they have unrealistic expectations and dump all the rubbish jobs that they don’t want to do on you, this isn’t what the recruiter needs to hear.

An element of tact is needed. Whilst the reality might be the above, what a recruiter picks up from that answer is you are more than happy to moan about your manager and no one wants to knowingly employ a moaning Myrtle.

I would suggest you reframe this question to focus on you. Have you stopped learning or have you been there a while and the job feels easy and you want a new challenge. It’s also a good opportunity to link this to the role e.g. I want a new challenge and this project sounds really exciting.

"Tell me about a time when you failed."

Similar to the weaknesses question, we don’t like admitting we’ve failed even when we feel safe to do so and we feel anything but safe in an interview.

What the recruiter is looking for here is if you took the opportunity to reflect on your failure, the reasons for it and learn from the experience. More importantly what do you do differently now to avoid it happening again.

By saying you’ve never failed, you’re just demonstrating that you aren’t emotionally aware or honest with yourself, because let's face it we’ve all failed at something even if it’s something as simple as keeping on top of the never ending inbox!

"What salary are you expecting?"

This question can be nerve-wracking because it requires you to put a price on your worth. It's important to research the industry standard for the role and consider the skills and experience you bring to the table before giving a specific number.

Another tactic could be to turn the question back to them and ask what are you expecting to pay?

"Why should we hire you?"

Because you need me or because I am good at my job and I know I can do it, whilst showing a great deal of confidence isn't enough. This question can be intimidating because it requires you to confidently sell yourself and articulate what sets you apart from other candidates.

If you’ve done your homework you will know the key skills the job requires. Make sure you reference those, along with any relevant experience. It’s also great to include a few key achievements and how they would relate to the role you are interviewing for.

Need More Support?

If just looking at these questions is making your palms sweat and you would like some tailored advice or the opportunity to practice in a calm and non-judgemental space, I offer interview preparation coaching from as little as £99.

To practice your answers when it really doesn’t matter so that you get it right when it does is a priceless experience. If you are interested in finding out more fill out the contact us form and we’ll be happy to help you.

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Snow Limits Coaching disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.



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