Formulating Answers To Tough Interview Questions


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For all jobseekers facing an interviewer, the best thing is to prepare properly for the particular interview, based on the company where the interview is taking place. Good preparation includes the ability to anticipate tough interview questions, and then, knowing how to handle them.

The interview questions most difficult for the average candidate to handle are those that are intended to probe weaknesses, or areas requiring the individual's improvement and/or development. The following are some examples of questions, which fall into this category:

* What are your major weaknesses?

* During a reference check, what would your boss likely cite as key areas for your development and performance improvement?

* Over time, what have historically been described as the areas in which you could most improve your overall job performance and effectiveness?

* In your last performance evaluation, what specific areas were cited in which you could improve your overall performance?

* If we were to talk with some of your co-workers during a reference check, what areas of your performance are they likely to cite as needing improvement?

* If asked to be somewhat critical, what would your boss (and/or peers) cite as the two or three areas in which you could most improve?

* With what aspects of your current position are you least comfortable? Why?

* What aspects of your current job could be better performed? Why, and what are you doing to improve in these areas?

Unless properly fielded, each of the above interview questions is an interview disaster just waiting to happen. Regardless of how well you may have done describing your strengths and positive attributes for the job up to this point in time, nothing can send an otherwise positive interview into a fatal tailspin faster than poor answers to the above (or similar) questions. Learning how to effectively answer these questions can often spell the difference between total victory and absolute failure in the interview process.

There are two important principles to be followed when sharing potentially “negative" information about you in the employment interview. These are:

* Never make an “absolute" negative statement about yourself.

* Always hang a “positive anchor" on any negative statement made.

Tips for handling potentially negative information about you in the interview discussion include the following:

1. Thoroughly prepare for tough interview questions before the interview.

2. Emphasize the positives, de-emphasize the negatives.

3. Be “short, sweet, and to-the-point" — then quickly transition to your strengths and positives.

4. Don't be embarrassed or overly apologetic about your shortcomings. Everybody has them! Be confident and matter-of-fact.

5. Don't volunteer your “worst" negatives; choose those shortcomings that are “least damaging" (especially ones where you have shown some improvement).

6. Neutralize the impact of negative information you share by:

* Stating that the negative has not been a “major" issue (i. e. , it has not interfered with your overall performance).

* Citing how some would perceive this negative trait differently. (Some might see it as strength).

* Putting it in a “historical context" (i. e. , past bosses never saw this as a problem — offer these bosses as references to verify this).

Following these tips should help you effectively exercise good damage control in the interview and avoid the traps that can so often lead to interview disasters and loss of good career/employment opportunities.

Carl DiNello is an Article Author whose articles are featured on websites covering the Internet's most popular topics. To read more, please visit Winning Interview Secrets !

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