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Prepare for Challenging and Unexpected Job Interview Questions



There's nothing more unsettling than a curveball interview question that catches you off guard. Interviews are already nerve-wracking. Who enjoys feeling like they are under a microscope, being scrutinized and interrogated? So what can you do to feel confident and empowered during your upcoming job interview? Learn how the interview process works and the types of questions you can anticipate.


Expect the unexpected. It is easy to get derailed if you haven't prepared for your interview. And preparing means more than printing your resume and picking the right outfit. You need to know what to expect before you walk into the interview. Be sure to ask questions when scheduling the interview. Ask who you will be meeting with, how long the interview will last and if you'll need to bring anything other than your resume. Also find out what the format of the interview will be. In other words, will it be a panel interview or will you only be speaking with human resources? Employers are making candidates jump through more hoops, such as delivering a presentation or taking a skills test. The more you know about the process, the fewer surprises there will be.

Gear up and begin preparing your answers. You'll want to prepare for all the traditional interview questions like "Tell me about yourself," "What are your salary requirements?" "Tell me about a time when ... " and "Why should we hire you?" The best way to prepare for your upcoming job interview is to practice all your answers out loud. When you just practice in your head, it doesn't have the same effect.


Also speak to people you know who may be able to offer insight on the company's interview process, people you will be meeting or give you the inside scoop on what the job really entails.


How to answer off-the-wall questions. Sometimes the interviewer wants to understand your thought process or logic for reaching an answer. The good news is, there really isn't a right or wrong answer to these types of interview questions. For example, if asked "What type of breakfast cereal would you be and why?" your answer will show your self-awareness, personality and style. If your answer aligns with the employer's expectations, you're in luck. It's never a good idea to bluff your answer to fit with the company or role. In the long run, this could lead to a mismatch and you could end up hating the job.


When to expect more difficult interviews. Some industries are known to conduct more difficult interviews. If you are interviewing with a hospital, nonprofit or school, expect a tougher interview, but if interviewing for a contract or "gig economy" job, you can expect a less challenging interview, according to Glassdoor's Economic Research division.

And it isn't only the industry that determines tough interviews. Large companies typically run candidates through tougher interviews. The same Glassdoor research found interviews at larger companies are statistically more difficult than at small employers.


Difficult questions to expect. Many job types appear in Glassdoor's 27 Jobs With Unbelievably Tough Interview Questions. You'll discover that almost any role is subject tochallenging questions, from customer service representative to a nonprofit donor family advocate. Here are just some of the most difficult questions listed by Glassdoor, including the role and employer.


"If you were a Muppet, which character would you be?" – Donor Family Advocate,LifeNet Health
  • "If you had to take only one item to a deserted island, what would that be?" – Customer Service Specialist, Squarespace
  • "How many happy birthday posts do you think Facebook gets in one day?" – Sales Operations, Facebook
  • "Who in history would you want to go to dinner with and why?" – Flight Attendant, PSA Airlines
  • "How do you explain a vending machine to someone who hasn't seen or used one before?" – Global Data Analyst, Bloomberg L.P.

 Consider the hiring process as a way of matching workersand companies. Interviews offer a way to evaluate candidates who are a good fit and this leads to employees who are more productive and have greater satisfaction with their job and company.


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