How to answer tough interview questions

Interviews: Guide to answering tough interview questions

Sarah Peddie

If you have been successful in the selection process for a job after submitting in your CV then your next step is to look ahead to the interview. Only around two per cent of applicants get asked to the interview so it is important to be ready for it.

Interview preparation is the next step you should take in the process. Even the most experienced candidate can get put off or shaken by tough interview questions that come their way. You can’t predict what an interviewer will ask you but you can be prepared to answer the difficult questions. 

Preparing for difficult interview questions in advance and tailoring your answers to different companies can help you stand out as a candidate. Tough questions are used in interviews as they get the interviewees to think critically and creatively about what answer they give. 

Here at Odyssey Recruitment we take a look at six tough interview questions that a candidate could face in an interview and how you would go about answering them. 

1. “What are your biggest weaknesses?”

The key to answering this question is sincerity. Interviewers want to hear a candidate be honest about their weak points and how they will focus on the changes they are going to make to improve their weakness. Presenting a positive trait as a weakness such as saying you're a perfectionist has worn out its welcome with interviewers and doesn’t go far with hiring managers anymore.

Working on the North Island of New Zealand

Talking about your weakness should be meaningful and not trivial. 

2. “Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?”

Candidates would often answer this question thinking that they have to be specific. However, candidates are often unsure where they want to be in a certain number of years. You can focus on the characteristics of the career situation you want to be in if you don’t know your specific career path. Talk about how you hope to develop certain skills which will drive you to a goal. 

Employers may also want to find out how long you will stay in a job or if you have an intent to move on after a certain amount of years. This could be a red flag in some cases so make sure you focus on the present and highlight your commitment to the position. 

3. “Why have you been out of work for so long?”

If you have been out of work for an extended amount of time then you should expect this question to come up during the interview. Many employers could see this as a red flag as it could indicate that the candidate was fired from their job. 

The best way to approach this question is to be honest with the interviewer. If you took time off for personal reasons then state that you did and talk about why this would be the right time and opportunity for you.

tough interview questions

4. “Why are you leaving your current job?”

This is an important question as talking about your current employer is a reflection of your character. If you start complaining about former jobs, coworkers or employers won’t put you in a favourable light - even if your points are valid. 

A candidate should prepare for this question by creating a list of reasons why they are interested in the job and organisation. This means you can look forward rather than looking back.

5. “What are your salary expectations?”

To prepare for this question, it’s important to learn the community’s normal rate as well as the rate for a specialist area. If you are a physician moving to a new area then you might want to ask about the referral chain.

Assess your true needs in advance of any interviews and remember the aspects of compensation beyond your salary.

6. “Why should I hire you?”

This can be a tricky question if you are not comfortable selling yourself to the interviewer. However, this is a valuable opportunity to make sure nothing important has been left unsaid. It is a time to focus on yourself and give a concise answer as to why the company should hire you. 

If you are currently looking for a new job in the medical sector then register with Odyssey Recruitment today and we could help you find the perfect job.