When it comes to hiring, employers are looking for more than just a good résumé and a firm handshake. In addition to a candidate’s qualifications, employers look for a host of other qualities when evaluating potential hires. They want to know your attitude, your commitment, and your fit within the company’s environment. Since few job candidates are willing to readily volunteer information that will lose them an opportunity, interviewers often resort to trick questions to weed out as many people as possible and make their job easier.
Here are some tips for spotting and dealing with trick interview questions.
Figure Out What They’re Really Asking
Every question an interviewer asks you is designed to find out some information. For example, if an interviewer asks you to describe a time when you had trouble working with a group, they’re really probing to find out if you can remain professional when working alongside people you don’t get along with. If they ask what you disliked or might change about past jobs or your current position, they want to know if you’re the type of person to hold grudges.
Once you know what an interviewer is looking for, you can tailor your answer to allay their doubts and leave a positive impression.
When facing a trick question, it’s important to see it as an opportunity. It’s vital to approach any interview question with a positive attitude, but especially a trick question where the interviewer is mentally dissecting your answer. Even if you have legitimate gripes about past working experiences, complaining about them in an interview will only hurt your chances. Approach these questions with a forward-looking mindset.
Examples of Tricky Questions
Question: What’s your ideal job?
What it’s really asking: Do you really want to work here?
How to answer it: Aim high, but keep grounded. No interviewer wants to hear you say you’re not really interested in the job they’re hiring for, but they also don’t want to hire someone they see as lazy and not ambitious. Instead of talking about positions you want, talk about the work you want to do that’s related to the position you’re interviewing for.
Question: If you could change something about your current position, what would it be?
What it’s really asking: Do you hold grudges against people you work with?
How to answer it: Change the target. This question is a trap inviting you to complain about co-workers and supervisors you don’t get along with. Instead of falling for it, talk about a procedural issue, an inefficiency in the system. Position yourself as a potential problem solver, rather than a disgruntled employee.
Knowing what tricks interviewers use can keep you from falling for them. We can help you get interviews and prepare yourself adequately. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today to learn how we can help. Register with PSG to start your application process.