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Resource: Resume Info
The Interview Questions Designed to Trick You
Thursday, February 14, 2013

Interviews are challenging enough without having any curveball questions thrown in there. Many job search articles offering interview advice will emphasize the need for adequate preparation. Being well-prepared for an interview is more than just clicking through the company's website. It's understanding the expectations of the industry and hiring managers will do their best to test you on what you know.

In order to sort through the candidates easier, hiring managers will ask questions to catch you off guard. That last thing you want to do in this situation is to throw all your preparation up to that point out the window. Working your way through a tough question may seem hard but it's a lot easier than having to recover from it tripping you up.

To help you in your interview preparation, here are tips to help you navigate through common tricky interview questions:

1) What did you do to prepare for this interview?
The interviewer wants gauge how much getting this job means to you. The best way to answer this is to say that you researched the position, starting with the company website. But don't stop there. You want to impress upon the hiring manager that you really want the job. Continue explaining and giving examples of other ways you did your research. Show the interviewer how much you know about the position, company and industry. Don't be afraid to ask some of your own questions too.

2) Why have you been unemployed for so long?
Anyone who has been let go from their previous job will undoubtedly feel apprehensive to answer this question. It's very important to have a good answer lined up for this question because the interviewer wants to get down to the root of who you are by trying to expose your hidden flaws or weaknesses. You may start to get nervous upon hearing this question but don't immediately jump to answering it directly. Being a little vague will help to avoid incriminating yourself. 

3) If you had the choice, where you would you work and why?
This question may seem innocent enough but the interviewer isn't exactly interested in your answer. The point of asking this is to see what your real agenda may be; whether you're just applying to any and all jobs available. When interviewing for a job, you want the interviewer to get the impression that you believe you're perfect for this particular job. Listing off the names of other companies or job titles will defeat the purpose by making it seem that you have your heart and eyes set on other goals. Keep your focus on the position you're interviewing for.

4) What bothers you most about your managers or coworkers?
Answering this is a bad move. Talking about your gripes with others before even starting a job will portray you as a negative person. It could also make you seem like a difficult person to work with or someone with an ego problem. Even if you did have an issue with a past coworker, let bygones be bygones. Try to redirect your answer to the positives of working with others and what you enjoyed most about your former colleagues. Hiring managers like to see positive attitudes and optimism in the candidates.

5) Can you tell me about a time you made a mistake at work?
Here's another question that you would rather avoid answering but can actually make a good impression when the right answer is given. The interviewer will get a sense of how self-aware you are by what details you provide and how you take responsibility for your actions. Own up to your faults but avoid parading them. Mention something you messed up on then follow it up with what you learned and the positive insights you took from the experience.

Interviewing is a strategic game. You can never predict what will come at you, but enough practice can help prepare you to deal with the different possibilities. Unexpected or tricky questions are real possibilities in an interview situation and when these curveballs are hurled your way, you only get one swing before you strike out.