Tricky Interview Questions

A friend’s husband is going on an interview today and when I came across an article about the ten interview questions that are designed to trick you, I simply had to share them with all of you.  But, instead of copying and pasting I wanted to pull out the five that really spoke to me.  I picked them because these are questions I dreaded when I was interviewing and ones I think are tricky overall.

So here are my top five, with my notes, out of the top ten.

1. Why have you been out of work so long, and how many others were laid off?
I dreaded this question because back in the 2009-2010 slump, and that’s not to say that getting an interview followed by a job is easier today, there were A LOT of unemployed people.  Some interviewers, and even friends who were employed, really did not understand why you couldn’t survive layoffs.  To some people it meant that you weren’t worth it or there must have been a true reason, other than cost cutting, for you being out of work.  I simply explained that I got laid off in the third round of layoffs and although very unfortunate, this time allowed me to focus on exploring other marketing avenues, such as social media.  I now had time for online classes and building a blogging following.  Just as you don’t want to say bad things about your previous employers you should always try and focus on the positives and explain what you’ve done since.  Look ahead, don’t look back!

2. If employed, how do you manage time for interviews?  Obviously, this is a very tricky question.  What do you say?  Oh, I just say I have a doctor’s appointment, or am sick?  Not the right way to impress a potential employer who from this moment on may not trust you and think that you re looking for another job, even if you really are sick.  My advice, do it on your own time.  What I mean, either during a three day weekend, not everyone has the same holidays, during lunch, or after work.  This way, you’re not lying to anyone and you have nothing to cover up.

3. Where would you really like to work?  This is tricky simply due to the fact that you don’t really know what the true environment, culture and people are like in a new place of work until you’ve been there a few months.  I would just focus on what you do know about the job and company. If this is truly the place you’d like to be you won’t fall short of positive things to say. You’ve either aspired to do this kind of work, worked towards it, or simply think that creativity wise this would really be a great fit.  At this point list your reasons why followed up by some points from the job description to really anchor your hopes and dreams to the reality of the job in discussion.

4. How does this position compare with others you’re applying for?  Ick, you don’t want to speak bad or highly about other places but you also don’t want to lie.  So what to do?  I would reveal as little as possible and just talk about the type of work you are seeking.  Are you after a managerial role? Those can be different across the board so you can’t really compare one to the next so you have to relate to each one differently and you can make that clear to the person asking the question, if you so choose.

5. If you won the lottery, would you still work?  My answer would be yes.  Yours may be different but I would focus on the positives.  Also, how likely is it that you might actually win?  As for the positives, are you going to give up working so you can spend me time with your family?  Are you hoping you will have opportunities to explore an interest you may not have a chance to explore otherwise?  What if these interests somehow tie in to the job you are interviewing for.  At the end of the day, this is a question that doesn’t really reflect on how well you may perform in a job so I would just find a way to get back to talking about the task at hand…landing a new job!

Good luck! What did you do today?


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