‘Why should we hire you over other applicants?’
This is one of the most ridiculous questions; it’s not like you are best buds with your competition and know what their strengths and weaknesses are. The hiring manager is testing you with this question to see how much you want it and how you can “sell yourself”.
Ignore the other candidates and tell them what you can bring to the table. You could say something along the lines of, “From what I understand, you are looking for a candidate who can do X Y and Z, which sounds a lot like what I did at my previous company. I don’t personally know the other candidates, but I have the dedication and passion that’s right for this position and company.”
‘What do you dread about your work?’
Who are we kidding? There’s something that everyone dreads about work, whether it’s the early morning rise, a micromanaging boss, an irritating colleague or office politics. Yet now isn’t the time to delve into your deepest and darkest thoughts with a potential employer. Hiring managers throw this curveball your way to see if you are indeed an honest person.
The best way to answer this question is to choose something that bothered you, but also to show what steps you took to overcome that feeling of dread and how you have turned it into a positive. You could say something like, “I used to dread our hour-long staff meetings that would keep me away from getting work done at my desk. I’ve learned to get involved and make short and quick statements within the meeting and have noticed that others have started to follow suit. It’s actually turned into a really productive meeting, with team-members bouncing ideas off each other. Even though people can occasionally be long-winded, I’ve discovered that I can gain valuable information about what’s going on in the rest of the company.”
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‘Are you planning on having children?’
Employers should know better than to ask a question like this as it’s leaning on the discrimination side, yet some still can’t resist being a little nosey. The aim of this question is to find out if you’re married and if you plan to have a family. They essentially want to see how dedicated you will be to your job.
If you don’t have children, you should say “not at the moment”, explain how you want to travel/develop your career/whatever your reason may be for not starting a family. If you do have children, make it clear that you have childcare, and it doesn’t affect your working life or your dedication to your career.
‘You are stranded on a desert island and can only take three items with you. What would they be?’
You might be wondering if you’ve landed on a Tinder date, rather than a professional interview. Yet, some employers ask this question to get an insight into your personality.
Although you might be thinking ‘an unlimited supply of booze and Doritos’, refrain from giving that answer. Your potential boss wants to see that you are smart, have good judgement and can contribute to ideas. You could answer something like “A water purifier, an endless supply of matches and a good book”. Depending on the industry you’re applying for, you can tailor it to show your thought process and favorite items.