Tough Interview Questions

Monday, August 10th, 2009 - career transition, Employment, Job Interview, Job Interview, Job Interview Questions, Job Interview Techniques, job search, professionalism, tutorial

Tough Interview Questions

Doing a radio interview with SMG (China East Radio)

Bob McIntosh, a career coach, asks: Why do people lose their wits at an interview? People who otherwise appear confident and accomplished, sometimes fall down at an interview. Why?

In answer:
Often, simply because they have not accepted the situation as one where pressure will be applied, and secondly are inexperienced in interview tactics.

As a trained interviewer, I find even the most professional and experienced types can crack at any time, even in pre “I’m looking for a job” situations.

The aim of the professional interviewer is never to crack the candidate, but to extract the truthful best from them, and explore capability. Yes, that means you will go towards the edge and beyond of capability. But, cracking a candidate should be seen as failure over success: its only the amateur interviewer/professional line manager who could be happy to have an unhappy job applicant.

Interview Tips

I normally find two things brighten up candidate performance:

  • Explaining that it is a pressure situation, and that feeling nervous is OK and actually quite good
  • Explaining simple interviewer tactics to candidates, to give them the theory behind question variation and points of address (ie: direct v indirect)

There is also a tactic I give them, which is that in the first 15mins of an interview to turn the question around on the interviewer: why do you ask that or what are you seeking in the answer to that question? Poor interviewers will bat it straight back, but if the candidate persists with I’m just seeking clarification then almost every one will expand the reasoning. The result is that the candidate now knows it is a two-way level street, over a combat situation!

All interview candidates normally perform much better after practise, so always get some in: either with professional assistance or by asking an experienced friend.

Good Luck!


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