Interviews are challenging even without the factors of stress, spontaneous questions and awkward answers. But unfortunately, those awkward, difficult and tricky questions will inevitably make their way into even the most uneventful interviews. Here are some of those impossibly tricky interview questions that will definitely throw you for a loop.
1. What Motivates You?
See, this is such an abstract open ended crock of malarkey that there are infinite ways you could bury yourself. Ultimately, the hiring manager doesn’t even want to know what really motivates you, it’s a trick question to gauge your pursuits, passions and priorities. Because you could say “my children” and for one company that would make you a shoe in and in another company that would nix you quicker than ehm…well…I don’t know, something that gets nixed often. It works both ways, too: if you respond that “personal growth and career achievement are one of your priorities” then that might also be a great response for a company that is competitive and encourages healthy competition amongst its employees but it might be a huge no-go for a company with a relaxed laid back collective company culture.
2. Have You Had A Bad Experience With An Employer?
Bad mouthing a previous employer is just about as appropriate as talking ill of the dead- it’s not. It shows lack of loyalty, bitterness and even a tendency to talk negatively about their current employer. On the other hand, you might seem dishonest if you say that you didn’t have a negative experience with your employer. So, what do you do? Keep it as vague as possible: “As with any relationship both professional and personal there are ups and downs, but my overall experience with Company X was extremely positive”. Boom! Tricky has been tricked.
3. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years
I understand, you’re not a fortune teller or have any experience in tarot cards, yet for some strange reason your hiring manager wants you to predict the future. Okay, I’m being facetious for the sake of comedy, what they want to discern with this question is your ambition, drive and loyalty. Do you want to jump up the rungs of hierarchy? If yes, then you might be in for a surprise: the hiring manager might not like that because if they feel you might be overly motivated and a threat to their position in the near future they might kick you to the curb faster than….you know what, nobody kicks anything to the curb, what’s the point of that saying?! In any sense you might not get the job.
4. Give Me An Example of When You Took Initiative
Every boss says they want initiative but do they really or, do they just want a little bit, so their employee doesn’t overshadow them? Well, that’s exactly what the hiring manager is trying to figure out with this question. Did you take initiative that went against direct orders, circumventing your supervisor, was the initiative you took sanctioned by upper management or not (regardless of its success)? Keep that in mind when you answer this and try not to fall into the trou de loup. (which is pronounced troo de loo, those silly French!).
Are there any other tricky questions you know about? Let us know in the comment section below.