10 Tough Interview Questions With Smart Answers

Everything’s done and dusted and you are now swooping down the hall regretting things that you said in your previous interview. Interviews usually come in all sizes and shapes. Interview questions are generally normal but some of them knock the wind out of candidates. No words are blurted out and there’s a minute of silence sometimes.

Tough Interview Questions

You might not expect the same atmosphere of three or more executives and the much formal interview if that happens to be a startup. Usually startups have a culture personalized to the taste of its founders and most of them expect you to answer typical questions that you wouldn’t expect in an established company. But we won’t get into that much, here are a few top interview questions that usually candidates happen to answer what they mustn’t had or they don’t answer altogether. Keep your cool and ace the interview with these smart answers to the most asked top interview questions.

Smart Interview Questions with Answers:

The role of an interviewer is to find the right candidate, due to huge volume of applicants, it’s the initial few minutes that define your status. The way you walked in, they way you shook hands with the interviewer, and your body language creates the first impression. Even if you don’t excel in above 3 parameters, it’s your smart answers which will definitely help you to get a job. Do remember, your confidence is the key to success here.

Why are you on the job market?

Smart interview questions

This is an obvious every interviewer usually tends to ask first. This tends to stay one top of the interview questions till date. If you are not a fresh graduate or came just out of college, what makes you to become available on the job market? Why are you leaving or have left your current job? What makes you to jump ships, or, were you just fired? It’s up to every candidate that they have a story of their own. Before just applying for a new job, first answer yourself why are you taking this step?

Make the answer in an optimistic way. Like this, instead of saying, “I just want to try something new!”, say something like, “I feel that I have reached the level where I am not being able to learn anything new.” If you happen to have been fired, say it, your employee would eventually find it, better you say it beforehand.

Keep track of what is making you leave your current job before applying for the interview and answer it in an honest manner. Don’t make it up.

Tell us about yourself

This is one of the top most asked interview question in any company. The company is usually making a check if you have done your research about the company and know why you are here. Prepare a short 3-5 sentences statement on what you would say. Make it cover your experiences and your qualifications. Don’t ever mug down the statement. Don’t make the answer feel rehearsed. Talk about the things that you have done (that are relatable to the job you are interviewing for) and jobs you have done before to the position.

The executives are not exactly interested in knowing your family interest. Tell them about yourself.

Why should we hire you?

Ask this question to yourself – Would you hire yourself, and Why? If you can answer it, you can skip this question. If you are not sure what to say exactly, read on. In your answer, point out how your valuable assets would meet the organizations demands. Do not make comparisons with other employees on how you were better than them.

It happens many a times that you might not possess the kind of skill-sets and education qualifications that their current employees have. But you might have the unquenchable thirst to learn, to work hard and extremely passionate about working with them. Tell them that. Portray yourself as a confident, passionate and energetic candidate that wants to add some value to the company, if you are one, again, don’t make it up.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

strengths and weakness

Don’t beat around the bush while answering this question. The more confidently you answer this question, the much better. There are many answers to your greatest strengths, whatever it is, keep it positive. You can answer it as – Your abilities, your problem solving abilities, your persistence, leadership abilities, taking responsibility, your positive attitude and your focus on projects.

And while greatest weaknesses is considered. Answer this honestly but with optimism. Here are a few examples you can get past through this question – “I usually tend to perform worse in interviews than in work” (With a slight smile!). If the job requires skill set X and Y, and you possess only X, you might have mentioned it on your resume, and your interviewer might also know about it. But mentioning your lack of skill Y as a weakness for the required X and Y skills, it shows that you have really went through the job posting and are damn serious about it.

How do you handle stress and pressure?

Describe a difficult work situation or a project that you undertook before and how you overcame it. The project in itself need not be a huge one, but describe what were the difficulties that you faced in the project and how you handled it. Being able to handle pressure is a must have quality for working in an organization.

Tell them that you can handle well with deadlines and difficult demands.  Give them an example of how you handled a difficult situation and thrived it. Don’t tell a story where you run away from the problem or throw it as someone else’s responsibility.

What is your philosophy towards work?

Similar to the about yourself question, the interviewer here again is not looking for a long history or a personal bible. Portray your strong desire and thinking to get things and work done. To see through the job is what is a suitable answer here.

Keep it short, simple and positive, at the same time making a point about how the organization would benefit from it. You can use words like “I’m this field, because it’s not just work for me, it’s something I enjoy doing“, and if your work is your passion, this is the best thing that can happen to you.

How do you evaluate success?

Success measure

This has been asked to many of my colleagues and there is no right answer to this question. The answers tend to vary a lot from person to person depending on what they think. Success has its own definition by everyone. However, talk a little bit about what success in professional and personal fronts mean to you.

You can answer this question in professional fronts, with something like these –

  1. Success for me means that day in and day out, I am working with people who are passionate about what they do and love working here everyday.
  2. Success for me means that I exceptionally love the work I do  and it is something that I would never trade for anything. Very few people are able to do what they love, and I consider myself successful if I am one of those few.

Would you retire now if you had enough money?

This question is usually asked by many interviewers in a sense to measure what is your attitude towards work and money. If you said money is not at all important to you, that wouldn’t be an appropriate answer, and even the interviewer wouldn’t be impressed. Money is an important thing in everyone’s life and there’s no denying it. But the appropriate answer would be you saying that you give much importance to things rather than to money.

You can illustrate that you want to be defined by your work and not by money. And that you love the work to an extreme that you can’t just think of retiring. Not only you portray your attitude towards money, but also your dedication to your work.

What is you salary expectation?

I call this as a loaded gun question. This is indeed very similar to a loaded gun, answer bad and you will shoot yourself in the foot. A little game that might not turn up in your favor if you directly jumped to your expectation. Human expectations knows no bounds and you should say something like – “That is a tough question. Can you provide me a little more information of the range for this position?” In most of these cases, the interviewer, will tell you the range, without a hitch. Then give a wider range.

The best would be to research about the salary beforehand. Sometimes an outright ‘no’ can grab you follow up better and improved offers, but that is when you are really that worth. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of directly jumping to the conclusion without researching about it first.

Do You Have Any Questions To Ask?

Question to interviewer

Last but not the least. I know a colleague who has had a very good interview, seemed to be almost selected and got rejected after answering this question wrong. He really didn’t had any questions as he researched everything he wanted to know prior to the interview and mistakenly asked “When is my joining date?”. This actually portrays a much over-confident you and can get you rejected.

Always make sure that you have at-least a few answers prepared before you go for the interview. You can ask something like – In what span of time will I be able to be more productive? On what types of projects will I be able to assist on?

An interview is just a part of your work and take it with ease. Relax, stay calm and have fun. Don’t ever become nervous prior to an interview, it will hurt you in return. What are your favorite interview questions and how did you tackle them?

Article by Harsh Agrawal

Harsh has written 159 articles.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gaurav July 29, 2013, 5:38 pm

    nice post…..i do agree that we must take interview as a part of our work but when the time comes heart beat start increasing automatically…ha ha

  • Victoria Mudaraya July 29, 2013, 6:04 pm

    YOur article is good, but I always wonder, why there are so many general questions in the interviews with developers, because technical questions would be far more important to hire a professional developer, than psychology.

    • Kalpesh June 16, 2017, 11:04 pm

      It’s all about human psychology. Technical, you can learn from anywhere at any time from net but the way human thinks is in his/her blood and that is far more important than technical.
      #Interviewer In Technical Organisation

  • Rana Irfan July 29, 2013, 9:06 pm

    All the Question Are very useful and answer them. but i like very much point in this post is that “salary expectation as a loaded gun question” Really brother you say correctly. Thanks for sharing dear your knowledge with us.

  • Mayank July 29, 2013, 11:46 pm

    Talking about the last point regarding ” Do You Have Any Questions To Ask?”, I remember once my friend had appeared in an interview and he said ” I wan to ask a puzzle from you!” since he had been asked around 10 puzzles by the interviewers in half an hour. So he thought why not test their knowledge. In the end, he was rejected.

  • Jackson Nwachukwu July 30, 2013, 6:49 pm

    Well written and structured…

    This interview questions and answers will surely be handy for people searching for a corporate jobs.

    Thanks for sharing

  • Nikitha reddy January 26, 2016, 11:33 am

    All the questions prepared by you are very important and useful for the fresher candidates thank u srikanth sir

  • Veda Sri March 4, 2016, 5:31 pm

    Good interview tips. Your article of way of explanation is simply superb, it is easy to understand to everyone. the above all tips is very nice. I will follow these tips when I wanna attend any interviews. Not only this article, I read all the articles related digital marketing queries, adsence and part time earning articles etc. I am very thankful to you with explanation.Thanks