The 7 Most Annoying Interview Questions
Every job interview is different. Though many hiring mangers like to use a specific set of question for each candidate, in order to accurately compare. Some use tried and tested techniques that have gained them many successful hires in the past. Others go for an edgier approach and like to throw a curveball into the mix.
This is where the fun starts. Not all interview questions are going to be easy. That's kind of the point, right?
So, it's always good to be prepared for any abstract interrogations coming your way. We spoke to several candidates and penned some of the most annoying interview questions. For good measure, we've also outlined a few tips on how you might answer them...
“WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?”
This is not an AA meeting. Your interviewer is not interested in hearing about bad habits or things you wish you'd done in your personal life. They want an answer directly related to the job and to see that you actually understand your own abilities.
The best thing you can do here is to describe how you try to turn your weakness into your strength. Don't throw out a typical, 'ooh, I'm too hard working' or 'I'm a perfectionist'. Opt for a more genuine response.
“WHAT MAKES YOU STAND OUT FROM OTHER CANDIDATES FOR THIS POSITION?”
This is a tricky one. Obviously, you probably won't get the pleasure of meeting other candidates, unless you're in an assessment centre.
What they want to hear is how you think you are the best fit for the role. Highlight your best bits. Don't make negative statements about the other candidates and keep your responses relevant to the role.
“WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN [TWO, THREE, FIVE] YEARS FROM NOW?”
On a boat, in Miami, retired and rich.
Avoid unleashing your personal dreams and desires here. Also avoid the cliche, 'in your position'... nobody likes a job stealer. If you're interviewing for a role within a business where critical changes happen all the times, these changes and new innovations will impact the structure of the business. So, highlight how adjustable you are to change. If in doubt, keep it positively vague...
'In five years from now, I like to picture myself working with a group of people that encourage me to keep learning, continue enjoying my job and take on bigger challenges.'
“WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK HERE?”
What pretty much ALL candidates will say:
- I think I’d fit in really well
- I want to progress my career in [industry]
- I’m really passionate about [your company}]
- It seems like a great culture
What most candidates are (probably) thinking:
- I need a job
- I like the salary
Be original. Use your research into the business to give an answer that's actually relevant and shows you're after a career... not a job.
“IF YOU WERE [AN ANIMAL, A BOOK, A BISCUIT], WHAT WOULD IT BE?”
This old favourite. While this question may sound silly, it is, in fact, smarter than it seems. Of course, they don’t want to know what your favorite animal is. Basically, what they want to hear is what qualities you might share with animals, objects, chocolatey treats...
It's about abstract thinking. But no deep insights are necessary.
Great memory? Go with an elephant.
Big on the detail? War & Peace.
Strong under pressure? A half-dunked Hob Nob. Because everyone knows they have the most staying power.
“WHAT SALARY ARE YOU HOPING FOR?”
Um... as much as possible?
This one will come up, as a potential employer needs to be sure they can afford you. Though tread carefully on your response. Ensure the salary you ask for reflects your skills and experience. They know what you're worth to them... make sure what you think you're worth is in the ballpark.
"HOW DO YOU WORK AS A TEAM?"
"Great! Next question...?"
This question isn't a simple, are you a team-player? It's a chance to show what kind of team player you are. Not sure? See here.
What Kind Of Team Player Are You?
Because you're bound to be asked. And 'a good one' isn't exactly an enchanting answer.
Some alternative responses...
The glue keeps the group going, and is usually the first to get, well, stuck in. When the ideas begin to dry up, they're there ready with plenty of brainstorming ideas and group activities to keep everyone focussed.
The sponge sits back and lets the conversation flow. They're taking it all in, though they don't say much. They simply absorb all of the information around them in order to make an informed decision. They never pounce on an idea without having all of the facts.
You can always rely on the machine to take on a little more, work a little harder or make a small idea come alive. Some might say, they're taken for granted. Though they're constantly developing through their own initiative and quietly honing all the skills.
This person really wants everyone to get their stuff together and loves to make lists. So many lists. Post-it notes, Trello boards and spreadsheets galore. Though ask them for information and they have it at the drop of a hat. The planner is the source of all knowledge. They store it in several locations, just to be sure.
Creative types have a tendency to get caught up in their world of imagination. They might not always be the clearest communicators but they see a bigger picture. Whilst the rest of the team are planning what will happen, the artist is already dreaming up creative concepts on how it will smack impact. Every team benefits from a creative thinker in the group—someone who can deliver fresh ideas and solutions that let the team’s work stand out from the crowd.
Because just when a plan comes together, there's always a better way. The negotiator doesn't settle for second best. They're constantly taking the ideas presented and trying to make them bigger, better, more cost effective and less draining on resource. A great person to have in a team when decisions need to be made and deals are to be done.