5 tricky interview questions and how to answer them

Discussing your past experiences and qualifications is one thing, but what if your interviewer asks you something unexpected like, “How much money do you make at the moment?” It’s the kind of question your friends wouldn’t dare ask you, let alone a complete stranger, so how should you respond? Do you tell the truth? Do you exaggerate?

For this particular question it’s probably best to either politely refuse to answer or round up the figure slightly, but there are many other unusual questions an interviewer could ask that might throw you off your game.

Here are five examples of tricky questions and how to deal with them should they come up:

“What would your ideal job be?”

If you’re being interviewed for your dream job, congratulations! Unfortunately most of us would be lying if we said that at any interview we’re likely to attend. The best response in this situation is a realistic and honest one – talk about a role you see yourself landing in the future when you have the qualifications or experience for it, just don’t mention wanting to work for a competitor…


“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

This is another question to be reasonably honest with. If you don’t have a concrete plan, say so. List the paths you could possibly take but say you want to keep your options open for now. This would also be a great opportunity to describe how far you’ve come in the last five years and how you thought your future would turn out back then.


“What would you say your biggest weakness is?”

There are innumerable responses to this. Some candidates choose to be funny, ironic or self-depreciative, but interviewers usually want to be given a work-related trait that can be improved upon. For instance, a PA could say, “I want to be better at pre-empting issues before they arise.”

Just as a side note, an interviewer definitely doesn’t want to hear the cliché, “I care too much,” or, “I work too well.”


“You seem underqualified/overqualified, why should we give you the job?”

This is a tricky situation and is commonly asked to entry-level and mid-level candidates.

If you’re underqualified for the position, demonstrate your ambitious enthusiasm and the qualities you possess that would help you with the role. If you’re overqualified, there must be a compelling reason for applying for the role, so be as honest as you can with the interviewer.


“If you could be an animal/biscuit/car, what would you be and why?”

It’s easy to overthink bizarre questions such as these, but your answer will not increase or decrease your chances of getting the job. They’re only ever asked as a way of getting to know you better and to lighten the mood. Try to be good-humoured about it and if you want ask the interviewer what they would have answered!


For more interview advice or to find out about any of the vacancies we have at the moment, contact our consultants today.

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