If you’re actively seeking a new job, chances are you’ve experienced difficult interview questions that have been tough to answer on the spot. You’re not alone! At one point or another, every candidate encounters at least one interview question that catches them off guard and makes them struggle to find the right words. It’s how you navigate challenging questions that can make or break your interview performance and help you maintain your composure, even when you’ve been thrown off course.
As part of your preparation, it’s important to think about how you can approach difficult interview questions and prevent them from ruining your interview. Take note of these helpful practices you can put into action during interviews.
Think before responding.
It’s common to respond quickly during an interview due to feelings of nervousness. However, answering questions without thinking about your answers ahead of time can lead to poor responses. When approached with a difficult question, it’s important to pause for a moment so you can formulate a logical and coherent response that addresses the question in the best way possible. Though it’s natural to want to “fill in the air space” to avoid awkward silences, you’ll be much better off taking a moment to gather your thoughts before providing your answer.
Redirect when appropriate.
If you’re asked a question you can’t realistically answer in an impressive way, consider redirecting the conversation to a similar area you can speak about. This is a very useful approach if you’re asked about a skill you don’t have, as you can redirect your answer to a related skill that you do bring to the table. For instance, you may not have specific sales experience, but you might have strong customer service skills from your previous employment. There are many overlapping skills you can reference to showcase your abilities while still leveraging the interview question as an opportunity to shine.
When in doubt, be positive and enthusiastic.
Sometimes certain questions can seem like major roadblocks during an interview. If you truly have no idea how to answer a question, it’s best to lean on what you do know and be enthusiastic about your response. For example, if you’re asked about a term or phrase you’ve never heard of, it’s best to express a willingness to learn, as well as enthusiasm for the job itself. By showing a genuine interest in the industry or company, you’ll demonstrate you have the drive to acquire the skills needed to excel in the position.
Regardless of how much experience you may have, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to answering interview questions. Taking the approaches above will give you the confidence and ability to make positive impressions, and ultimately greater success in your job search.
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