Most Common and Tricky Interview Questions & How to Answer Them

Sitting in for a job interview, be it face-to-face or over the phone, is an inevitable part of the recruitment process. Ultimately, you want to show why you are the best candidate for the job. For example, one of the most commonly asked questions is, “What are your career aspirations?”. Understanding how to answer this question and rehearsing your answer before the interview can help you showcase your ambition, skills, experience, and visions will make you stand out in our interview.

While there are no definitive interview questions and answers that would guarantee you to ace every single job interview, here are some of the most common and tricky job interview questions and our top tips on how to answer them. As a bonus, this article also includes the top 5 questions you can ask your interviewer at the end of the interview. So you can be well-prepared for your job interview.

Most Common Job Interview Questions

  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • Why did you decide to leave your current job?
  • What are your biggest weaknesses?
  • What are your biggest strengths?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me about the last time you faced a challenge in your job. What happened?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Most Common Job Interview Question 1:  Why Do You Want to Work Here?

This seemingly mundane interview question actually offers insight into your motivation behind applying for the job and how this position will fit into your career goal. It is a time for the hiring manager to find out how much you know about the company, the role, and the industry. In other words, this allows the interviewers to see how much research you have done.

A good answer to this job interview will demonstrate knowledge of the company’s culture, business operations and industry. Instead of simply saying “it’s a great company to work for”, give specific reasons such as your admiration for the key leaders of the company or its marketing campaign and appreciation for the culture or opportunities for professional development.

Most Common Job Interview Question 2: Why did you leave your current job?

This job interview question is almost guaranteed to come up at a job interview. While it is sometimes easy to explain, like ending a summer internship or a freelance contract, it might involve a more detailed explanation at other times. In the case of you making a mid-career switch or deciding to leave a job you had only started a couple of months ago, your interviewer will most likely be interested in your motivations behind that decision.

Your potential employer is bound to look for red flags that would reflect your work ethics, interpersonal skills, professionalism, responsibility and loyalty to the company. Are you changing for the better, or are you running away from certain situations or responsibilities that you’ve encountered? The ideal way to answer this interview question is to communicate that this job you’re interviewing for provides you with a better opportunity. You are satisfied with your current role as an accountant, but this new opportunity offers a chance for you to finally chase after your dream of becoming a marketing talent.

A big NO for this job interview question is bad-mouthing your current company, boss or colleague. This does not mean that you can’t bring up negative aspects of your current job, because in some cases, you simply have to. For example, your company may be terminating its operation in your country or experiencing a financial crisis that results in the elimination of the entire department. Learning how to maintain open and honest communication with recruiters or interviewers is vital!

Most Common Job Interview Question 3: What are your biggest weaknesses?

Nobody is perfect. There must be some weaknesses that you can address. Be genuine and talk about an actual weakness of yours instead of making up a weakness or a flaw, like I tend to overwork myself, that you thought could easily transform into a strength. Yes, HR professionals can tell the difference.

Pick your “best” weakness that will not disqualify you from the job and focus on being self-conscious, truthful, and dedicated to improvement. Demonstrate that you are fully aware of areas that you need improvement. Recognise a skill that’s missing and present your willingness to learn and improve by mentioning how you are working on your weaknesses. Hard skills such as technical knowledge of operating certain software or machinery are often better to address during an interview as they are easier to overcome. Try to talk about a skill that isn’t a must for the job (but still relevant) so you won’t get disqualified.

Most Common Job Interview Question 4: What are your biggest strengths?

You’ve already submitted your resume and cover letter, provided your recruiter links to your LinkedIn profile which showcases your strengths, yet, interviewers simply love asking this question. The hidden question is, in fact, “how did you leverage your strengths in your past work experience?”

How to answer this interview question without sounding arrogant? Provide clear and precise examples. Describe your strengths and give on-point examples to prove them. If your strength is creative thinking, support your answer with an example of you creatively leading a past project or solving a problem. Similar to the previous job interview question, this gives your interviewer a clearer picture of what type of employee you are.

Most Common Job Interview Question 5: Why should we hire you?

Remember, the sole purpose of the interviewer is to find the best fit for the job and the company. The whole point of the interview process is to inform the interviewer why you are the best choice for them. In other words, be persuasive and convince the interviewer why you are the perfect candidate.

This common interview question can also come in the form of “Why are you the best candidate for this job?” or “Explain why your background and experience would make you a good fit for this job.” The key to answering this question is concision and research. Prepare a concise summary of your top qualities or attributes that target the “required skills and abilities” listed in the job description and the company culture. Convince the interviewer that you can deliver excellent results, fit in the company beautifully and that you possess a combination of skills and experience that add value or be a great addition to the team.

To give you that extra edge against other candidates, highlight a unique trait. For instance, everyone who is interviewing for a receptionist role will probably have experience in handling phone calls, receiving visitors and answering enquiries. If you happen to have experience in managing social media profiles or knowledge of industry-specific software, it will set you apart from your competitors.

Most Common Job Interview Question 6: Where do you see yourself in five years?

As one of the most cringe-worthy job interview questions of all time, it can be a tough question to answer when you don’t even have a clue what’s for dinner tonight. The rationale behind this job interview question is to find out whether your long-term career goals align with the company or the position you are applying for. Your answer will This gives them an idea of how long you would remain in the company.

The interviewers aren’t looking for pipe dreams or a detailed plan of moving up the career ladder within the company. What they are really asking is your career goals within this position. Give the interviewer the impression that you are happy with the position as it is and show enthusiasm for developing within the company in a realistic manner. For example, if they are hiring a graduate trainee, highlight how the company’s training program aligns with or helps attain your professional goals. If they are hiring for their expansion across Asia, expressing your willingness to work abroad and keenness to work with a culturally diverse team will demonstrate that you are content with what the job entails.

Most Common Job Interview Question 7: Tell me about the last time you faced a challenge in your job.

Everyone has encountered challenges in their workplace. It could be a conflict with a colleague, angry customers, sending a confidential email to the wrong person or an impossible project timeline. It happens to the best of us.

What interviewers are keen to find out from this common interview question is how you solved the problem. If it was your own mistake, admit it. Demonstrate that you can step up, take responsibility, and rectify the situation. Even if the situation was caused by others try to focus on how you made the best out of the situation and show the interviewer you are a proactive problem solver instead of sitting there sulking and pointing fingers at others.

Top 10 Trickiest Interview Questions

More often than not, interviewers ask unconventional and tricky questions in the interview, such as “How can you put an elephant in the fridge?” or “How can you tell the time without a watch?” While they may sound like questions that job seekers can humorously brush off with a chuckle, according to Glassdoor, candidates should be prepared for these tricky job interview questions and think about how to answer them. Many companies see these questions as indicators of the candidates’ problem-solving ability, their personality, and how they tackle uncertainties in a professional setting. Here are the top 10 trickiest interview questions according to Glassdoor:

  1. “Which magic power would you like to have?”
  2. “If you were a fruit, what kind would you be and why?”
  3. “If you could have dinner with three actors that are no longer living, who would you pick?”
  4. “How many hours would it take to clean every single window in London?”
  5. “How do you get an elephant in a fridge?”
  6. “If the time is quarter past 3, what is the angle measurement on the clock?”
  7. “If you had three minutes alone in a lift with the CEO, what would you say?”
  8. “How many people born in 2013 were named Gary?”
  9. “What will you be famous for?”
  10. “How many nappies are purchased per year in the UK?”

Questions to Ask at The End of the Interview

Almost all interviews end with this question: Do you have questions for me? Your answer should always be YES. By saying no, you are not only missing out on an opportunity to learn more about the company or the position but it is also a chance to show the interviewer how enthusiastic you are about the job. So, before you walk into an interview, be sure to prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewers. Here are the top 5 questions you can ask your interviewer:

1. What is the company culture like at this firm?

Reason: It’s important to know if you will enjoy working as part of this team, and if the employees get along. Asking this question also shows the interviewer that you are trying to envisage yourself as part of the team.

2. What can someone in this role expect to achieve after two years, five years, 10 years?

Reason: This shows that you have ambitions and are considering where this role could lead you.

3. Are there opportunities for further development?

Reason: This question shows you are thinking ahead and wondering how you can develop your skills and knowledge to advance

4. What are some of the challenges that the company faces?

Reason: This question shows you are prepared to face challenges and find solutions for them., the same time, it will give you an insight into some of the more complex aspects of working at the company. It would be unrealistic for the interviewer to deny any challenges!

5. What do you particularly enjoy about working in this company?

Reason: This is a more personal question, so it will allow the interviewer to share their feelings and connect with you on a more personal level. Hopefully, it will be easy for the interviewer to come up with several reasons as to why they enjoy working there; if not, then perhaps that’s a negative sign about working at this company.

When you are preparing for your interview, be sure to think of two or three questions that you could ask your interviewer. This will show you are confident, enthusiastic and will likely set you apart from other candidates.

Think You Are Ready For a New Job?

If you are in search of the next opportunity to advance in your career and try out our advance on how to answer tricky interview questions, Links’ job search page will be a great place to start for top job opportunities in Asia. But don’t forget to check out our Asia Salary Guide & Market Insights prior to your interviews to prepare for any knowledge-based interview questions. Good luck!