ZLABS‎ > ‎500 Interviews‎ > ‎518 Interview Questions‎ > ‎

Tricky Questions

Updated 07/17/2017

   The interviewer, like a magician, can be very
   skilled in the art of misdirection. As you can
   see, even the first question has variations to
   answer the question leaving you wondering
   how to address their question.

    10 Tricky Interview Questions  |  Beyond, John Kratzuel
    Questions that drive to find the "inner you" using some off-the-wall questions. The comments offered
    are helpful but one small tip: If you get #10, start by asking where did the resource come from? That
    may make a significant difference in your response.

    8 Tricky Interview Questions

      1.  Tell me about yourself
The Interviewee is looking for how YOU will benefit their company.
                          Why should we hire you?
Tip 1:  Keep your answers short and simple.
                           Key areas:  Your Education and Experience?
                                             Your skills?
                                                  Maybe you're a great communicator, a fast problem solver or
                                                  a skilled motivator
                                             Your achievements or awards?
                           Response:  "My background is in X, I am known for Y, and I have accomplished Z."
           Tip 2:  Elaborate on experiences and goals relating to the applied position.
           Tip 3:  Summarize your resume and talk about transitions in employment.

           There are those suggesting you respond using 4 to 5 keywords that tells about
           you and elaborate on why those words fit you so well.
           Words like:  dependable, focused, honest, reliable, supporting
           This takes the interviewer beyond your Resume and provides greater insight into
           who you are. They already read the Resume, give them something new.

      2.  Why did you leave your previous job?
           Purpose: Understand how and why you decided to move on from the previous

           Tip 1:  If you had a job, say you're "seeking greater opportunity."
           Tip 2:  Got fired? Say that you "parted ways" and change the topic to your

           Tip 3:  Laid off? Then it's okay to say it's recession-related.

      3.  What is your range of salary?
           Purpose: Making sure if you are selling yourself too high or selling yourself
                           too short.

           Tip 1:  ALWAYS SAY NEGOTIABLE!
           Tip 2:  Find out what others are making with the same position in the area
                      at Salary.com
           Tip 3:  Research, Research, Research!

      4.  What are your goals for the future?
           Purpose: Allows the interviewer to determine if you are a fit for their company.
           Tip 1:  Explain that you want to excel and be known for your skills.
           Tip 2:  Mention how you see yourself having more responsibilities within
                      the company.

           Tip 3:  Give examples of positive results that you will make.  
      5.  What bothers you most about co-workers or bosses?
           Purpose: Everyone has things that bother them, so it sounds false to say you
                          don't. At the same time, you don't want to seem negative, easily
                          angered, or quick to embrace conflict.

           Tip 1:  Chose something very general that probably bothers most people,
                           and BE SURE to speak about it calmly. For instance:
                           "I don't like negative attitudes. It doesn't help anyone, even the person
                            who's being negative. If there's a problem, they should focus on how
                            to fix it."
                      This says
you're someone who is focused on solutions rather than

      6.  Why Have You Been Out Of Work For So Long?
           Purpose: Why haven't you been snapped up - is there something wrong with

           Tip 1:  Alleviate their fears by being positive and helping them see that is
                          YOUR choice: you haven't found the right fit yet.

                      If this true, tell them you took personal time before you hit the job
                      search (maybe because you had a nice severance package), so you
                      realy haven't been looking that long. Say that you've been on some
                      interviews, but nothing that was a really great fit. As soon as you say
                      that, say something like: "But it's REALLY pickedup lately, so I don't
                      think that I'm going to be in the search for much longer."

      7.  Why Weren't You Promoted In Your Last Job?
           Purpose: Not getting promoted isn't as bad as getting fired, bit it still leaves
                          the hiring manager wondering if there's a problem with you. The
                          best answer indicates that is was YOUR choice:

           Tip 1:  "I was offered a promotion, but I didn't want to take on that additional
                      Given them the reasonable maybe you had small children, family
                      obligations, or something else that may not be a factor now.

           Tip 2:  "I was offered a promotion, but I wasn't interested in moving in that
                       direction in my career."
                      IF that promotion wasn't a good stop on your career path, that's OK.

                      Maybe the lack of promotion opportunities in your old company is
                      exactly why you're in the job search-so it makes perfect sense that
                      you're looking for advancement in another organization.

                      One thing that will help you anytime there's some question about
                      your background: your preferences. Cultivate good references and
                      prep them before your interview.

      8.  What Are You Most Proud Of?
           Purpose: The worst mistake job seekers make is answering this question with
                          something personal: they completed the Ironman competition, or
                          they're proud of their kids.
                          Your answer to this MUST be work-related-and not only that, it must
                          be specifically related to this job.

           Tip 1:  Think about your proudest accomplishments at work and choose one
                      that would be especially impressive to this company, for this position
                      (this is not necessarily the one YOU are the proudest of).  Read over
                      description and think about what may match up with those requirements
                      In your story, provide details-quantified if possible. Don't be afraid to
                      brag and show your enthusiasm. That's what this question is for.

                      If this true, tell them you took personal time before you hit the job
                      search (maybe because you had a nice severance package), so you
                      realy haven't been looking that long. Say that you've been on some
                      interviews, but nothing that was a really great fit. As soon as you say
                      that, say something like: "But it's REALLY picked up lately, so I don't
                      think that I'm going to be in the search for much longer."