How to Handle the Tough Questions During a Job Interview

Job interviews are hard to come by nowadays.  The unemployment rate remains high in most developed countries.  So when you do get a job interview, it is probably safe to assume that there are a lot of others in the interviewing pool that are just as qualified if not more so on paper.  That is why acing that interview is more important than ever.  For the most part, most interview questions can be prepared for and rehearsed.  However, there will be some that will catch you completely off-guard.  Nailing those questions that come out of left field is essential in you doing well on the interview and edging out the other candidates to get the job.  So how exactly do you go about nailing those tough job interview questions?  Here are five tips on how to do it:

Remain Calm

         It’s normal to be a little nervous during a job interview, and you may find your heart really pounding after your interviewer asks you a question you didn’t expect and don’t quite know how to answer. At this point, it’s important to remain calm so that you can think clearly and give an intelligent answer. Take a few deep breaths. Relax your body; your interviewer will be able to tell if you’re tense and it won’t make a good impression.

Be Prepared

         It may be impossible to have practiced your answer to every question the interviewer will ask, but it is helpful to go through common interview questions and think about your answers. Think about what questions you’ve been asked in past interviews. Have a friend pretend to interview you or practice in front of the mirror. Having an interview may not be quite like a presentation, as it’s more of a conversation, but if you’re more familiar with what’s going to happen, you’ll be more prepared to give good answers to those tough questions. In order to make sure you have the answers ready, you should check this post I wrote a few weeks ago, with 49 different job interview questions with answers. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Pause

         When an interviewer asks you a question, it may seem like you should answer right away if you want to seem capable. However, it is wise to take a slight pause after the question is asked in order to compose yourself, think about your answer, and then reply confidently and intelligently. The interviewer does not expect you to be a robot with pre-programmed answers that can be rattled off immediately after a question is asked. If you take a minute or two to think about your answer instead of blurting something out, you’ll find that the interviewer will be much more impressed and your chances of being hired will improve.

Have Confidence

         When giving an interviewer an answer to a tough question, you should have confidence in your answer. Give your reply in a clear, strong (yet nonaggressive) voice that shows you know what you’re talking about. If you’ve been asked to have this interview, the company or employer must have liked something about your application. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities, and the interviewer will take notice. 

Be Honest

         It may be tempting to reply to tough questions with the answers you know they are expecting and that will get you hired. Lying at a job interview can be one of the worst things you can do, however. If an interviewer asks you a technical question about the job you’re applying for, be honest if you don’t know the answer. If you try to make something up, chances are the interviewer will know and they will be put off by your dishonesty. If you need to say you don’t know the answer to a question, be sure to follow it up with, “But I’m willing to learn.” Showing that you are an honest, willing person will increase your chances of being hired more than inventing an answer will.

The next time you go out for a job interview, remember these five tips.  Knowing how to answer the tough interview questions can be the edge you need to put you over the top and get you that job.  And in this job climate, you are going to need every edge you can get.

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I founded ResumeOK in 2011, with the goal of helping people increase their chances to get a better job. I am a career and online marketing expert that has reviewed and written thousands of resumes. During my career, I have found certain patterns that make a resume successful, and I’m sharing all my insights in the samples that you can find on ResumeOK. My work has been published by reputable publications such as BusinessInsider, FoxNews, SmartRecruiters,, HuffPost, ZipRecruiter, SnagAJob. If you need help with your resume, or just want to say “hi”, send me an email. Read more about us here .

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