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Tough questions. Forget other people’s advice – listen to mine!

You know they’re going to ask the stinkeroonie questions and you half prepare for them. Or you come up with what you think is a reasonable answer but no-one has told you whether it was good or bad  — an interviewer will never say in feedback, “It was your answer to my favorite ‘weakness’ question that made me reject your application.” So what’s a candidate to do?

What is one of your worst weaknesses?
Horrible question. The point is, you shouldn’t give them one. I mean, you want the job. Why give them ammo not to hire you. But they’ve asked you a question so you have to say something. Here’s the way round it. Tell them something they already know. They probably only know you at that point from your resume so have a cold hard look at it.
·         What’s on it that shouldn’t be? Too many jobs? Tackle it head on and say, “I’m steadier than my resume would lead you to believe. But circumstances (they’ll all be specific to you, just keep it simple) meant I couldn’t stay at one job for 10 years as I’d have wanted. And on the upside, I have learned a lot of different management styles, ways of running a business. I’ve learned a lot from my 7 jobs in 16 years.”
·         No 4 year degree? “Yes, but I didn’t have the money/time and as the years rolled by, I was too busy earning a living. A regret, but I have years of excellent work experience instead.” Or “I have 30 credits left, I’m wanting to finish them online, just to show that I finished the degree. But I honestly think my years of experience prepare me better for the work environment.”  
·         What isn’t on it that should be? No private equity experience? “Yes, but I have instead my ….whatever your experience is… and I do believe my scheduling skills/knowledge of complex travel arrangements/personal work transfer to many industries.”

And the horrible answer would be: I’m too much of a perfectionist/I can’t say no/ I get impatient with mistakes. WRONG. Because what if the future employer piles on the work? You have to be able to do it perfectly without getting overtired, making mistakes, by not prioritizing correctly, working too much overtime. And “impatient with mistakes”? Well…you may just be stepping into a viper’s nest where some of the other staff specialize in mistakes. The should-have-been-future employer won’t take the risk that you’ll cause friction.

Are there other difficult questions that have you stuttering? Let me know and I’ll try to answer them.