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15 Difficult Interview Questions and Answers in South Africa

Filed in Interviews by on April 1, 2019

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Difficult Interview Questions – To be really prepared for your next interview, you need to be ready to answer the hiring manager’s questions.

Most times you may not want to get lost while preparing, or you may not know the kind of questions that will be asked.

Most employees stick to a slate of tried-and-true questions that assist them to get to the heart of who you are and what you can do for the firm.

And most of these questions may appear difficult and tricky. Here are the fifteen difficult interview questions you’ll be faced with and how to answer them.

1. What Kind of Tree is Your Career?

This kind of question requires you to relate your personal understanding of your career to your knowledge of the characteristics of certain trees.

The question seems indirect and frivolous, but that’s exactly how it forces you to come up with a fundamental truth about yourself without all the usual bafflement.

Maybe the best advice here is to know your favorite kind of tree ahead of time, pick out a few of its key attributes, and then equates those attributes to the best of your career experience and aspirations. If the “tree” question comes up, you’ll be ready.

2. How Would You Explain Back-End Development to an 8-Year-Old?

In this example, let’s use “back-end development” as a variable. It can be anything complicated in your line of work, really.

For instance, if you were a physicist applying to become a professor, your hiring manager might ask you to explain the Theory of Relatively to an 8-year-old.

The point that they’re trying to get at when they ask you this question is: Do you have enough command over your field of expertise to take the most complicated aspects of it and put it into terms anyone can understand? Here’s a trick to prepare for a question like this.

Rather than pretending to explain something complicated to your 8-year-old niece, or 8-year-old son, the image you’re explaining this very complicated idea or process to someone else’s grandmother.

This is an old trick that journalists use to ensure their stories are easily understandable, because when you picture yourself explaining something to someone you know; you might leave out details which you take for granted that person already knows.

3. What is Something People Assume About You that is Incorrect?

The goal with these questions is to test how self-aware you are but also how open you are to discussing flaws and mistakes. You should be able to share some honest experiences but also focus on spinning those negative experiences into positive ones.

For example, that error in judgment should have ultimately made you into a better worker somehow (I mean, didn’t it?).

4. Tell Me About Yourself

Employers will likely ask this question early on in the interview process, or you might have to answer it in early-stage phone interviews or recruiter screens.

To answer this question, you should provide a quick synopsis of your education, highlights of your professional experience and achievements and what brought you to the position you’re applying for.

5. Why Do You Want to Join our Company?

“This is where it costs people,” says Drexler. Interviewees typically answer this question incorrectly. They describe the company instead of explaining why they want to join the company.

For example, an applicant interviewing for Lloyds Bank will say, “I know Lloyds Bank is a global firm.”

“That’s the answer to, ’what do you know about our company?” says Drexler, “But it doesn’t answer this question.”

A good response is one that explains why the company resonates with you, he says. For example, “I know that Lloyds Bank is a global firm and I want to be part of a large company where there’s an upward career trajectory.”

6. What Type of Role are You Looking for?

“Some people just amaze me,” says Drexler. “They’ll say something that isn’t even in the job description.”

Again, a quality answer for this question comes down to reading the job description and pointing out the aspects that you relate to. However, says the interview coach, maybe don’t be as honest as this applicant:

“I once had an IT guy actually say to me, ‘I want a job where they put me in a room and leave me alone.’ Believe me,” says Drexler, “I’ve heard it all.”

7. How Does the Internet Work?

Applying for a job in the digital field? This one is so basic; it may stop you in your tracks. There are two ways to go with a question like this.

One, you can actually explain it, but if you do, do so with a minimum jargon. Just like the above, pretend you’re talking to an 8-year-old and sticks to the basic concept don’t get caught up in the pixels.

The second approach only works for certain types of jobs; the viewpoint is that technical knowledge takes your eye off what really matters, the business itself.

For example, most drivers have no idea how their cars work, they’re more concerned about how it looks and that it gets them from point-A to point-B. Similarly, you’re less concerned with how the Internet works and more concerned with what it does.

If you know more than your end users, you might make faulty assumptions about what makes sense to you, but not to them.

Still, it might be best to say both, here’s how it works, and here’s why how it works is less important than what it makes possible.

8.What is Something People Assume About You that is Incorrect?

The goal with these questions is to test how self-aware you are but also how open you are to discussing flaws and mistakes.

You should be able to share some honest experiences but also focus on spinning those negative experiences into positive ones.

For example, that error in judgment should have ultimately made you into a better worker somehow.

9.What are You Currently Reading?

Feel free to include some details about the current novel or memoir you’ve got on your nightstand this is a great way of showing some personality, which makes your interviewer more likely to connect with you but we’d also recommend trying it back to your career.

Mention some blogs you visit regularly that have to do with your industry. Talk about a recent article you read on a topic that overlaps well with your professional interests.

This shows the interviewer that you’re well-read and also passionate about the work you’re doing.

10. What is This Gap in Your Resume?

Especially if you got fired, it’s essential that you keep your response succinct and the focus on how you took control of the situation and why you’re ready to get back to work.

One good way to spin this is to focus on the things you learned during your period of unemployment.

An example answer might be, “This was actually a great experience for me in a way I hadn’t expected because I started doing freelance marketing projects, and quickly realized that I was fascinated by social media growth strategies, which I hadn’t been able to focus on at my previous job.”

11.What are Your Greatest Professional Strengths?

When employers ask this question, they are trying to gauge how your strengths may work to their advantage, or how you might fill in skills gaps the employer has.

Tailor your responses not just to what you think the interviewer wants to hear, but to the kinds of responsibilities relevant to the role, he says. And that goes beyond generics like “communication.”

12. Why are You Leaving Your Current Job?

This is a tough one, to be sure, but you need to be honest and positive whatever you do, don’t bash your past employers.

Instead, craft a response that shows you’re eager to take on new opportunities and explain why and how this role and company is a better fit than previous positions. If you were let go or were laid off, that’s a perfectly acceptable answer.

13.Why Was There a Gap in Your Employment?

In the mind of an employer, any gap in employment is seen as a negative, even in an unsteady economy. Address the issue directly and honestly, and then move on.

Share what you’ve been doing during your unemployment volunteering, taking classes, pursuing certifications, writing, speaking, and blogging and explain how and why those activities will benefit you in your new role.

14.Can You Explain Why You Changed Career Paths?

Again, don’t think this will sink your chances for landing a new role. Explain why you made the career decisions you have made, and how your new direction is a better fit for you.

You can also highlight the ways in which your previous experience is relatable and transferrable to your new potential role, Gillis says, making you a more versatile candidate who may be able to bring a fresh perspective.

15.What are Your Salary Requirements?

This question’s extra tricky and in some states, it’s even illegal. And it can be especially problematic for women and minorities, who don’t tend to negotiate as strongly as they should, and who often are offered a lower starting salary.

You should do your homework on sites like Glassdoor and PayScale to find out what the expected salary range of the role is and then aim for the highest part of that range that applies based on your skills, experience, and education.

If you’re working with a recruiter, be honest with them about how much you are currently or were making, and leave the hard-nosed negotiations to them.

This are the questions which seem to appear difficult, I hope this piece helps.

CSN Team

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