Answering Difficult Interview Questions with Tact

Sheena Stemler All, Job Search Tips Leave a Comment

The Tactful Interviewer - Answering Difficult Questions - pinnacle job recruitersHow can you find out what interviewers really want to know?

Connecting with your ideal employer may seem hard… until you get an interview. Then, the next challenge approaches: how will you prepare for the interview?

To start, knowing appropriate rules of conduct for interviews is helpful. There are a number of “dos and don’ts” for both interviewees and interviewers. In addition, researching popular questions asked of job candidates is one way to fill yourself with an extra measure of confidence before going into this type of meeting. However, to be sure you are prepared for any situation, all you need is tact.

Tact is exemplified when thoughtfully considering how to handle complex situations and interactions. In most cases, an interviewer asks tough questions because the individual seeks an answer that allows him or her to gauge your compatibility as a potential job candidate – not because he or she wants to intentionally put you in the hot seat.

Planning ahead, learning to redirect questions, and being honest with all answers can equip you with the qualities you need to successfully navigate tough interview questions.

3 Strategies for Answering Difficult Interview Questions

1. Plan Ahead

The Internet is full of resources about popular interview questions, as well as legal guidelines for interviewers. In addition to pursuing these resources, prepare some authentic, creative answers to questions that you think the interviewer is likely to ask. Also, it is crucial to research the company you are interviewing with, as well as the position for which you are being considered. Companies want to know you take an active interest in them, too.

2. Redirect Questions

If a difficult question comes up, redirecting the inquiry can be helpful. This means you change the question into one you have the ability to answer with confidence. To do this you will need to consider a few things:

    • Can you mentally change the question into one you feel comfortable answering?
    • Is it okay to offer an honest admission that you don’t know the answer to the question?
    • Do you have a planned response that is appropriate for this particular question?
3. Offer Honest Answers

All jobs come with challenges. This is why interviewers inquire about prior jobs and work relationships. When reflecting on specific points of past employment, remain positive no matter what. If it is necessary and appropriate to highlight a negative occurrence,  be sure to identify parts of a faulty business model rather than flaws of colleagues or superiors.

In some cases, an interviewer might want to know how you would handle a hypothetical situation. It is always important to remain tactful when answering these questions. Knowing when to include explanatory details and when to keep your mouth shut is the best way to navigate situational questions.

Getting asked to interview for a job is exciting. Being prepared, tactful, and honest are three ways to channel this positive energy into a successful interview. Remaining professional and planning ahead will allow you to avoid an uncomfortable interview situation and increase your chances of becoming employed.

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