If you’re in the job market, you know that you need to prepare for the interview by thinking about your answers to commonly asked questions. That’s a given.
Interviewers know that too. And more and more of them are looking for tougher interview questions to get past your canned answers and (hopefully) make better decisions about you!
Use tough interview questions to your advantage.
This Harvard Business Review article suggests a few unconventional interview questions.
I listed three of them below. I’ve used these myself when I’m the interviewer and had interesting conversations with the applicants as a result.
(Psst. I also made sure I know how to answer them myself.)
If you’re getting ready to prepare for a job interview—or simply want to increase your self-awareness, always a good thing in my books—you want to test yourself on these questions.
See how you might answer these questions. And be sure to come up with your <gasp> prepared thoughts for variations of these questions in case you hear them in the wild.
- What DON’T you want to be doing 5 years from now?
This is a twist to the tired old “What do you want to be doing 5 years from now?”, to which you probably already have a prepared answer. Asking the reverse view of that question pushes you to think deeper about your career and can reveal how proactive you might be in shaping it.
- What would you say is the biggest misperception about you?
This question tends to reveal your level of self-awareness. From the HBR article:
“Top candidates have a high level of self-awareness. They will know what the biggest misperception is about them, understand that perception is the reality in many cases, and already have a plan in place to address it.”
- Quickly name some reasons why I should NOT hire you?
This is a different way of asking about your weaknesses.
Please don’t go for the gag-inducing answers: “I work too hard”; “I am stubborn”; “I am a perfectionist”.
Instead, use this question to frame the kind of worker you are. We all have our own tendencies and preferences, and some jobs are a better fit than others. Think about a person who’s not at all detail-oriented (like me!) in a role that might require deep data analysis to be effective?
Interviewers are looking to see how you think, how you react to and process curveball questions, and see your true colors.
At the same time, you also want to make sure that beyond the financial merits, the job or role you are applying for is the best fit for you and your strengths.
Use the interview process to your advantage by giving thoughtful answers that tell them who you are, AND also allows you to evaluate whether it is the right opportunity for you.