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So you have done all the prep work – you’ve spent hours on your CV, re-written your covering letter for the final time, you may have even made the effort to include a photo of yourself to help you stand out from the crowd in a sea of type-written A4 or text covered screens – and now you’ve been invited for an interview. Despite all your hard work so far, this is only the beginning, now you have to really promote yourself. Now you have to stand out from the crowd!


3D rendered illustration of standing out from the crowd


Everyone knows the questions will be tough – the fear of awkward silences while you rack your brain for an appropriately intelligent response will lift the hair on the neck of the even the most seasoned interviewee – so we’ve put together some of the toughest questions and how to deal with them.


Have you ever experienced conflict with a boss or colleague?

We’re diving straight in at the deep end with this one. As with most questions you will be asked, the interviewer is not so much interested in the direct answer but more in the way you dealt with the situation. Virtually everyone has had a conflict of some type during their working life and so it may look a little dubious if you claim to have never experienced it. Instead, cite a time when you had a minor professional disagreement with someone at work that you were able to resolve. For example – you were able to put yourself in a colleague’s shoes and consider the argument from their point of view, allowing you to reach a mutual agreement and understanding.


Woman facing an panel of interviewers


How do you respond to criticism?

Let’s face it, nobody really likes being criticised but it’s part of life. The trick is to put a positive spin on it. So instead of saying how much you dislike it, explain that you see each criticism as an opportunity for learning and growing, to enable you to perform better within your role. Focus your answer on the benefits you personally can reap from criticism.


What didn’t you like about your last job?

Although it might sound like it, this is NOT an opportunity for you to complain about your old boss/colleagues/working conditions/salary etc.. Start positively with a couple of things you did like about your job, move on to the part you didn’t like, and then finish with how this job will solve those issues for you.

You liked – the people/the work

You didn’t like – the lack of promotion prospects/the long commute

This job will – offer more opportunity for promotion/is closer to home.

get the job circular arrow diagram

What is your greatest weakness?

It’s an oldie but a goodie and you are almost guaranteed to get this question. Again, the interviewer is not so much interested in your personal failings but wants to hear how you handle the response. Keep it short, honest and turn your negative trait into a positive experience by highlighting how you have overcome it and improved yourself into the bargain.


Next month’s blog

Come back and join us next month when we tackle more difficult interview questions and give tips on how to handle them.


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