Tricky Interview Questions & Answers

Updated 24 May 2020

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No matter what job you have applied for, it is likely that an interview will be an essential part of the application process.

Interviews come in many formats, including partner interviews, panel interviews, telephone interviews and video interviews.

You might face specific types of interview questions, for example, stress interview questions, oddball questions or technical interviews to test specialist knowledge or skills; or you might be asked to make a presentation or take part in a role-play activity. 

No matter what type of interview you face, thorough preparation is key.

The following list of 50 job interview questions and answers should help you prepare fully for the most difficult interviews.

Each question below links through to an article covering example answers and how best to approach that particular question.

tricky interview questions

General Interview Questions

Most interviews will begin with a few general questions designed to get to know you better. Generally, these questions will be simple and straightforward, to put you at ease and get the interview off to a positive start.

1. Tell me about yourself
2. Tell me about your previous employment
3. What are your strengths?
4. What are your weaknesses?
5. What is your greatest weakness?
6. How would you describe yourself?
7. What makes you unique?
8. Why should we hire you?
9. What are your salary expectations?

Interview Questions About Your Career

Interviewers usually ask about your past roles and your career aspirations to get a sense of your commitment to the role you are applying for, your motivation and your long term plans.

10. Why do you want to leave your current job?
11. Where do see yourself in five years?
12. What motivates you?
13. What is your greatest accomplishment?
14. What are your long-term career goals?
15. How would you describe your ideal job?

Interview Questions About Your Educational Background

You will likely be asked questions about your educational background during your interview, so it is important to be prepared.

Your qualifications might be a key part of the hiring requirements for the role, so the interviewer will want to talk about what you have achieved and what other soft skills you acquired during that time.

16. Why did you select your A-level subjects?
17. How did your university help you?
18. Tell me about your educational background

Interview Questions About Employers

When attending an interview, you must show your suitability for the role – as well as your enthusiasm and commitment – by researching the company and the role thoroughly. Make sure you can answer these questions confidently.

19. Why do you want to work for our organisation?
20. What interests you about this job?
21. Why are you applying for this position?
22. Why do you want to work for a small firm?
23. Why do you want to work in this region? (e.g. Asia, USA, India)

Commercial Awareness Interview Questions

Commercial awareness is a key skill that all job candidates should strive to demonstrate. Commercially aware employees understand the inner workings of a business and the industry that it operates within and this is a vital aspect of many jobs.

24. What do you believe are the biggest issues our industry faces today?
25. How do we compare to our competitors?
26. Describe a company you think is doing well or badly and explain why you think this is so?
27. What significant factors have affected this industry in recent years?
28. Describe a recent news story and its impact upon our company

See this article for more on commercial awareness.

Industry-Focused Interview Questions

When interviewing within key industry sectors, ensure you can answer key questions about the industry itself. Do your research and keep up with industry news.

Accountancy

31. What do you think you will be doing in your first year as an auditor?
29. Why do you want to be an accountant?
30. What can you expect from a career in tax?

See this article for more on a career in accountancy.

Investment Banking

32. Investment Banking: Tell me about yourself
33. How do you value a company?
34. Why investment banking?
35. How is a merger/acquisition structured?

See these articles for more on investment banking interview questions and a career in investment banking.

36. Why law?
37. If you had a completely free choice, which law would you like to change and why?
38. Why would you want to do legal aid work?

See these articles for the top 100 law firm interview questions and more information on a career in law.

Competency and Behavioural Interview Questions

Competency or behavioural interviews are not testing your qualifications or industry knowledge. These interviews require a candidate to use examples to demonstrate particular qualities or behaviours that are desirable to the company.

39. What would you do if you noticed a colleague was lying?
40. Describe a time when you had several conflicting demands and describe how you dealt with this
41. Give an example of a time when you were not in agreement with the rest of the team
42. Describe a situation where you acted on your own initiative
43. Would you say you were results-oriented?
44. Tell me about a situation where people have depended on you
45. How would you deal with conflicting demands?
46. Are you a leader?
47. Describe a situation where you worked as part of a team
48. How do you go about solving problems?
49. Give me an example of how you dealt with a difficult customer at work
50. Describe the most difficult decision that you had to make and why was it so difficult

Further Reading

Make sure you check out these other articles on WikiJob:

Stress Interview

Funny Interview Questions

Common Interview Questions

Core Competencies

How Best to Answer "Sell Me This Pen" at Interview

Informal Interviews

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