29 Tough Job Interview Questions and Answers

How to Answer Some of the Toughest Questions to Get the Job

A man and woman interviewing a candidate at a table.
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There are the basic interview questions that almost every hiring manager asks. There are also interview questions that are more of a challenge to answer. These tougher questions give the interviewer a deeper sense of who you are and whether you're a good fit for the company.

Some are trick questions and others are designed to put you on the spot to see how you react. There are also those that don't have a right or wrong answer.

With those, how you respond is as important as what you say when you answer.

Here are some of the toughest interview questions that employers ask, along with advice on how to respond and sample answers.

Personality Questions

Preparing for an interview is a good chance to reexamine yourself because the interviewer wants to see what type of personality you have. These questions get to that core and dig into who you are on a personal level.

The "Weakness" Questions

Ah, the "What is your greatest weakness?" questions! They are painful but interviewers love to ask them and you need to be ready with a good answer. They want you to be honest, but you don't have to dig into your dark past or reveal everything.

There is a good and a bad way to answer these questions.

One thing is for sure, you should never say, "I don't have any."

Previous Work Questions

Employers want to get a feel for how you handle workplace situations and what you think of your colleagues.

These questions look back at your jobs and it's a good idea to be prepared to answer them.

Try not to say many negative things and if you do, put a positive spin on it. You don't want to look like a whiner or that guy in the office who can't get along with anyone!

The "Why Are You Leaving" Questions

Questions about why you are looking for work are among the toughest you will face, particularly if the circumstances are less than positive. An honest, well-thought out answer can get you through this round of questioning.

Ending on a positive note or showing a new direction in your life can turn a negative experience around. Be confident in this answer.

Tough "On the Job" Questions

This round of questions is trying to probe for how you would work in the company's environment. Each workplace is different and they have expectations of their employees, but honest answers can help bridge any gaps.

Tricky Interview Questions

You will need to put a little thought into answering these and they're just a few examples of tricky questions. Many times, the interviewer wants to see how well you respond to changing environments and how fast you can think on your feet.

Be prepared with a few answers to the most common questions but be ready for something totally off the wall. If you need to, repeat the question as you come up with an answer. It's a great trick because it gives you time to think.

    What to Do if You Don't Have an Answer

    Sometimes, despite doing all the preparation you can for an interview you just don't have an answer or can't think of something to say right away. Don't panic! Here's what to do when you can't answer an interview question.