Career Growth

5 Answers To Difficult Interview Questions

Woman answers a questions during a job interview.

Walking into a job interview without preparing for tough questions can be scary. The last thing you want to do is stumble your way through your answers in front of your potential employers.

With some self-reflection and practice, you can be ready for those curveball questions at your next interview. We're here to help you with five difficult job interview questions and how to answer them.

What Are Your Strengths And Weaknesses?

A job candidate considers his strengths and weaknesses during an interview.


When you answer this question, you shouldn't sell yourself short. Be careful not to be arrogant, though. When you talk about your weaknesses, you should be honest and explain how you're working on improving yourself with specific steps or examples.

For example, if you work well as a leader but have trouble delegating, you could say something like this: "I work well as both a leader and a teammate, but I sometimes try to take over duties when it's not necessary. To overcome this, I work with my team to set boundaries and make it clear who is responsible for specific tasks."

Where Do You See Yourself In Five Years?

A hiring manager asks about a job candidate's plans for the future.


This question isn't just about your future, but how your relationship with the company you are applying for will be a part of your career growth. Be prepared beforehand and dig deep into the company culture and values and connect that to your initial answer. The answer should consist of working at a company that values something that truly matters to you; this a moment for them to see what you care about the most.

You should also include working at an upper-level position, through that company. This shows your passion for the work you do. Finally, explain your career goals, and make sure to include an example of your steps to achieve them.

Here's an example: "In five years, I see myself working as the lead coder at a startup company that cares about their employee's ideas and needs. Through this opportunity at [your company], I will be able to gain the tools I need to perform in that role adequately and efficiently. I want to be able to make a change in the work bigger than myself, and I can reach my goal working with innovative companies like [your company]."

Why Do You Want To Work Here?

A job seeker researches the companies she is applying to work for.


This is your moment to be honest about how you connected with this company and why you want to be a part of their team. This is also a question that requires some research about the company's history and values, which should be included in the answer.

Major things to include would be the shared value you have with the company and how working with experienced professionals will help develop your skills. Make sure to explain how it would be mutually beneficial for them to have you on the team.

Here's an example: "I instantly connected with your firm when I saw your mission statement emphasized giving back to the community. Although my primary interest is practicing law, I immediately knew [your company] would be a perfect fit when noticing your community outreach programs. [Your company] has an impressive history in civil rights law, which is an emphasis that I have a broad history of practice in through college and my professional career."

This answer can be expanded on, but make sure to include specific examples of your connection with the company.

Can You Tell Me About A Time You Overcame A Challenge?

A businessman works with his team in a conference

When you tell them about a difficult challenge, you can market yourself based on the skills you used to overcome that challenge. The obstacle itself may not apply directly to the job you're applying for, but your thought process and decisions reflect how well you would handle other challenges at this company.

For example, if you were assigned a big project with a close deadline, you could talk about how you learned to manage your time and prioritize your tasks to meet that deadline. If the challenge was resolving a conflict involving co-workers or clients, you can talk about how you observed the situation and decided on the steps you took.

Can You Explain This Gap In Your Resume?

A job candidate worries about the gap in her resume during an interview.


This question is entirely based on honesty and explaining to the hiring manager that throughout the gap you still were maintaining useful skills. Begin answering the question with the "why." If you were doing freelance work during the period, give them concrete examples of the work that you did with that time. If you were looking for employment, explain to them that you learned new skills during the period which helped boost your ability to perform as an employee.

The best thing to do in this situation is to be honest and explain what was happening in your life.

Here's an example: "During this period, I was undergoing a thorough job search. In the process of transitioning into my next career, I mastered several programs in Adobe Suites, such as Photoshop and Premiere Pro. Although, I wasn't working with a company at the time, I was able to build on several skills that will help me perform well at [your company]."

Interviews can be intimidating when you don't have an answer to a hard question, but practicing your answers before the interview can help ease your nerves.

Want more help preparing for job interviews? Check out these common interview questions so you can practice your answers.

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