Picture this scenario – you are interviewing for a job you really, really want. Things have been going great. You’re connecting with the team, and you’re slinging answers to your typical interview questions like a pro. You’ve finally reached the last interview of the day. Your interviewer asks, “If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be?” You freeze.
While this question may seem completely random, you may encounter something similar throughout your interview process. There are many other types of tough interview questions that interviewers ask to get a better idea of your experience, your interest in the role, and your personality. At PSG, our team is equipped to help you work through how to answer these toughies. My colleagues, Michael Bergeron, Senior Staffing Manager, and Frank Gentile, Director, have offered some of their own examples and insights to get us started!
- “What’s something you would change about yourself?”
- “The answer is never “I’m perfect.” Hiring managers are looking for a little humility and self-reflection, which is challenging to do mid-interview. I would practice an answer ahead of time, making sure the weakness you’re discussing isn’t critical to the job. Also, it is never a good idea to say that your fault is your organizational skills, as all roles need them. Same thing with punctuality!” – Michael Bergeron
- “When I talk to your manager, what will they tell me?”
- “Hiring managers will want to get an idea of what they’ll hear from your manager when they call for references. This is an excellent time to discuss your strengths and weaknesses. As you are preparing for your interview, come up with three strengths and one weakness that you have supporting example stories for that you can discuss with your interviewer. These stories can also come in handy later on to help you answer other potentially tough questions. – Frank Gentile
- “Why are you interested in this job?”
- “The biggest mistake people make on this question is that they never mention specific items from the job description. You can gush about the company you’re interviewing for, but make sure you still mention some of the key duties from the job description!” – Michael Bergeron
- “The position you’re interviewing for should be a natural progression from your current role or aligned with your professional goals. This will help you hone in on why you want the job, and why you’re excited about the responsibilities– Frank Gentile
- “What are the low points of your current role?”
- “Your interviewer is hoping to get a sense of how you respond to or handle potential ‘lows’ within your role. Talk about something that is outside of your control, such as a change within the team. However, you need to ensure that your response isn’t shedding a negative light on the company, your peers, your boss, etc. You want to make sure that you are turning this ‘low point’ into a positive. Did you view this ‘low’ as a challenge and rise to it?” – Frank Gentile
- “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
- “If you are asked this question, don’t fall into the trap of trying to explain where you think you’ll be – no one really knows! Instead, let your interviewer know that your current focus is on attaining the role at hand. You look forward to mastering it, and, when deemed appropriate, you’ll be more than willing to take on additional responsibilities. This shows that you’re dedicated and focused on being an immediate value add to the team.” – Frank Gentile
And, finally, because I know you’ve been waiting:
- “If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be?”
- “Questions like these are unorthodox, but they can show up. Managers don’t actually care what animal you would be – they want to see your creativity, logic, and how you think on your feet. Use this as an opportunity to insert your personality into the interview, and don’t freeze up! For example, my usual answer is a Peregrine Falcon because; 1. They have no natural predators 2. They have sharp eyesight 3. They are the fastest animal on earth, and 4. I could fly, so I wouldn’t have to take the MBTA anymore!” – Michael Bergeron
Any of these questions sounding familiar? Any interview questions you’ve encountered that you want advice on? Need help picking out what your animal would be? Reach out to us – we’re here to help!