How to Handle Difficult Interview Questions


Understanding the Objective of an Interview

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Job interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences, but approaching them with a clear understanding of the interviewer’s objectives can help you feel more confident and prepared. In this article, we will explore how to identify what the interviewer is trying to find out and the importance of asking clarifying questions when appropriate.

Identify what the Interviewer is Trying to Find Out

During an interview, the hiring manager or recruiter is looking for specific information to assess your suitability for the role. Understanding their objectives can give you insight into what they consider important and help you tailor your responses accordingly. Here are some common objectives interviewers may have:

  • Evaluating your qualifications and skills: Interviewers want to determine if you possess the necessary qualifications and skills for the job. They may ask questions related to your education, work experience, certifications, and technical expertise.
  • Assessing your cultural fit: Companies often have a specific work culture and values they want their employees to embody. Interviewers may ask behavioral questions to gauge how well you align with their organization’s values.
  • Determining your problem-solving abilities: Problem-solving skills are highly valued in many roles. Interviewers may present you with hypothetical scenarios or ask about past experiences to assess your ability to think critically and find solutions.
  • Understanding your motivation and passion: Hiring managers want to hire individuals who are genuinely interested in the role and motivated to contribute. They may ask questions about your career goals, passion for the industry, and reasons for applying to their company.

Ask Clarifying Questions When Appropriate

Asking clarifying questions during an interview not only demonstrates your active listening skills but also helps ensure that you fully understand the interviewer’s questions and objectives. It allows you to provide more relevant and precise responses. Here are a few tips on when and how to ask clarifying questions:

  • When a question is unclear: If you don’t fully understand a question, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. It shows your commitment to providing accurate information and prevents any misunderstandings.
  • When you need more context: Sometimes, interview questions may be vague or lack sufficient context. Asking for additional details can help you provide a more tailored response.
  • When faced with multiple parts: If a question has multiple parts or components, it’s essential to break it down and address each part separately. Asking for clarification ensures that you answer comprehensively.

Remember, asking clarifying questions should be done tactfully and sparingly. You don’t want to come across as unsure or unprepared. It’s best to use this strategy when necessary or when you genuinely need additional information.

By understanding the interviewer’s objectives and asking clarifying questions, you can approach job interviews with a clearer focus. This understanding allows you to align your responses with what the interviewer is seeking, increasing your chances of making a positive impression and securing the job.

For further guidance on interview preparation and career coaching, consider visiting reputable websites such as The Muse or Monster.

Prepare for Common Questions in an Interview

Securing a job interview is an exciting opportunity to showcase your skills and experiences to potential employers. To increase your chances of success, it is essential to prepare thoroughly for common interview questions. In this article, we will discuss effective strategies to help you answer these questions with confidence and ease.

Practice Answering Common Questions

One of the best ways to ace an interview is to anticipate and practice answering common questions. By doing so, you can refine your responses and ensure they align with the job requirements and the company’s values. Here are some commonly asked questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • Describe a challenging situation you faced and how you handled it.
  • How do you handle stress and pressure?

Take the time to reflect on these questions and develop concise, well-thought-out responses. Practice delivering your answers confidently and naturally, considering both verbal and non-verbal communication.

Research the Company and Industry Prior to the Interview

A crucial step in preparing for an interview is conducting thorough research on the company and industry. By familiarizing yourself with the organization’s mission, values, products or services, and recent news or achievements, you demonstrate genuine interest and enthusiasm.

Here are some aspects to consider during your research:

  • Company history and culture
  • Industry trends and challenges
  • Competitors and market positioning
  • Notable projects or initiatives

By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the company and industry, you can tailor your answers to align with their specific needs and goals. Additionally, this knowledge allows you to ask insightful questions during the interview, showcasing your enthusiasm and engagement.

Have Examples of Situations You’ve Handled Ready

Employers often seek candidates who can demonstrate their ability to handle challenging situations. To effectively showcase your skills and experiences, prepare specific examples that highlight your problem-solving abilities, leadership skills, and adaptability.

Consider the following steps when preparing your examples:

  1. Identify relevant situations: Reflect on your past experiences and select instances where you successfully resolved conflicts, led a team, or overcame obstacles.
  2. Structure your responses: Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to provide a concise and structured answer. Describe the situation, explain the task at hand, outline the actions you took, and highlight the positive results.
  3. Quantify your achievements: Whenever possible, include measurable outcomes or positive impacts resulting from your actions. This adds credibility to your examples.

Having well-prepared examples at your fingertips allows you to respond confidently when asked behavioral or situational questions during the interview.

In conclusion, thorough preparation is key to acing an interview. By practicing common questions, researching the company and industry, and having relevant examples ready, you will increase your chances of impressing potential employers and securing the job you desire.

Demonstrate You Have a Positive Attitude

When it comes to job interviews, demonstrating a positive attitude is crucial. Employers not only look for candidates with the right skills and qualifications, but they also want individuals who will bring positivity and enthusiasm to the workplace. Here are some tips on how to showcase your positive attitude during the interview process:

Stay positive and upbeat throughout the process

It’s important to maintain a positive and upbeat demeanor from the moment you step into the interview room until the very end. This positivity can be conveyed through your body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Remember to smile, make eye contact, and speak with enthusiasm.

Additionally, maintain a positive mindset even if you encounter challenging questions or unexpected situations. Employers value individuals who can remain composed and handle adversity with grace. By staying positive, you show resilience and the ability to overcome obstacles.

Show enthusiasm for the job opportunity

Expressing genuine enthusiasm for the job opportunity is another way to demonstrate a positive attitude. Research the company beforehand so that you can talk about specific aspects of the organization that excite you. This shows that you have a genuine interest in working for the company and are not just looking for any job.

During the interview, make sure to highlight why you are passionate about the role and how it aligns with your career goals. Enthusiasm is contagious, and when employers see that you are excited about the position, it increases your chances of leaving a lasting impression.

Be confident in your answers, even if you don’t know them right away

Confidence is closely linked to a positive attitude. It’s essential to exude confidence during an interview, even when faced with questions or scenarios that you may not have an immediate answer to. Instead of panicking or becoming flustered, take a moment to gather your thoughts and respond with confidence.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest about it, but express your willingness to learn and grow. Employers appreciate candidates who are humble enough to acknowledge their limitations but are eager to develop their skills.

Remember, confidence is not just about having all the answers; it’s also about believing in yourself and your abilities. Embrace your strengths and showcase them confidently during the interview.

By demonstrating a positive attitude throughout the job interview process, you increase your chances of leaving a lasting impression on potential employers. Your positivity, enthusiasm, and confidence will not only make you stand out from other candidates but also contribute to a more successful interview experience.

For more tips and guidance on enhancing your positivity and developing a winning mindset, consider seeking the help of a certified life coach. They can provide personalized strategies and support to help you excel in both your personal and professional life.

Know When to Keep Quiet: Avoiding Wordy Answers and Volunteering Damaging Information

As a life coach, effective communication is key to building trust and maintaining a positive relationship with your clients. However, there are situations where less is more. In this section, we will explore the importance of avoiding overly wordy answers and refraining from volunteering information that could potentially work against you.

Avoid Overly Wordy Answers

When clients seek guidance or ask questions, it’s crucial to provide them with concise and clear answers. Here’s why:

  • Clarity: Long-winded responses can often confuse clients rather than providing them with the clarity they seek. By offering succinct and to-the-point answers, you help them understand the information better.
  • Time Efficiency: Your clients value their time, and brevity shows respect for their busy schedules. By avoiding lengthy explanations, you can address their concerns efficiently and move forward in the coaching process more effectively.
  • Credibility: Being able to convey your message concisely demonstrates confidence and expertise. It allows clients to perceive you as a knowledgeable professional who understands their needs.

To ensure your responses are concise and impactful:

  • Avoid unnecessary jargon or technical terms that may confuse your clients.
  • Stick to the main point and avoid going off on tangents.
  • Use examples or anecdotes to illustrate your point concisely.

Remember, being concise doesn’t mean withholding important information. It simply means delivering it in a clear and efficient manner.

Avoid Volunteering Damaging Information

While transparency and honesty are vital in coaching relationships, there may be instances where volunteering certain information could work against you. Here’s why it’s essential to be mindful:

  • Focus on Solutions: As a life coach, your primary goal is to help clients overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Providing unnecessary or potentially harmful information that distracts from the main focus can hinder their progress.
  • Confidentiality: Respecting client confidentiality is a fundamental ethical principle. Volunteering sensitive information without their consent not only breaches trust but also undermines the client’s confidence in your ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Client-Centered Approach: Your coaching sessions should revolve around the client’s needs and concerns. Sharing personal experiences or opinions that divert attention away from their issues can be counterproductive.

To avoid volunteering damaging information:

  • Focus on active listening to understand your clients’ needs fully.
  • Think before you speak, considering the potential consequences of sharing certain information.
  • Respect client confidentiality and only disclose information when necessary and with their explicit consent.

Remember, your role as a life coach is to empower and guide your clients, not to burden them with unnecessary or detrimental information.

In conclusion, knowing when to keep quiet is an essential skill for any life coach. By avoiding overly wordy answers and refraining from volunteering damaging information, you can enhance communication, maintain trust, and ensure the coaching process remains focused on the clients’ needs and goals.

If you’d like to delve deeper into effective communication strategies, you may find valuable resources on websites like Psychology Today or International Coach Federation.

V. Stay Professional Throughout

Professionalism is an essential quality that every life coach should possess. It not only helps to build trust and credibility but also ensures a positive coaching experience for both the coach and the client. In this section, we will explore two important aspects of maintaining professionalism as a life coach.

A. Remain polite and courteous no matter how tough the questions are

As a life coach, you will encounter various clients with different backgrounds, perspectives, and challenges. Some of them may ask tough questions or express their frustrations during the coaching sessions. It is crucial to remember that staying polite and courteous in such situations is key to maintaining professionalism. Here are some tips to help you handle tough questions gracefully:

  • Listen actively: Pay full attention to your client’s question or concern. This demonstrates respect and shows that you value their thoughts.
  • Stay calm and composed: Take a deep breath and avoid reacting defensively or emotionally. Responding in a calm manner will help diffuse tension and keep the conversation constructive.
  • Empathize with the client: Try to understand the underlying emotions behind the tough questions. Show empathy and validate their feelings without compromising your professional boundaries.
  • Respond with clarity and kindness: Provide thoughtful and clear answers to address their concerns. Use language that is respectful and avoids any form of judgment or criticism.
  • Redirect if necessary: If a question seems inappropriate or irrelevant to the coaching process, politely redirect the conversation back to the coaching objectives.

Remember, every interaction with your clients is an opportunity for growth and learning, even in challenging situations. By remaining polite and courteous, you can create a safe space for your clients to explore their thoughts, emotions, and goals.

B. Avoid providing personal information unless it’s relevant to the job

Maintaining professional boundaries is essential as a life coach. While building rapport and trust with clients is important, sharing personal information should be done cautiously and only when relevant to the coaching process. Here’s why:

  1. Focus on the client: Coaching sessions should primarily revolve around the client’s needs, goals, and challenges. Sharing excessive personal information may shift the focus away from the client, hindering their progress.
  2. Preserve objectivity: As a life coach, your role is to guide and support clients objectively. Sharing personal details might introduce bias or influence their decision-making process.
  3. Maintain professional boundaries: Clients rely on you for guidance and support, not for a personal friendship. Establishing clear boundaries helps maintain a professional relationship and ensures ethical practices.

However, there might be situations where sharing relevant personal experiences can enhance the coaching process. For example, if a client is struggling with a similar challenge that you have overcome, sharing your experience might offer valuable insights and inspiration. Use your judgment wisely and consider the potential benefits and risks before disclosing personal information.

Remember that professionalism is an ongoing commitment in your life coaching journey. By remaining polite, courteous, and mindful of personal boundaries, you can create a professional atmosphere that promotes growth and transformation for both yourself and your clients.

For more resources on maintaining professionalism as a life coach, you can visit the International Coach Federation (ICF) website at

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