How to answer those tricky interview questions

At Bain and Gray, we speak to our candidates on a daily basis about interview experience and how to answer some of those tricky questions that get asked! Whether you are interviewing for a junior PA role or a more experienced senior private EA role, there is no doubt that the interviewer will ask some harder questions to see how you respond. We’ve pulled together some of those questions so you can best prepare before an interview:

 

If I called your previous boss and asked them about you, what do you think they would say?

 

For this type of question, the interviewer wants to learn two things about you: how you talk about your superiors and how you assess yourself. DO NOT speak badly about managers! Negativity is not an attractive asset and will quickly put an interviewer off you. Instead, use the question to talk about a recent new skill you have learned and that your manager would say that you are ambitious and keen to develop in your career.

 

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

 

This is such a common question but often one of the hardest to answer! Talking about your strengths may make you sound arrogant and talking about your weaknesses will only highlight your flaws. All the interviewer is looking for here is honesty and if you know what skills are required for the role. Ensure you speak about one of the skills required and share an example.

When you speak about a weakness, make sure you don’t talk about a skill that will be needed for the role! Choose something that won’t impact the role directly and follow it up with some steps you are taking to improve it.

 

Tell me about a time you failed.

 

This is another common question that gets asked in an interview. Employers ask this as they want to know whether or not you can hold yourself accountable if you are responsible for a mistake. Share a story of a small mistake you’ve made and conclude it by explaining what you’ve learned to avoid it from happening again.

 

What’s a common misconception about you?

 

This is another honesty question here! You should say a misconception that isn’t going to affect you in the workplace. For example, you could say that you are incredibly organised and structured in the office, however, outside of the office you prefer to be spontaneous.

 

What can you offer that other candidates can’t?

 

Whilst this is a tricky question, it’s a great opportunity to sell yourself. Study the job description and talk about how your experience and skills will enable you to do the job efficiently. Make sure you do your research to find out what problems need solving within that role and tailor your answers to those issues with examples of how your expertise and skillset can be applied to them.

Tell a success story of how you dealt with similar issues in the past.

 

If you would like some further support with interview practice and how to answer those tricky questions – feel free to call or email one of our consultants.