How to Answer the 5 Toughest Job Interview Questions

You’ve done your research and found the job that you want to land. Maybe you’ve even cleared the initial phone screening or first interview. But don’t start celebrating just yet; there’s still a long way to go before you can call that position your own.

As the competition thins but intensifies and the stakes rise, you can count on having to handle some harder interview questions. Tougher, more awkward questions often come in the later rounds.

Here are five of the toughest questions your interviewers may fire at you – and how to answer them:

1. Tell me about a time you failed. This is one of the most popular and awkward interview questions because it’s so difficult for most people to gracefully discuss failure without worrying that they’ll say something that turns off their prospective employer. Career coach Christie Mims explains that with this question, the interviewer is trying to gauge how you respond under pressure and grow from adversity. Mims suggests that the best way to answer this question is honestly. “Highlight a failure and then follow up with what you learned and how you changed,” she says. “Interviewers are less concerned with the failure than how you handled it (you are human after all). They want to know that you are capable of thoughtful growth and can handle stress under pressure.”

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