Most Tough Interview Questions and Answers (Examples)

Tough interview questions and answers

Tough interview questions and answers to prepare for. You can be asked difficult questions during a job interview. While difficult interview questions differ by industry, there are many that employers frequently utilize to discover more about you as a candidate.

tough interview questions

Why do employers ask tough and challenging interview questions?

Employers ask difficult interview questions for a variety of reasons. Employers can ask uncomfortable questions in order to get critical information about you. Employers, for example, can ask about your background. While providing a succinct, expressive overview of oneself is tough, it provides context for employers to grasp.

Employers also ask challenging interview questions to ascertain your cognitive processes. For instance, they can ask you an unusual and abstract question such as, "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" The company is not searching for a specific response here, but rather to determine your ability to think swiftly and justify your response with reasoning or explanation.

tough interview questions

Finally, companies can pose challenging interview questions to ascertain your degree of experience and familiarity with demanding jobs. This is particularly prevalent in technical positions such as computer programming and accountancy. These questions should be answered truthfully. Consult colleagues or acquaintances in your business for samples of test questions they've encountered.

Frequently asked challenging and tough interview questions with example responses

Consider a few frequent difficult interview questions, along with suggestions of how you can respond. Consider a few potential scenarios of difficult questions you could be asked during your interview when preparing for it.

1. What type of critical feedback do you receive the most frequently?

This is comparable to the question, "What are your greatest weaknesses?" Employers ask this question to ascertain your level of self-awareness and commitment to self-improvement. Consider a true piece of criticism you've received or a shortcoming you're aware of while answering this question. Provide a succinct explanation of the critique and your efforts to improve it.

Example: "In the past, I've been informed that I frequently speak over people during meetings. While I am enthusiastic about the projects on which I am currently working and enjoy collaborating with others, I am acutely aware of the significance of active listening and using the range of ideas present in a room. I've made it a point to actively listen by taking notes and to be the last one to speak while others share."

2. Describe an instance when you overcome a hurdle.

Employers ask this question to ascertain your approach to adversity. When responding to behavioral interview questions such as these, you can apply the STAR approach. Provide a concise explanation of the problem, your participation in it, the action you took to remedy the issue, and the outcome.

tough interview questions

Example: "During prom season, I worked as a retail manager at a department store." A buyer ordered a dress online and had it delivered to the store, where another customer purchased it unintentionally. Prior to contacting the original purchaser, I discovered the identical outfit at another neighboring location. I had it made and brought to her house the morning before prom, along with a gift card to express my gratitude for her foresight. The consumer promptly left us a five-star rating on many review websites."

3. What are your coping mechanisms for dealing with stress?

Because stress is a natural part of many occupations, employers want to know you'll deal with it productively and with a positive attitude in order to preserve a positive corporate culture. You can react to this question by describing your normal response and providing an example to back it up.

tough interview questions

Example: "Communication is critical for me in difficult situations, even if it requires excessive communication to guarantee everyone is on the same page." For instance, when working on a project with another team, we discovered that duplicate work was being performed. By convening a weekly standup and maintaining open lines of communication with our teams and supervisors, we accelerated the project's progress and ended up significantly contributing to a critical business objective."

4. What managerial experiences have you had that were both positive and negative?

Employers can ask you this question to ascertain your preferences for and dislikes regarding various management styles. This can assist them in determining whether or not you would be a suitable fit for a certain boss. You should respond to this question truthfully and diplomatically as feasible.

Example: "While one of my previous supervisors was quite skilled, he tended to micromanage our team's work with little leeway in how things were to be done. It gave me the impression that I was not trusted and that there was little possibility for process improvement. My most recent manager was excellent at listening to my needs and assisting me in obtaining the resources necessary to accomplish my objectives. I thrive under supervisors that foster an environment of collaboration and trust."

5. What is your greatest weakness?

Employers can ask about your flaws to ascertain your level of self-awareness and your efforts to improve.

Example: "For instance, one of my weaknesses has been my inability to deliver constructive feedback. I appreciate how critical it is to provide criticism on work or projects that can have been handled better. To better, I'm documenting my input prior to approaching my coworkers. This enables me to organize my response, provide the greatest possible critique, and remain less apprehensive."

tough interview questions

6. What is your motivation for quitting your current position?

Employers should be aware of this information. It enables them to check that the position is a better fit, to ensure that they can meet the needs of your prior employer, and to determine whether you contributed to a poor experience for both you and the company. Answer this question truthfully, but avoid offering too personal or negative information.

Example: "While I cherished my time at my prior employer, there are no longer many growth prospects that correspond with my professional aspirations." This employment is a wonderful fit for my skill set and professional advancement goals."

7. How many pennies would it take to equal the height of the Empire State Building if they were placed one on top of the other?

Employers can ask similar questions to gain a better understanding of your mental processes. They aim to determine your analytical ability, your ability to cope with uncertainty, and your ability to communicate properly. It is quite acceptable and even recommended to request a few moments to collect your thoughts. Even if your response appears absurd or incorrect, employers are merely searching for a rational response. Additionally, follow-up inquiries are useful to elicit additional information or context, even if they do not necessarily deliver the solution.

For instance, begin by deconstructing a solution based on previously acquired knowledge. How tall is the Empire State Building? Obviously, 500 feet is too short and 5,000 feet is too tall. Assume your estimation is around 1,500 feet. Consider the thickness of a penny from there. Consider how many stacked pennies equal one inch. Consider the number 15. Following that, knowing that there are 12 inches in a foot and estimating the building's height at 1500 feet, multiply to obtain an approximate result of 270,000 pennies equaling the Empire State Building's height.

Related: Job interview questions

tough interview questions

8. Why are you interested in working here?

Employers frequently ask this question to ensure you've considered and researched your options before applying for a position at their company. This is especially true if you're moving sectors or employment duties.

Example: "When I began looking for a new career, I made a point of seeking out companys that value ethics, generosity, and innovation, and your company is at the top of the list." Your organization has always been forward-thinking and innovative in its use of technology to enhance the customer experience, and I'm looking for an opportunity to put my enthusiasm for exceptional user experience to work."

9. What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Employers can ask this question to ascertain what sets you apart from other applicants they can interview. To respond, describe how your experience, talents, and characteristics qualify you for the job. Make certain to thoroughly research the job description prior to applying to ensure you understand the traits they're searching for.

Example: "You should recruit me because of my passion and shown ability in office management and efficiency." I devised a strategy to rearrange the office supply cupboard by category in my former work as an administrative assistant. We placed fewer orders and saved 30% on office supplies year over year as a result of greater access to things. I'm delighted to contribute my abilities to this position."

Related: Interview tips

10. Do you harbor any resentment against your current or past employer?

Employers can ask this question to get a self-assessment of your life's potential faults. To respond to this question, you can state that you have no regrets in life for a specific reason. Assure them that you have made errors and have grown as a result of them. If not, you might choose a regret or flaw that is both professional and does not jeopardize your ability to accomplish the job.

Example: "I often wish I had recognized what I wanted to achieve much earlier in my career." Having additional years to develop and improve would enable me to be even more effective in my career. However, I gained abilities in my prior employment that I would not have acquired otherwise, which aid me in my current position."

Related: Final interview questions

11. Tell me about yourself.

Employers will almost certainly ask this question early in the interview process, and you can be required to respond during preliminary phone interviews or recruiter screenings. To address this question, you should include a brief overview of your schooling, highlights of your professional experience and accomplishments, and how you came to be considered for the position for which you are applying.

Related: Phone interview tips

12. What is your proudest accomplishment?

Employers can ask this question to ascertain which of your accomplishments you view to be the most valuable. To respond, consider a recent case that is in some way linked to the work. Briefly describe the accomplishment, your part in it, and why it is significant to you.

Example: "My team got an award last year for the most creative process improvement." My task was to organize the team in order to explore strategies to expedite the manufacturing process. We evaluated three established methods and chose the one that worked best for us. The process adjustment resulted in a 20% reduction in time to production, allowing us to increase our output."

While certain interview questions are standard and anticipated, others can catch you off guard. It is critical to prepare for as many unforeseen events as possible. This can be accomplished by preparing a few samples and inquiring of individuals in your business about surprising interview questions they've encountered. You can also request a minute to compose a thoughtful response.

Finally, while many individuals find it difficult to talk money, you should come prepared to discuss your wage expectations. If you're unclear about the compensation range that is acceptable for the position for which you're interviewing, visit Indeed's Salary Calculator to receive a free, customized pay range based on your region, industry, and experience.

Related: Preparing for an interview

Common questions

Questions from job seekers about tough job interview questions.

How do I answer tough interview questions?

Look through sample answers of tough job interview questions. And prepare by practicing mock job interviews with a friend or family member. Practicing your job interview in advance can help with any job search.

What are the 5 hardest interview questions?

These are the five toughest interview questions you could hear from a hiring manager/hiring managers.

  1. What is your biggest weakness?
  2. What salary are you looking for?
  3. Why should we hire you?
  4. What didn't you like about your last job?
  5. Where do you see yourself in three to five years?

tough interview questions

Favorite Resources

Our favorite resources are included below.

Job interview resources

Resume and cover letter resources

Job search resources

free interview question and answer full guide

Interview Question and Answer Guide (PDF)

Get our full interview preparation guide. Complete with common interview questions and example answers. Free. No email required.

Grab the PDF
author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur (Profile), Dice.com, WorkWise, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

Share

Help us by spreading the word