5 Tough Interview Questions and Answers

Tough interview questions and answers

Interviewing for a new job can be incredibly stressful, especially when anticipating challenging questions. Being properly prepared for tough questions can help you maintain your confidence throughout the interview process.

There are several steps to take to set yourself up for a successful job interview. First, researching the organization will help you to understand the company and their priorities, traditions, and strategies. Then, a thorough review of the job description and comparison to your own qualifications can help you to identify strengths and weaknesses with regards to the position.

One of the best ways to prepare for a job interview – and control the pre-interview jitters – is to make yourself familiar with these common job interview questions that may be asked, and to prepare responses in advance.

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5 Common Tough Interview Questions

1. Why are you leaving your current job?

In this case, it is important to stay positive and never badmouth your current employer. The best answers are related to personal growth, more challenging work, career advancement, or the opportunity to use skills or education that is not available in the current position.

  • I am interested in a job with more responsibilities and am ready for a new challenge.

  • I am looking for the opportunity to advance my career and apply the skills/knowledge/experience I’ve gained in my current job in a new environment. 

2. What is your greatest weakness?

Don’t take a strength and present it as a weakness. This is not only a facile and deceptive response, but it misses the point of the question which is to see if you understand your own weaknesses and that you are working to overcome them. 

  • I had a fear of public speaking in college, but after completing training and learning from on-the-job presentations and am much more confident today.

  • I had difficulty with planning and prioritization, but began bullet journaling and using a productivity app to become much better at it.

3. Why is there a gap in your resume?


Be as honest as possible, but again, emphasize the positives where you can. Describe the reason for a gap, but point out how the time between jobs was spent productively.

  • I took time off to care for a family member / had a period of unemployment following a layoff, but used that time to gain skills, complete training, or refocus on my future career. 

4. Tell me about yourself / Why should we hire you?

If you are ready for it, these open-ended questions give you an excellent opportunity to sell yourself as the ideal candidate. Steer the conversation to your experience, strengths, and fitness for the job as related to the job description.

  • I’ve been a team leader for the past six years, and am interested in applying my MBA at the managerial level. I excel at improving collaboration, project management, and driving profitability and measurable results.

5. How would you spend a $1 million marketing budget? How would you measure ROI?

While this may not be the exact question that is asked, this type of question is known as a “case study” question. The interviewer gives you a hypothetical situation, in which you can use your experience and skills to drive an outcome.

  • As most companies have found, segmentation and personalization in marketing drives sales, revenue, and customer engagement. I would invest my marketing budget in data analytics that could then be applied to segmentation, automation, and personalization. Measuring ROI with an increase in customer acquisition, sales, revenue, and retention. 

Preparation for difficult interview questions cannot only help you to manage a stressful situation, but it can ensure that you present yourself as the ideal candidate for an open position. Knowing how to present yourself while answering these common questions can also help you navigate a difficult phone interview.

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Another way to better prepare for interviews is to work with a staffing and recruiting firm. Recruiters have great insights and, often times, long-term relationships with companies and can provide interviewees helpful tips and questions to prepare for. By working with a recruiting firm, like Sparks Group, candidates can easily gain a competitive edge in the job market.

Sparks Group brings nearly a half-century of recruiting and temporary staffing experience to the industry, placing candidates in challenging and rewarding positions. Our staffing agency's primary focus is to align job opportunities that match each candidate’s skill-sets, experience levels, career objectives, and growth needs.

To begin your next step towards your career goals, check out our Job Board to find new opportunities and reach out to our recruiting experts.

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Written by Sparks Group

Sparks Group

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