Are You Prepared For Tricky Behavioral Interview Questions?

As an older skilled worker are you prepared to effectively answer these interview questions?

    1. Why did you leave your last job?
    2. Have you ever been fired or forced to resign?
    3. Why have you had so many jobs in such a short period of time?
    4. Can you explain this gap in your employment history?
    5. Exactly why do you want to work here?
    6. Why should we hire YOU? What can you do for us that someone else can not?
    7. Have you ever had problems with a supervisor or a coworker? Describe the situation for me.


  • Describe some times when you were not very satisfied with your own performance. What did you do about it?
  • Give me an example of a problem you faced on the job, and tell me how you solved it?
  • Give me an example of an important goal you had to set and tell me about your progress in reaching that goal. What steps did you take?
  • What was your role in your department’s most recent success?


Learn More:  In less than 15 minutes you will learn how to:

  • “Package & Spin” your work experience so it is a perfect fit for the job
  • Increase your confidence, easily calm nerves or fear
  • Be more like-able
  • Use professional words and phrases that will impress them
  • Position yourself as the BEST candidate for the job
  • Tell them exactly what they want to hear — so you get hired!
Use this Guide to build and re-enforce your attitude of confidently EXPECTING to succeed. Visualize yourself conquering the interview and GETTING HIRED!
Download it now. The Guide is yours, instantly — even if it’s Three O’clock in the morning!

  34 comments for “Are You Prepared For Tricky Behavioral Interview Questions?

  1. Savitha Chintakindi
    March 12, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I’m searching for an Internship for summer 2012. Please help me!!!

  2. Heather
    March 15, 2012 at 6:24 am

    This webpage is horribly designed. Why is there a dark background only behind the questions that are written in dark type? Are you trying to ruin my eyesight?

  3. Natalia
    March 15, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Heather, Thanks for your input. We took a look an there were some problems. Please take a look and see if it looks better. If it does not can you tell us what browser you your using? thanks.

  4. hossam
    March 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Perfect article and advise

  5. April 3, 2012 at 5:08 am

    As an employer, I’ve been influenced to hire people that were good at getting interviewed. They probably read articles like this one. The terribly unwise side to this sort of advice is that down the road, I had to let these employees go. Given how much I hate being put in that situation, I feel sick about articles that help people get hired, instead of helping people that are job-seekers determine if they can actually bring value to an employer and teaching them how to communicate that value. Getting hired isn’t the answer. In fact, getting hired into a job that you hate is a terrible fate that many/most people find themselves. Stop making the interview and hiring process into a game. There is too much at stake for employees and employers.

  6. Richard Strecker
    April 3, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Thanks for insight on telling employer that we can state what we have to offer that makes us unique and others lack.

  7. A Murricun
    April 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    What Steve said.

    All too often, eager or even desperate job seekers play along with manipulative or even demeaning interview questions because they somehow think that submission will get them to the next step in the hiring process.

    That said, it is vital that a job-seeker anticipate and prepare answers for likely questions. And to recognize illegitimate questions. Not only the blatantly illegal ones, but those which are just too prying or manipulative.

    You gotta know when to answer and when to walk.

  8. Michael
    April 14, 2012 at 2:21 am

    totally agree with Steve; as if ‘successful candidates’ are to be reduced to sly play-role imitators. It makes them different from the real being, making the whole exercise to a degree uncomfortable.

    As an experienced manager myself, I see (too) much bent logic, phoney theories and prejudices around being applied as proven science, which in the long run damage companies.

    So why only addressing candidates over 40, 50, instead of rather addressing HR/Hirers under 40 to gain a much better understanding of the added value an experienced candidate could bring into the company and stop using the useless myths on ‘old workers’. That’s much more of a problem. It would avoid desparate seekers having to work out their academy-award winning role, whilst their skills are not being fully appreciated. Because the cause is rather an HR problem not being strategically skilled to look beyond their narrow hedges.

  9. April 14, 2012 at 3:53 am

    Very nice post i really like this question because its very tough situation when face these type of question nad same time very funny when you are out from interview room and think about them really good.

  10. April 14, 2012 at 8:05 am

    A good interviewer does not have to ask these kinds of questions to get at the information that is needed. Asking these obvious, non-creative questions sets you up for canned and rehearsed answers. A good interviewer knows when he/she is being feed a rehearsed line.

  11. Eric
    April 14, 2012 at 8:12 am

    This book is a sad commentary on the “something for nothing” mentality that exists on both the employee and employer side of the interview process. The goal of the process should not be to outwit each other and trick each other into making a mistake that will, as Steve pointed out above, create a bad match that results in having to let the employee go later. Instead, it should be much like a courting process for marriage. You wouldn’t want to marry someone who you ended up hating, would you? Even if you could make some money in the process, taking a job you hate or with an employer you can’t stand, or vice versa hiring an employee that’s not a match, costs both sides dearly (much more even than a bad marriage in some respects). Hiring an employee is an expensive process, and bringing them on board even more so, both in monetary cost and lost opportunity if they don’t work out. Similarly, taking a job where you get fired is a career mistake that will live with you for a long time. So it *never* pays to manipulate, whether you’re an employer or employee. The employer should ask tough questions – skills and behavioral-wise – which might include some unusual ones like the manhole covers question. And the employee should be ready with some questions not just about the job but also the company to make sure there’s a fit. But trying to trick each other simply starts the relationship out on the wrong foot and leads to no good for either side. This book appears to encourage that behavior and some of the advice I’ve seen given even here in this advertisement would lead me to immediately terminate an interview.

  12. Natalia
    April 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    A very interesting prospective. I think many are enlightened. But there is a cultural tendency in our society towards age bias- just look at a news stand or on the front page of any online news source. What are they selling eternal youth and beauty:).

  13. Michael
    April 16, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Natalia; cannot agree more. Indeed I was playing a bit ‘naive’ by pretending for a second that employers would not discriminate candidates based on age (which, as you pointed out, is unfortunately the daily general practice – else we would not need websites like this one).

    The sad part is (and both witnessed this myself or had such confirmed by my circle of contacts) – that CVs are not even properly read/assessed: in case you have more than 3 or 4 job functions, you end on the wrong pile. When fishing for feedback, you’re told that the job required e.g. at least 3 years of X (and you have even 5 years…) then you know how the process is being performed.

    Conversely it is being argued, that many CVs came in. But as a CxO one also needs to make vital decisions and there’s is much information to deal with – and a manager making wrong choices because he “has too much input” is not taken seriously; whereas such excuses from HR professionals is commonly heard.

    Interestingly enough, one hears such complaints from many CEOs, confirming it is ‘bothering’ them too… yet hardly ever anything is done to make a change for the better. Have we lost a sense of strategy? or did managements lose the ability to lead?


  14. Charbel Abou Chaaya
    April 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Kathryn, I totally agree with you. The only information I need to know from the candidates could be divided into 3 parts: Technical Skills – Motivation about the job – Fit into the agency culture. Straight to the point!

  15. Donna
    May 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    While I agree that memorizing rote answers to questions is not the best way to go, the value I see in products/discussions like this is that it helps open the view of the job seeker (who may not have had to interview for many years) to be ready for questions like these. If all the job seeker does is think through the answers, that’s far better than being surprised by the question during the interview. You’re right that tricking the interviewer into moving you to the next step for a job that’s a bad fit is not a good idea. But if a job seeker walks into an interview not even expecting the questions, s/he will be removed from the short list even if s/he is actually extremely qualified for the position.

    So: NO to memorizing answers, and YES to knowing the questions & thinking through your answers before the interview.

  16. Laura
    June 19, 2012 at 10:22 am

    •Tell them exactly what they want to hear — so you get hired!

    This comment made me sick, as a hiring manager. I regularly read these advice blogs and books and I can easily spot a person who is “packaging and spinning” their experience as you put it. Be yourself!!!! If you are right for the position, you will get it. And if you aren’t right for the job, you don’t want it anyway.

  17. Dawn Long
    July 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Steve, I crannot agree with you more! I have associates that are tutored on how to answer questions, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if I go off the beaten path so to speak, the interviewees are clueless. I want to see if you can think for yourself. Take your true experience and tell me what you learned and how it will benefit my organization and increase our profit.

  18. July 18, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Agree wholeheartedly Kathryn…if an interviewer is being tricked by applications that rehearse the answers to these questions then that says more about the interviewers process rather than those who work the process to their benefit.

  19. Dennis
    July 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Comments from the employer representatives appear irritated candidates make efforts to prepare, even stack the deck to get beyond initial interviews. Candidates today face automated systems looking for ‘keywords’, zipcodes and names of competitors. If someone sees the introductions, they seldom ‘read’ the contents, only scan rapidly. Resumes/CV’s are cast aside because they suggest ‘age’ or candidate is currently unemployed. Those who use these methods castigate job seekers who work to eliminate variables that keep them from proving their value proposition. I believe the voices of the employers have lost one of the important elements of business – gaining the perspectives of all parties involved in ‘the deal’. Seekers get rewarded for loading resumes with keywords & shaping resumes to sound like the desired candidate – even preparing for the FAQ’s. This is what the hiring process has come to; not because of the job seekers.

  20. Laura S (not 06/19 Laura)
    July 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    While I can appreciate the comments by those who hire have left here, I have to say that you offered no interview tips beyond the typical “be yourself”. I have experienced age discrimination since I turned 40 (7+ years ago). I have had no interview since I became unemployed more than a year ago. And, for those I had before being unemployed, being myself wasn’t enough. I was told each time that while I had all the qualifications and experience they needed, another candidate seemed a better fit. Not that they had experiences better than mine, not that their education was better, etc. Even playing field between me and the other candidate except for one thing….age. Every candidate hired was younger than me by 10 or more years.

    No-one is interested, it seems to me, in the benefits of hiring an “older” worker. I need any help I can get to show the interviewer I am an excellent candidate and can perform my job as good as or better than the younger candidate. While I won’t buy this product, I suggest rather than just bad mouthing a product you provide your own suggestions beyond the canned “be yourself”. Otherwise you are no different than those you say are teaching others a script that gets the person hired for a job they will soon be fired from.

    I could use a lot of help. I have a completely new combination resume (if I remember its name correctly) that WIB told me employers prefer to the chronological one I was using. It has one or two word self-descriptors followed by work experience, then companies I’ve worked for, then Education, etc. That has yet to get me an interview.

    I am comfortable in interviews, always have been, but the fewer I get as I age, the less comfortable I am. I believe I have a cover letter that enhances my resume well. I most certainly have a good educational and work background. What I don’t have is the help I need to tell me what I need to change of these I’ve mentioned or something or other I haven’t mentioned.

  21. Jimmy
    July 23, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Thanks Laura, that is what I was going to say…

  22. Lee
    August 7, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Hi Laura,

    If there is ageism out there, can’t you shorten your resume (if you havent interviewed in the last year something isnt working) if you havent already done so? For example the career I’m in now, and have been for 12 years, has nothing whatsoever to do with what I did for the first 6 years of my working life (temp jobs, working in supermarkets, just finding my feet etc) so I don’t include any of that. Its not a lie, I just dont include it – its irrelevant. For someone analyzing dates on my resume they might think I’m 6 years younger than I am, but thats not the intended purpose. I’m just removing anything irrelevant from my resume to keep it clean and specific to my skills. But this structure of resume might benefit you if you feel you are experiencing ageism.

    If possible summerise anything prior to say the last 15 years, if you were in irrelevant positions prior to then leave them off completely. If you were in relevant positions then maybe summerize that chunk of your career in a paragraph rather than itemising every job you did back to when you left education. If you also leave your dates of education off of your resume it will make the people scanning resume’ really have to work hard to estimate your age and therefor exclude you from interviews.

    I am not saying lie on the resume, tell the truth 100% but beat them at their own game. This might get you in front of a Hiring Manager and at that point simply state ‘I wanted to keep my resume upto date and relevant to the last decade or so but if you’d like specifics on every job I’ve done I’ll happily give them to you now’. By then hopefully they’ll not care/like you enough your age will not be an issue. Good luck

  23. ocsibacsi
    August 8, 2012 at 6:16 am

    But where is the article? I see only the responses/comments.

  24. Natalia
    August 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    You should be able to see the page here.

  25. Kay
    August 14, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I agree with you Steve. Sadly it seems to be a game anymore about the best answers to the questions. Both ways it seems wrong I mean what happened to just getting to the know each other and seeing if there truly is a fit for the job not a fit for the right answers. It is hard for those of us who just want to be honest and answer honestly rather than having to worry if we are giving the right answers. I think interviewing should be less about scoring high on the right answers. There has to be a better way for both to fit together and also employers need to find ways to read between the lines not relying solely on an answer but look at what a person has done and accomplished are they ambitious do they continually strive to learn do they volunteer and so what if the answer is not up to par is the action of the person speaking louder than their words. Being on the other end an employee looking for work I have been frustrated with long list of nonsense questions one of many I had recently was when I look in the mirror what do I see (huh what does that have to do as to can I type or file. Or what has been one of my most toughest decisions personal or professional I have ever had to make, on and on none of these questions I feel really show or say how I can do the job) I think we have gone too far and it is the best talker wins not the best worker. There is too much at stake for both players and as long as the best talker wins we all lose.

  26. Nancy
    August 16, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Just reqad the article and it is very timely for me, so thank you. Still a little hard to read but worth the effort, to help me prepare better.

  27. Rick
    September 3, 2012 at 6:01 am

    If employers are “playing the game” then prospective employees need to “play the game”. Today, employers utilize computerized search algorithms; age, sex and race bias; and formulaic scoring sheets for candidates. If you want an “authentic” interview, the place it starts is with an authentic interviewer. As Steve mentioned above, the goal is a good match both ways. To do this, a company has to move beyond the structured – scoresheet interview and create a performance based environment where an individual is evaluated beyond their initial screening. If you don’t invest the time and money, you may hire a good “game player”. But as a candidate, what other choice do I have?

  28. Pingback: Are You Prepared For Tricky Behavioral Interview Questions? | Job Vacant For You
  29. Raju
    September 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Can you please give me some answers for the first 7 questions , you mentioned in the discussion ?

    Thanks a lot in advance.

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