How to Ace that Job Interview – and Avoid the Tough Questions


After conducting numerous interviews over the years, there are a few tips and tricks that are worth passing on which will hopefully save you some time and effort in any job search or career advancement opportunities that come around. Here are some key things to do in advance of the interview to prepare, how to answer some tough questions, and how to avoid some altogether:


  • Research First – Interviewers are impressed when a candidate knows a lot about the company, any recent news events, or to take it a step further, ask about how the position ties to company strategy and recent developments in the market. This doesn’t just apply for white collar and business jobs, but any job you’re looking for. Do some internet research and read local newspaper items related to the company. It will immediately cast you in a favourable light, make you appear engaged and intelligent, and portray an employee who is interested in the wellbeing of the company.


  • Be Confident, but Don’t Overdo It – A big turnoff is being either too far on the spectrum on either side – shy or showy. It’s good to show confidence in getting things done, working with others and showing results for your efforts. You don’t want to take it so far that it rubs the interviewer the wrong way, but this is your opportunity to show people what you can do (based on what you have done), so politely sell your successes during the interview.


  • Speak About Actual Results and Not Just What You “Would Do” – A very common interview question is to ask how you would handle a certain situation. The interviewer assumes that most of the time the candidate is just making up an answer based on what they want to hear, but even then, the candidate may be tripped up and give something away that questions their ethics, work ethic, attitude or some other red flag. Well, rather than trying to use your imagination and act out a hypothetical situation, think back to when something similar actually DID happen, even if it’s not the exact question. This will help you best answer the question.


  • Don’t Answer or Volunteer Certain Info – There are certain legal protections regarding what can and can’t be asked during an interview, but sometimes, an interviewer might either innocently or intentionally try to get around this by asking some “leading questions.” They might not ask you right off about your family, religion or financial situation, but they might be making small-talk about your hobbies, what you like to do in your free time or volunteer information about themselves trying to get you to open up a little. While you do want to appear to be personable and someone that would fit in at the office, you shouldn’t volunteer information that you don’t have to. If you’re thinking of having kids or already have several, there’s no need to volunteer that information. If you just took out a payday loan or started another side business, that’s your business. There’s really no legitimate reason to get into religion in an interview either. There are ways to talk about generic and safe topics without giving away too much. Not that it should matter, but it’s best to let an interviewer form their opinion based solely on the facts and work-related matters rather than personal matters.


    These are just a few tips to think about; stay tuned for future articles with more tips and tricks for getting to the top of the list during the interview process.


Darwin is an engineer and MBA who takes an "evolutionary" approach to finance, writing about adapting to evolving financial management, tax, investing and savings opportunities. Making more money and saving more money is an adaptive process — join the evolution! He blogs at Darwin's Money and ETF Base

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