5 Tough Interview Questions…and How to Answer Them

5 Tough Interview Questions…and How to Answer Them

5 tough eA five-part series of really tough interview questions….  and how to respond!!

Interviewing for a new job is “single-elimination” process! Get it right and you usually move on to the next step in the job-seeking process with that organization. If you don’t do well…it is then time to start over elsewhere. You really want to avoid the knock-out interview factors….such as bad answers to an interviewer’s questions.

The job-seeking process requires the need to prepare for interviewing – you really do need to be ready to answer all the questions that will come your way…. especially the tough ones… the ones where a bad answer will end your opportunities with that potential employer.

Let’s look at one of the five toughest interview questions:

“Why have you changed jobs so many times?”

Note the wording is inflammatory… the reference to “so many times”. The interviewer is saying that for one of two reasons: a. they believe it is a lot of times; or b. they are challenging you… testing you… to see how you answer. The question could also be asked, “Your resume indicates a lot of jobs; why do you seem to change jobs frequently?”

Suppose you have had five jobs in the last 8 years. Your answer needs to demonstrate that each move was to a better situation; more opportunity; more responsibility; a bigger or better territory; a better organization. After all – you did change for a series of reasons – right? So package the most recent reason or two into a short and concise answer. No need to explain all five unless you are asked. Just paint the picture of someone seeking upward mobility.

You might respond:

“Yes – it really seems like a lot when listed on paper. For each of them, it made sense to me to make the change. For example my job at (next-to-last-job) was in a location without public transportation, often required an hour or more drive twice a day in terrible traffic and was located in a pretty sketchy area that lacked the access for a place to eat lunch, take laundry in on my way to or from work and so forth. I compare that to where I would be if I worked for your organization – a world of difference – as it is for my current work location. I don’t mind a reasonable commute… but I could never predict if it would be 45 minutes or an hour and 45 minutes.”

Or:

“My last two jobs were ones where it seemed I had a new boss every 3 or 4 months; I never could settle into a routine where I know what was expected of me and how to communicate with my boss.”

Of course if the reason was that your employer went out of business or was acquired and you had to relocate across the county to keep your job – these are easy to explain.

Analyze what were your reasons at the time – why did you make the change – and create/draft an explanation for each of them that is credible. If one or more of the moves was a “mistake” on your part be prepared to say so:

“Accepting the position at XYZ was a mistake. I didn’t do a very good job analyzing the match before I accepted their offer. I have learned since then and haven’t made that mistake again… and won’t.”

IMPORTANT – you also MUST include a statement to the effect “In spite of those five jobs over the past 8 years, I am really seeking stability. I don’t like changing jobs; I want to find a place where I can establish myself and make a continuing contribution.”

Demonstrate that you understand the interview’s concern and that you are looking for a break in the pattern!

OK… you now know how to answer the question:

“Why have you changed jobs so many times?”

Next week – how to answer “Why should we hire you?”

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