News And Advice

Insights, tips and news for job seekers and employers.

How to Answer The Top 10 Toughest Interview Questions


There are always ways to answer tough interview questions. The key is to turn an obstacle into an opportunity by using the questions as a way of highlighting your strengths and attributes.

how to answer top 10 interview questionsLanding an interview for a position in the fields of accounting or financing can be challenging these days. The competition is fierce, given the slow economy and barely-there job prospects. But what happens when, at the interview, you can’t answer one of those tough interview questions?

An article published online by CNN titled “How to Answer 10 Tough Questions” listed ten of the toughest questions asked during job interviews and how to answer them. The questions – and the answers – may surprise you.

Question #1 “Tell me about yourself.”

Answer: This is the question that essentially introduces the professional you to the interviewer. Talk about your accomplishments, your education, your career goals and what you can bring to the position.

What NOT to do: Talk about your personal life. This question is not meant to be taken literally, as in “Tell me about yourself and your life and your cats and your relationships…” Always think professionally when it comes to interviews.

Question #2 “Why did you leave your last job?”

Answer: When talking about your last job, emphasize the skills that you learned and how they can be used in the position you are interviewing for.

What NOT to do: Badmouth previous employers or bosses. This is a BIG no-no!

Question #3 “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Answer: This is what we like to call “The Stability Question.” Employers ask this to see if you see yourself working for them long-term. They’re not going to waste their time hiring someone that will be leaving quickly.

What NOT to do: Focus on personal rather than career-oriented goals. Also, don’t answer the “Where do you see yourself in five years” question with “Sitting in your chair/desk/office.” Potential bosses don’t like that.

Question #4 “What are your weaknesses?”

Answer: Concentrate on things that you hope to learn at this job, or things that you hope will improve in this position.

What NOT to do: Be literal. Don’t go into things like cooking, running, or playing dominoes. The interviewer does not care about that.

Question #5 “Why were you laid off?”

Answer: This isn’t an uncommon question in this economy. Be honest.

What NOT to do: Make up your own reasons. If you don’t know, say so.

Question #6 “Tell me about the worst boss you ever had.”

Answer: This is a great opportunity to flip the switch on the interviewer and talk about what you learned from your bosses, the various personality traits you learned about and how that knowledge fits in with the role you’re hoping to attain now.

What NOT to do: Again, do not badmouth previous employers. This is a sure-fire way of being disqualified from that job.

Question #7 “How would others describe you?”

Answer: The best way to answer this is honestly; however, the key to answering honestly is to remember to always ask for feedback from employers and colleagues.

What NOT to do: Point out qualities that would not be relevant to the job you are applying for.

Question #8 “What can you offer me that another person can’t?”

Answer: Once again, point out your strengths and with those, sell yourself to the interviewer. Answer with confidence and give examples that speak about the things you can bring to a job.

What NOT to do: Say “I don’t know” or come up with a humorous answer. This question is about self-confidence.

Question #9 “If you could choose any company to work for, where would you go?”

Answer: This question will give you the opportunity to list the reasons why you want to work for their company. Talk about the job and the company that you’re interviewing with, and give examples as to why you are the ideal candidate to work for that company.

What NOT to do: Never, ever talk about any other company other than the one you are interviewing with.


Question #10 “Can you take a salary cut?”

Answer: As much as we all hate talking about money, the conversation will inevitably go here. Start out by telling the interviewer how much you are currently making, or how much you would ideally need to live. Then, mention that you are open to discussing a lower salary, but also mention that you would be interested in revisiting the subject in a few months, after you have proven yourself.

What NOT to do: Dodge the question, make up a number or give unreasonable answers. Especially in this economy, salary can be the difference between “You’ve got the job” or “Thanks for interviewing, bu-bye.”

Get Additional Support

High Profile Staffing knows how tough it is to get through that first interview. To learn more about how High Profile Staffing can help you land that dream job, visit or