Honesty is always the best policy

“Tell us about a time that you disagreed with your manager. And how did you handle it?” Could there ever be a more difficult question during an interview? (Let’s hope not!) But if just the sight of questions like these gives you the heebie-jeebies, you’re not alone!

It can be very difficult during the interview process when you are supposed to be showing your best self and the interviewer wants to hear about your worst days. Behavioral interview questions are nothing new in the cut-throat world of employment. However, the manner in which you answer these questions can say more about you than your actual words. To help you, here are three keys to remember when responding to the hardest questions.

Key One: Don’t Fake it

It can be easy to “fake it till you make it” during an interview, but a good interviewer will see through this very quickly. Why is this so important? We are humans, and humans make mistakes. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as one does not keep repeating the same mistakes.

Unless you’ve never had a job before, you probably have had a time when you and your employer didn’t get along. You’ve probably had a time when you had a disagreement with a coworker or were asked to do something that you didn’t like.

Why is this so important? Almost everyone has had a situation like this happen to them and if you don’t admit to it, you could be perceived as untrustworthy. Most interviewers will give you a pass if you answer positively to one or two questions, but if you keep saying that nothing bad has ever happened, the “BS detector” typically goes off.

The moral of the story is this: be honest.

Key Two: Communicate the Importance of the Situation

No one wants to hear the nitty gritty of the painful situations that you may be asked to recall, but they do want a general explanation that helps them see both sides of the disagreement with as many specifics as reasonably possible. You don’t want to be too verbose, but it needs to be enough information to allow the interviewer to understand you aren’t making it up.

  • Walk through the professionalism you took in effectively communicating your attempt to resolve the situation such as calming talking about the miscommunication or realizing your error and apologizing for it.
  • Be honest without beating yourself up. You should not make yourself look worse than you were or become a martyr. If you were wrong, own up to it, but quickly move on from the negative aspects to more positive things.
  • Demonstrate what you learned from that situation and (ideally) how you applied what you learned to a future situation that had a better outcome because of your learnings.

Key Three: Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the services that we offer is pre-interview coaching sessions. This is an excellent way to work through tough questions and we also can assist you with the answers to know how to best respond. Here are some things to consider about the importance of practicing with a coach:

  • Help you remain calm instead of being flushed and stressed.
  • Identifies weak areas that you can strengthen prior to the interview.
  • Teaches you to properly talk about yourself in a positive light.
  • Can help you identify overly repeated phrases or awkward pauses.
  • Allows you to get your thoughts clearly defined so your words make sense.

Before you schedule your next interview, take some time to prepare yourself properly so when those dreaded questions come up, you won’t be sweating it out!

What was the worst question you have been asked in an interview? How did you handle it? Shout out in the comments; we’d love to learn together!