As part of the Be Career Confident Crowdcast series, Nick Bailey – Actor, Leadership Development Consultant and Coach, joined the panel to talk about dealing with tricky interview questions and I wanted to share my top take aways with you.

You’re a Hero

When applying for jobs, putting yourself forward is firstly heroic. You are trying to make the best possible life you can. The definition of heroic is ‘having the characteristics of a hero or heroine; admirably brave or determine’. So starting your career journey and having the determination to make a change is something you should admire yourself for!

It’s All About Mindset

Your mindset shapes your thought habits and in turn, your thought habits affect how you think, what you feel, and what you do. So start making positive thinking a habit and this will help you make the best out of any situation you find yourself in. Know your value and ethics and this will help you have confidence in yourself. Mindset can easily be affected by others so surround yourself with people who you know will support you. It can help to practice answering interview questions with someone you can trust to give you honest, but constructive feedback.

Stay in the Present

The first thing to do when you arrive for your interview is to take a deep breath and stay in the present. Don’t think about what happened before or what might happen after this meeting. You can only manage and control what you do and what’s happening at this moment! You also can’t manage the interviewer – so spending time worrying or overthinking what will happen in your interview just isn’t worth it. If you have done your preparation, have the right mindset and are ready to be the real, authentic you then you’ll be able to present yourself in the best possible light.

Prepare to be Judged

No one is there to see you fail and the interviewer wants to see you working with them, so their role is to bring the best out in you with the questions they ask. Accept that you are going to be judged but stay focused on your goal. Remember that the interviewer may be working to a set of questions prepared by their HR team and to them the so called tricky question isn’t tricky at all! They will of course be making judgments based on your answers but don’t make assumptions or try and second guess. In some cases the interviewer may not know exactly what they are looking for when they are recruiting into a job role, so remember to be yourself and even if you do not have all the skills and experience they thought they were ideally looking for, if you have made that connection and enabled them to see you as part of their team, roles can be changed or some training given to give you that extra set of skills the job role might require.

Forget What Happened in the Past

If you have performed badly at past interviews and now feel you can’t interview well, how long are you going to let these past situations affect you? Be kind to yourself – acknowledge how you feel but try not to let past experiences get in the way of transmitting your potential to excel. As you step into the interview room leave behind what’s gone before and engage in this moment, right now. Trust your preparation and your ability to make a connection with the interviewer and show them how you will fit into their business – show them the real, authentic you!

Be the Best Version of You

Being your true, authentic self is the very best way of getting a job. Be honest and offer an authentic answer to any questions that you might deem ‘tricky’, and if you don’t know the answer to a question, then you don’t know – don’t lie or try to wing it. Tell the interviewer you don’t know the answer to their question but use a ‘however’ to explain how you’d overcome that, how you’d be prepared to learn and turn things into a positive. If you have done your preparation and research, have a positive mindset and be ready to portray the best version of yourself, so called ‘tricky’ questions will melt away.

And if it doesn’t feel right then the role or the business may just not be right for you. If you don’t get the job then you may feel as if you have failed but at least you have failed well – it just wasn’t your day. There will be better days ahead!


You can listen to the Be Career Confident ‘Dealing with Tricky Interview Questions! Crowdcast here.