Tricky Job Interview Questions Hiring Managers Love

Business News Daily recently published an article for hiring managers listing some of the “best” job interview questions. The site spoke to career counselors and other experts about the questions that best weed out unqualified candidates.

Well, as we say, know thy enemy, so here are some of the top questions and why you should have a good answer prepared.

  • Question: When you finish your work, what do you like to do? This is a trick question, because, according to Michael Mercer, author of Job Hunting Made Easy and creator of this question, “bad” candidates will interpret this to mean “what do you do after work on personal time” whereas “good” candidates will interpret this to mean “What do you do when you just finished a project at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday?”

    The “right” answer is apparently “ask the boss for more work,” not “I like to spend time with my family.” But we say this question is misleading, because of the way it’s phrased.

  • Question: I’m interested in learning about a time when you were at your best. What was the situation, the actions that you took, and the end result? Fairly standard, but, according to Alan Carniol, co-founder of career coaching firm Career Cadence, it gives the hiring manager another chance to match what the candidate considers his/her best attribute with the attributes needed in the job.
  • Question:What type of reference do you think your former boss will give you when I call? This is a SUPER trick question, according to Steve Penny, owner of Since your former boss is probably not going to say anything negative about you (because she’s afraid of a lawsuit), the interviewer is trying to get you to say all the negative things your boss would have said if she could. Answer the question honestly but don’t volunteer more than you need to.

Yes, indeed, these are tricky questions….have you encountered them on interviews?

Publish date: September 14, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT