How to handle tricky questions during job interviews?

We are often confronted with tricky questions during job interviews and answering them is not an easy task. Are we allowed to lie in that specific situation? For example can we say that we left our former employee on good terms when it is actually the opposite? However it is, no answer that could possibly mess up your chances of getting the job should be given. But how do we handle it? Find our tips in the following paragraphs.

Can we lie to avoid a tricky question during the job interview?

First and foremost, we should keep in mind that no matter how difficult the question is, liying is not wanted nor recommended during the interview. The only lie that recruiters can tolerate at the most is lying through omission. And that is understandable since an interview is after all a sale. In that sense we have the right and the obligation to display a product at its best. It is therefore useless and stupid to talk about all our imperfections,  to reveal our professional plans when it doesn’t benefit the company. This is at least according to expert Patrice Ras, author of « Grand livre de l’entretien d’embauche» published by Studyrama.

How to talk about our former job when it didn’t end well?

The rule is to absolutely avoid saying bad things about our ex boss. Keep in mind to never bash your former enployer, says Patrice Ras. Adding also that « if however, the recruiter wants to know the exact reason why the candidate left, he can talk about it without getting into the details and without whining: throwing too much shade on your ex employer can often look bad on your side ». You must nevertheless remember that employer are not gullible , they are very much aware of the realities of the working world and especially about the behavior of some managers who tend to be nasty, too demanding, unfair and harassing. So you can talk about a professional relationship that didn’t end up well with tact and grace because the recruiter feeling any sense of hate in your speech could make you look bad.

How to explain a long period of unemployment to the recruiter?

This question also is delicate, in a sense. Some people go as far as changing the dates in their C.V to hide it out and avoid the question. This option is not recommended because there is a high risk for the company to find it out and see you as someone being fraudulent. When confronted to that situation, it is better if you clearly explain why you were not selected during previous job interviews. Point out all the different procedures you have been through and how motivated you are. That would make the person you will be talking to have a good feeling about you. So according to Patrice Ras HR expert, the job interview is actually the best moment to bring light to those periods of inactivity and turn the question to you advantage by showing that you are still active and positive despite the setbacks. Human qualities that recruiters appreciate.

Avoid definite and closed answers…

When asked to know about their career plan, many candidates get it all wrong because they think that we expect from them to give a closed and definite answer like «  I will become a C.E.O ». Quite to the contrary, what matters for the recruiter is to know about your plans in terms of your career. Therefore, you must be able to present your arguments by stating every major facts and trying to put a date limit for every goal. The candidate must be able to give an account of every major step of his career. The answer should come out naturally. Therefore, try to show how, where, what and when you plan on reaching your career goals. You must justify them by all means because they don’t expect you to just give empty promises. 

Be consistent…

When you are presenting your career plan to the recruiter, it is important to always be consistent and realistic. The answer that you give should be the result of a medium term well detailed career plan. It should be something that has been thought through. For that reason, it is recommended not to say things like «  it is hard for me to plan for the future, it is so uncertain that I might give you a wrong answer ». That answer that you probably find extremely wise is actually seen as a headlong rush for the recruiter who will definitely not appreciate it.

Do not confuse ambitious and pretentious…

It is clear that a recruiter will always appreciate having an ambitious candidate, but be careful not to do too much and have him confuse ambitious with pretentious. The ambition needs to be realistic. You must keep your feet on the ground to show to the recruiter that you are capable of taking yourself to other lands. In other words, he will appreciate for you to have your wishes and your passion but also take in consideration the situation of the professional market  when you present your career plan. Either way, you should keep in mind that the question about your career plan is the perfect opportunity for your recruiter to test you in terms of planing ahead of time. Avoid going overboard and having over the top goals. In brief, you need to be ambitious but without doing too much. Once again be realistic because it is the perfect opportunity for you to be so.