Interviews can be equal parts awkward and scary if first impressions and on-the-spot witty thinking is not your forte.  

Have no fear - it's totally normal.

In a survey by WayUp, a career platform for students and undergraduates, they found out which interview questions were the scariest to answer.

Whether you're an executive getting back into the interview scene or a hiring manager needing extra insight on what to look for in an answer, look no further. Remember, the key to a good interview answer is answering honestly while showcasing your strengths and personality. Lying is never a good thing.

1. Out of all the other candidates, why should we hire you?

Of the 570 undergraduate students and recent graduates that were surveyed, this was the scariest question to answer, although it really shouldn't be. Remember, you know yourself best and this question should be the easiest sell for you. Lose the hesitancy and own your accomplishments.

Elana Widmann, the Head of PR and Communications at WayUp, explains how to approach this answer:

"Think through the critical skills needed for this specific role, and then go through your strengths to determine why you are an ideal fit. The best way to frame your answer is to use the same formula as a persuasive essay. Come up with your thesis, three supporting arguments, and a concluding statement."

Be sure to have real-life examples on hand and support it with as much data as you can. Did you lead a newsletter campaign that resulted in a million dollar in sales? Did you find a growth hack that drove more conversions to your company's website? Let your interviewer know all about it - they want concrete examples of your impact.

2. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Whether it's during a job interview or in a relationship, it's one of those questions that make you sigh and question the whole meaning of life while doubling your stress levels.

If you're in an interview, Widmann says this:

"Employers ask this question to understand better if you are someone who values progress and professional growth. When answering this question, keep this in mind, and also make sure you are honest and realistic with your response."

If you're in an entry-level position and want to be in a senior level position within five years, make it known and don't be shy to follow it up with, "Where do people that start in this role end up in five years?"

If you're on the interviewing side of the conversation, keep an eye out for how the candidate wants to grow. Do they mention conferences, education, skills, or knowledge that they plan on acquiring and contributing to the company? That's a good sign.

3. What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?

We've all heard that we should take our weaknesses and make turn them to strengths, right? A micromanager turns into a person who excels at attention to detail. A non-team player suddenly becomes an independent and efficient worker bee. Next time, take Widmann's advice for a run instead:

"Don't hide your weakness, but be upfront about it. Talk about what professional areas you are trying to actively improve in, and share that honestly with the person who is interviewing you. Self-awareness is something most employers value - they want to see that you understand your skill set and how that will make you a key contributor to their company."

For example, if time management is your weakness, say so. Then, follow it up with how you've invested in a planner and swear by calendar notifications that help you stay on task. Be honest about your journey in improving your weakness.

At the end of the day, be human. Interviewers can see right through rehearsed answers and the point of the interview is that they want to know who you are. Don't forget - no one knows you better than you know yourself.  

Published on: Nov 22, 2017