Using the Star System to Answer Tough Interview Questions

At Executives in Motion we suggest you practice answering tough job interview questions long before you are asked them in an interview.

Answering Tough Interview Questions

Here are two of the many books that can help you in this endeavor:

  • Amazing Interview Answers: 44 Tough Job Interview Questions with 88 winning answers by Richard Blazevich – Signal Tower Publishing 2017
  • How to Answer Interview Questions – Peggy McKee, 2017

Start with this list of Common and Tough Interview Questions

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why are you looking for a job?
  3. Have you ever been terminated?
  4. What are your strengths?
  5. What are your weaknesses?
  6. Tell me about your previous issues with a boss.
  7. How would your boss describe you?
  8. How would your co-workers describe you?
  9. How would you describe your management style?
  10. Why are you interested in our company?
  11. Tell me about a situation where you met a challenging deadline?
  12. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an angry or difficult customer, client, and employee.
  13. How do you deal with the challenges of a stressful situation?
  14. Describe a situation where your work was criticized.
  15. Tell me about a recent accomplishment.
  16. Tell me about a time when you failed.
  17. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership?
  18. What do you expect to be doing in five years.
  19. Why are you interested in our company?
  20. Why should we hire you?
  21. What is your current salary?
  22. Don’t you think you are overqualified?
  23. What do you think makes you a good fit for this position?
  24. Thinking about this specific role, what aspects do you think would be the biggest challenge for you?
  25. What is the most difficult thing about being an executive or manager?
  26. What are the methods you typically use to evaluate an employee’s job performance?
  27. Tell me about a time in which you brought productive change to a company. How did you implement this change?
  28. Describe a time when you had to deal with difficult or unmotivated staff.
  29. Describe your experience reading and interpreting accounting and financial reports.
  30. If you were hired, what would be your priorities in your first three to six months on the job?
  31. What are two things you believe our company is doing well? What’s one thing that you think we should change?
  32. What do you look for in an employee? What behaviors and performances do you expect of an ideal employee?
  33. Tell me how you have created a shared purpose among people who initially differed in opinions or objectives.
  34. Give us an example of a method you have used to successfully encourage/motivate your staff.
  35. How would you handle an unforeseen obstacle or a situation that resulted through a third-party, that affects your bottom-line?
  36. What’s your communication style?
  37. Describe a time when you confronted an employee whose results were inadequate.
  38. What did you do to increase company revenues at your current company?
  39. Tell me about a decision you made that was not popular and how you handled it.
  40. Please explain what you have a gap in your employment.
  41. What questions do you have to ask me?

Add More Interview Questions to the List

These are just some of the most common or difficult questions to answer. However, there are many more. The List can be endless. When you are facing a new interviewer. Add one or two specific new questions to the list if your think they may be relevant to the interview you are about to experience.

Use “The Star System” to Answer Interview Questions.

One of the systems for answering tough questions during an interview is called “The Star System”

  • Situation: Describe the context within which you performed a job or faced a challenge at work. For example, perhaps you were working on a group project, or you had a conflict with a coworker. This situation can be from a work experience, a volunteer position, or any other relevant event. Be as specific as possible.
  • Task: Next, describe your responsibility in that situation. Perhaps you had to help your group complete a project under a tight deadline, resolve a conflict with a coworker, or hit a sales target.
  • Action: You then describe how you completed the task or endeavored to meet the challenge. Focus on what you did, rather than what your team, boss, or coworker did. (Tip: Instead of saying “We did xyx,” say “I did xyz.”)
  • Result: Finally, explain the outcomes or results generated by the action taken. You might emphasize what you accomplished, or what you learned.

Keep Your Answers to Interview Questions Short

We suggest that limit your answers to 2 minutes when you practice. That way you will not ramble on during an interview.Follow Your Answers to Interview Questions with A Question of Your Own

End You Answer to an Interview Questions With a Question of Your Own

We suggest that you follow the results portion of the answer with an open ended question like

  • How would that situation and the way I dealt with it relate to the position you are trying to fill?
  • In what ways is this the kind of leadership you seek?

Use “The EIM Video Interview Practice Tool”

We suggest you write out answers, practice them and run your answers past peers and career coaches. In fact, we have a tool in our premium membership level that can greatly enhance your abilities in this area. Its called The EIM Video Interview Practice Tool.

The EIM Video Interview Practice Tool is a system of using your cellphone or laptop/desktop computer to answer specific interview questions on video and reviewing and re-recording them as many times as you would like until you are happy with the results. Then you can share them with peers or an executive career coach for their critique.

The system gives you the questions listed above to get you started but allows you to add whatever questions you need. This is the best practice tool on the market. Get smooth before you get under pressure. If you are not already a premium member consider upgrading your membership and see how our video based practice tool can help.

If you are not already a Premium Member of Executives in Motion and you would like to learn more about The EIM Video Interview Practice Tool click here.

Scroll to Top