Curveball questions: interviewers love them and candidates hate them. It’s a classic case; an interview will appear to be going smoothly. You’ve demonstrated that you’ve researched the company and its competitors, as well as shown that you clearly possess all the desired skills for the position. Then, you’re caught off guard with a curveball question, such as your biggest professional failure or shortcomings, and what you would do differently if you could do it all over again.
Employers want to judge how you react when you’re put on the spot without any preparation. Curveball questions are designed to help employers get a glimpse of a candidate’s true demeanor by forcing them to think on their feet. In situations such as these, the answer you give is not nearly as important as how you give it. So, how do you react? Follow these tips to successfully hit those curveball questions in your next interview.
- Keep calm. Staying calm is the most important thing to remember when a curveball question is thrown your way. Even if the question makes you nervous, don’t let it show. Take a moment to breathe and gather your thoughts; a calm, collected response will always outweigh an immediate response.
- Don’t over-complicate. Many curveball questions are open-ended. Too often, candidates will treat them as a hidden psychological survey and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to craft the perfect answer, when no such answer exists. While clever answers are appreciated, interview questions aren’t psych tests, so do not feel obligated to approach them as such.
- Take stock of your options. Take a moment to consider your options before picking an answer that seems correct to you. Contrary to popular belief, your first answer is not always the best one; many times, the second answer to come to mind is better than your first idea, but equally as honest.
- Stand firm in your answer. The key to curveball questions is answering them confidently. Don’t second guess yourself when an interviewer asks you for an explanation after giving your answer. There has to be some logical path that brought you to your conclusion and the interviewer wants to hear it. It doesn’t really matter what you say, as long as you say it with conviction and show the interviewer your confidence in yourself.
- Remember the three C’s. Answering curveball questions is much easier with the three C’s: calmness, confidence, and competence. If you can show your interviewer through your answers that you possess all three of these qualities, then you’ll successfully answer any question they throw your way.
If you have an interview approaching, start practicing now. Have your friends ask you questions out of left field so you can practice responding effectively. Prepare for the unexpected, and you’ll never have to worry about being caught off guard. If you are looking for more resources on preparing for interviews or landing your next job, contact Springborn Staffing today!