How To Handle Unpleasant Interview Questions

How to handle unpleasant Interview questions

While giving an interview for the marketing manager position, everything was going smoothly for Aryan. He has answered all questions with ease. Then the interviewer said “Are you not bothered about your height? it just does not speak leader.”


Aryan is smart, intelligent and has cleared his exams with good grades. One thing about which he is not secure or comfortable is his height and it is always evident from his body language, so although the question was not at all directly relevant to the job he has applied for yet it shattered his confidence and then he was not able to gather the courage and finish off his interview on right note.


Getting a job is all about fitment. Interviewers look for right fit, not the best candidate. In order to gauge the suitability of candidates, they ask a variety of questions in an interview and out of all most tricky ones are those that hit pain points of candidates.


My interaction with multiple job seekers on quora has made me dug out few questions which can make candidates super nervous:


  • Why is there a gap in your CV?
  • Why your marks are low?
  • Why didn’t you get a good appraisal in your last organization?
  • Why didn’t you move up in your last organization?
  • Why have you changed so many jobs in past?


So next thing is how to tackle all these interview questions with confidence:


First, understand the objective of Interviewer:


In Aryan’s case, Job profile demands client interaction so Interviewer wants to check how he will respond or handle intimidating clients, who love to criticize every single thing.


With such questions Interviewers do not want to humiliate you, they want to check how secure and confident you are about yourself, how good is your presence of mind and how much you have grown in recent years.


Now let’s take a look at each question and how to deal with them:


A Gap In A CV:


A gap can be between educations, an education, and a job and between jobs.

There can be multiple reasons for the gap.

Competitive exam preparation, illness, family issues, unemployment etc.

First, you need to see what is your reason and then prepare answer accordingly.


The theme of an answer should be: Be honest, give valid reasons, prove that you have learned during that period and it has made you even more skilled.


Candidates generally lose their confidence when asked such questions because they think they are at fault and then they try to explain their gap with unjustifiable reasons which further results in more questions from Interviewers on this topic and messing up the whole interview. So keeping yourself calm and confident is highly required to answer such questions.


If you have taken gap to prepare for any competitive exam. Your answer should be in such way “I took a year gap to prepare for Medical Entrance Exam, although I have given my best but didn’t clear that. Mostly because I was not quite passionate about it. But that was the time when I learned about the fields where my true inclination lies so I don’t see this gap as failure on my part but this was actually the period where I learned about my capabilities, my strengths, my weaknesses and ultimately discovered my true passion”


Low Marks: 


Firstly what was the actual reason for getting low grades? If you were working part-time or involved in some other activities then just be honest and share that. Explain that you have balanced both academics and other activities and how the learning from those other activities can be transferable to the job you are applying for.


If there were some other reasons like family problems, health issues, personal problems then share them in such a way which shows that even after facing difficulties you managed to perform your best, and how you stayed strong and overcame that difficult period. But don’t let it look like an excuse for getting low marks.


If your low marks were simply because you didn’t focus on studies and involved in other activities which were not fruitful then there can be two ways;


First, you can say “I believe more in practical learning and since exams were mostly theoretical I have not fared that well but I have in and out knowledge and understanding of whatever I have learned in all these years and most importantly I know how to use these learning in a practical situation” For this sort of answer you should really be knowledgeable and prepared to answer next technical or syllabus based question. But believe me, if you can answer next question then it will validate your point and impress the interviewer.


The second way, If you have received bad marks only in one year or so and rest of your record is good then you can justify that by giving an honest reason for the same and also stating that I have learned from my mistake and worked on them and regain my position.


The point here is to prove that your low marks do not make you less skilled, you have valid reasons for the same and you are willing to work on yourself.



Bad appraisal / No Promotion in last organization: 



Just be calm. Don’t just start blaming your manager or organization for the same.


If there were reasons such as company policies, management decision, then share them but not in a complaining way.


If the reason was your poor performance then you have to put it forward in some smart way.


For instance: Work environment was quite challenging, workflow pattern was not structured so I find it really difficult to adjust initially, and it has affected my productivity, although I have learned now how to adjust fast in a new environment even if the circumstances are challenging.


Job hopping:


If Interviewer blames you for being a Job hopper, then deal this with ease.


Give reasons such as: “After completing 1 or 2 years in the organization I realized there was no scope of further growth and to remain relevant in this competitive market, I have to move out and look for new opportunities.


I believe this is an era where diversity is welcome, employers need employees who are fast in unlearning, learning and relearning, and I am a perfect example of that. In every job, I have learned new skills, performed good and have expanded my network.”


End such answers with the indication that now your intention is to stay longer in your next job.


“Now I am seeking some stability, and whichever organization I choose now, I would love to stay for a long period considering there is cultural fit and my career aspirations are taken care of.”


Apart from these Interviewers are good at reading body language. If you are sending signals that you are not confident about something maybe your hair, height, weight, voice anything then there can be questions on that as well. To avoid these questions follow the thumb rule “be comfortable, confident and keep body language positive.”


Still, if such interview questions pop up then you can say “I am completely secured about my height/weight/voice and do not let myself bothered by such things as they are not under my control. Instead, I focus on working and developing those skills which can help me grow further in my life”


So this is how one should deal with the trickiest interview questions.


If you have any more suggestions or questions to ask then please share them in the comments box.


-The Career Sailor

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