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Mar 24, 2018 - 6 minute read

How to Answer Tough Interview Questions

Teaching Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Preparing for a job interview takes time. Thinking about possible questions, analyzing prospective responses, and coming up with original replies can be challenging.

On top of all these, you must be original and innovative, funny and relaxed, confident and assertive.

Take into consideration the possible tough questions you might have to answer, and prepare for them adequately.

Keep a clear mind and natural behaviour, but analyze the possible obstacles you might encounter.

Here is a shortlist of 5 tough interview questions you might encounter along with a few tips and considerations to help you answer those tough interview questions with ease.

Question #1: What is one of your most predominant weaknesses?

There is no “right” answer to this tricky question. The answer varies from one person to another.

One of the best approaches to take is thinking of times when you were criticized for something that seemed right. That’s the most useful attitude to have.

For instance, a smart answer would be “I am very impatient because I’m always trying to solve problems quickly, and sometimes, that can work to my disadvantage. I am too much in a hurry.”

On one hand, you show commitment and persuasiveness in dealing with a problem, and on the other hand, you prove that this “willingness to deal with problems” might be “too prominent” in you.

That can be indeed disadvantageous, but it is an acceptable weakness to have. Some might even consider it a quality.

Question #2: Tell me about yourself.

First, ask them whether they’d like to hear more about yourself as an individual (personal hobbies and accomplishments, family life) or about your work experience. Then, develop on it.


  • Keep your description very interesting, use many action verbs
  • Make it longer than a paragraph, but keep it to the point; the last thing you want to do is bore your interviewer
  • When telling a personal story, show emotional involvement
  • Briefly scan through your interviewer’s office and if you find any common hobbies, expand on those more (for example: they love dogs, you have a dog – tell a funny story about it)

You can start with something interesting about your childhood, continue talking about your greatest moments during adolescence, and end with your biggest accomplishments as an adult.

Anne Kristin, a recruiter for The Times and freelancer specialized in professional essay writing services, recommends the following. “Don’t forget to be yourself.

If you are satisfied with your skills, qualities, and attitude, the rest will follow.”

Important Tip: If you can make your interviewer laugh, you can make them do anything!

See more tell me about yourself answers 

Question #3: What made you leave your previous position?

This is a real tough one. You have two options here: either make up a story and lie about it, or tell the truth.

It sounds simple, and most people would choose opening up, but the latter option cannot be applied if certain preconditions are not met.

What I mean by that is: if your former employer is not aware of the real reasons for your resignation, it is better to lie about it in your interview too.

If you were not open and honest in the past, why would you start now?

Complaining about your former company during an interview shows a lack of respect and dignity.

You should have dealt with these problems when the time was right.

You should have talked to your former employer when you had the chance.

Now it’s too late, and there is no need to gossip about it. If you haven’t discussed your resignation reasons with your former employer, don’t do it now. Make something up.

If, on the other hand, you had a serious discussion with them and examined your reasons, you should be frank with your current interviewer too. An example follows.

“The former company took too much of my time. I worked almost 12 hours per day, and got paid for 8.

I think this is unfair. I want my personal free time respected, and my work schedule carefully analyzed.

If your company does not provide that for its employees, I am not interested in the job position.”

Question #4: Tell me about a challenge you’ve faced in the past and the approach you took to solve it.

We all had to deal with challenging situations in the past. Brainstorm ideas before the interview, and pick a story that proves you have high, ethical standards.

When looking for the perfect story, ask yourself the questions that follow. Then, develop on the subject you feel the most passionate about. You must be able to tell your story intelligibly.

  • Has someone ever asked you to do something unethical? How did you deal with the situation?
  • Have you ever been in charge of a project/team, and had to deal with conflicts/free-riders?
  • Have you ever stood up for someone/in front of your employer? Why and how did it go?

Question #5: How did you overcome failure and move on?

I love this question! It gives you the opportunity to shine, yet not brag about it. It’s something you’ve encountered, you’ve lived through, a bad experience that had a negative impact on your life.

You learned something valuable from that experience and made progress. You can now “see the world with new eyes,” and you are able to conquer the world. Interviewers always like these stories. So, here are some good ideas to start with:

  • Describe one of your most recent work challenges and explain how you dealt with it. It could be a fight you had with your boss or an argument you had with a colleague.

  • Expand on a personal challenge (highly recommended) that you’ve faced – illness, family problems, personal growth. Explain how you came to the conclusion that in the end, all that matters is being honest, happy, and motivated. Highlight your honesty by giving examples.

  • Make the story about yourself and your qualities. Introduce specific terms that ‘make yourself look good’ in a subtle manner.

  • After every sentence, ask yourself “why?” Don’t wait for them to ask. “I overcame my problems because I knew I had to.” Why? “I knew I had to because I am strong and I want to reach my goals.” Why? And keep going like this. Build your story on ‘why’s,’ and don’t hesitate to give out as many details as you can.


Preparing for an interview is not that hard as long as you are honest and open about it.

Make sure you describe everything thoroughly, present yourself naturally, and extensively explain why you applied for the position in the first place.

Frankness is the key to your success!