Here you can find some great tips to prep for your interview. Make sure you are ready with this interview prep below. How would you react if I told you that you are not the
Here you can find some great tips to prep for your interview. Make sure you are ready with this interview prep below.
How would you react if I told you that you are not the strongest candidate we have interviewed so far?
The Real Question: Show me you can fight your corner.
Top-line Tactic: Ask the interviewer why you might not measure up and try to reassure them about any concerns.
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There are two possible reasons the interviewer is asking you this admittedly pretty nasty question. One, you’ve nearly arrived at the end of the interview and they genuinely have some reservations about your candidacy, or two, they want to see how you react when directly challenged or asked to pitch yourself.
Either way you’ll benefit from keeping your cool and asking for a bit more information. If it’s the first situation, the interviewer’s answer will help you better counter any reservations. If it’s the second, it shows you take a constructive approach to criticism and conflict. So ask something like:
I suppose I’d start by asking why you felt I wasn’t the strongest candidate. Ask for some additional information about your concerns. That way I’d be better prepared to respond.
Hopefully, the interviewer will explain their doubts regarding your candidacy, if any, at which point you should use their response to tailor the next part of your answer. If a long pause hangs in the air or this turns out to be simply a hypothetical question, you’ll have to aim your pitch as best you can without additional guidance. Either way, you should now reassure the interviewer by succinctly summing up your key selling points for this specific role.
Sometimes you’ll have a gut sense of what might be giving the interviewer pause—if you lack a certain qualification or type of experience, say. In that case, you should address those concerns straight on. There’s no advantage to ignoring the elephant in the room. If not, just take your best guess at what the interviewer is hoping to hear or simply decide which of your selling points bears repeating. For instance:
I know I don’t have a great deal of sector-specific experience, but it could be that the division’s sales figures will benefit from fresh ideas put forward by someone not entirely familiar with that corner of the industry. And, of course, I do have deep knowledge of other sectors, so I can see the overall picture more clearly than someone very specialized. If things are a bit stale, I think I’m the ideal person to freshen them up, even though it might take me a week or two to find my feet.
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