Insights, Interviews

How To Answer Some Of The Toughest Interview Questions

Colleagues discussing in meeting at office

We recently revealed 20 of the toughest interview questions which have been asked by companies in the UK. Today, we’re here to help you answer some of these!

What one thing would you take to the moon? (asked at an interview at ASDA)

Depending on the role you’re going for, you need to consider what you want to convey in your answer. Do you want to come across as practical, sentimental or something else? For practical answers, consider items such as moon boots, an oxygen mask/tank or first aid kit for survival. For sentimental answers, consider items such as your favourite book, photo of your loved ones or a diary to capture your experience. You’ll want to have an item in mind and a reason as to why you’d take it to the moon. Make it relevant to the role you’re interviewing for, but ensure you remain authentic to yourself.

If you won £10 million, what would you do with it? (asked at an interview at Camelot Group)

This type of question is a great way to convey your passions and interests, both personal and philanthropic. If you’re a keen artist, perhaps you’d want to take a career break and travel the world painting landscape pictures. If you have a particular love of animals, maybe you’d donate a large sum of money to an animal charity or visit and volunteer at an animal sanctuary. Aim to get across your personal values which may not otherwise come up in traditional interviews; areas which highlight great character traits that would make you a good fit for the role. Be sure to make it relevant to the workplace though – how do those values and passions make you a better employee or manager? How do you live your values every day in your interactions with other people?

What you don’t want to say in response to this question is that you’d quit your job immediately and move to the other side of the world! 

If you had £50,000 to start up a new company where would you put the money and why? (asked at an interview at Admiral Group)

First up, prepare yourself with an idea of what new company you would want to start; what industry and what problem you’d be looking to solve or value you’d be looking to add. Demonstrate your business acumen by acknowledging the priority areas in which investment needs to be made when starting a business. You might want to consider overheads such as office space, equipment such as computers, costs of any product development or marketing requirements, etc.. This doesn’t need to be a complete scientific answer, but you will need to demonstrate an adequate level of business awareness and be prepared to respond to any follow-up questions. 

Again, this could be a good way to demonstrate your values – for example, would your company’s mission be related to a social or environmental cause that you feel passionate about? Would your new enterprise be designed to help a certain segment of the population? How does it relate to your current career path?

How do your friends describe you? (asked at an interview at ASOS)

Try to avoid cliched, one word answers such as ‘helpful’, ‘trustworthy’, ‘reliable’. While these may all be true, you can guarantee that every other candidate will be saying the same thing. Instead, paint a picture of a few different scenarios which demonstrate how your friends see you. For example, the time you were able to support your friend with their business plan due to your strong knowledge of a certain business issue. Or when one of your friends was struggling with a personal problem, and turned to you as she sees you as honest and dependable. These short stories will make you far more memorable to a recruiter and allow your personality to shine.

Maybe you could consider actually asking your friends and colleagues what they think of you before commencing an interview process, so you are basing this response on real world examples?

Name a minimum of 15 qualities that define a great leadership (asked at an interview at Glowing Global)

This is a lot to think of! Think back to managers you’ve had in the past and what you most admire about them. At the same time, consider your own values and which of these values you expect great leaders to share – and explain this in your response. For example, ‘Integrity is one of my most important personal values, I strive to be honest and true to myself in all that I do. Some of the best managers I’ve had in the past have shown great integrity.’ Don’t just list off 15 buzzwords, explain your thinking behind some of them at the same time.

Is a Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit? (asked at an interview at Barron McCann)

An age old debate, be prepared to offer detailed reasoning behind your answer. For example, if arguing that a Jaffa Cake is a cake, you might want to mention its sponge base and the fact it goes hard when stale, as opposed to biscuits that go soft. If arguing that it’s a biscuit, you might want to mention that Jaffa Cakes are stocked alongside other biscuits in shops and the fact they’re packaged in packets.

In addition, while this type of answer will help demonstrate your logic, this question is a great opportunity to show off your general knowledge by explaining that a court in 1991 ruled Jaffa Cakes to be cakes and therefore be exempt from VAT.

Should you choose to jump from an aeroplane or climb a mountain? (asked at an interview at AO)

The answer to this really depends on the role you’re applying to. If it’s a role requiring a lot of quick thinking and perhaps risk taking, you might say ‘jump from an aeroplane’. If it’s a role in which you’d be expected to spend a lot of time problem solving, analysing and persevering at tasks, then ‘climb a mountain’ may well be your best response. Make sure you explain your rationale in your answer.

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And there you have it. Next time you’re presented with a bizarre interview question, remember to: show personality, explain your logic, use specific examples where possible.

Need more? Check out these additional interview resources:

4 Types of Tough Interviewers & How To Deal With Them

9 Signs You Smashed Your Job Interview

50 Most Common Interview Questions

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