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How to answer the tough questions interviewers always seem to ask

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You’ve spent the last hour bringing your résumé to life; you’ve got this in the bag.

But then you’re hit with that one question that leaves you scatterbrained and tongue-tied.

Five minutes left. That interview you’d been prepping for all week — practice questions, piles of flashcards, and LinkedIn stalking — is coming to a close. You’ve nailed it thus far, pulling out your proudest stories one by one. You’ve spent the last hour bringing your résumé to life; you’ve got this in the bag. 


But then you’re hit with that one question that leaves you scatterbrained and tongue-tied. “Tell us about a time you were being chased by wolves and had to save a kitten from a burning building. How did you handle it?”


Not only do you not have an answer prepared, but your mind is blank; all you can picture is a stack of completely blank flashcards and the deli breakfast sandwich you ate that morning.

These are called behavioral questions, and while interviewers probably aren’t going to ask us about a time we were chased by wolves,* we all have that one question that gets us mumbling; whether we’re embarrassed by our answer or just simply don’t have one. 


Luckily, there are some ways you can prepare for as many of these behavioral interview questions as possible so that you’re not left speechless in the moment.


*You might get asked about being chased by wolves if you’re applying to be a caretaker for a mystical beast in a castle in a small French town.


“What is your biggest weakness?”


Sometimes this one simply feels like a trap; isn’t the whole purpose of an interview to show our best self? Well, interviewers ask this question for a reason.


Sharing an honest answer isn’t going to give the interviewer a reason to shove your résumé to the bottom of the pile; rather, it might work in your favor. A good answer can show that you’re self-aware. Adding some examples of when you’ve received feedback shows that you know the impact of the “weakness” and want to improve it. After all, interviewers love hearing how you’ve grown.


“Why do you want to work for us, versus another company?”


This is a tough one…while it’s a great chance to show that you know exactly where you’re signing up to work, you don’t want to get caught trash-talking your future competitors. 


Research, research, research; pick out a couple of key qualities that really set this company apart, and align them with your experience and desires to really show why this is where you want to work…not just a box you ticked on a job application.


For example, have a look at the company’s mission statement or values. Identify a few elements that really speak to you, and drive those home during the interview.


“Tell me about how you overcame an obstacle.”


Every employer loves a problem solver, and this question can be your perfect chance to brag. It doesn’t matter so much what the obstacle is, but showing how you took charge, tied on your Superman cape, and overcame it is what’s really important.


The one thing you need to be careful about is trying not to frame the difficult situation negatively. Instead, think of this question as a chance to highlight your skills and show how you can go the extra mile.


“Why are you leaving your current job?”


IMPORTANT: DO NOT paint your current company in a bad light. Even if it’s the world’s most toxic environment, do not show that you’re carrying ill will or resentment. Instead, show that you care about your career goals enough not to settle somewhere that isn’t making you completely happy. It’s the perfect chance to show your optimism and drive.


But whether you’re looking for higher pay or just growth, be completely honest. No one really cares about the details, they just want to know how you got here.


“What makes you unique?”


At the end of the day, an employer needs to know what makes you, you. Use this opportunity to emphasize experiences someone else may not have had. 


What are your superpowers? What do you do better than anyone else in the world?


You can tailor your answers to emphasize qualities in the job description. But stay authentic; if you sound rehearsed, it’s going to come across as cheesy.


And no matter which Q you’re answering, here are some final tips to have in your pocket:


  • Avoid rambling 
  • Use a range of examples from your story bank
  • Make sure to highlight both what you want to gain and what you believe you add 


You can’t plan for every question, but if you have some idea of what to expect and prepare accordingly, you can stay calm, poised, and far, far, away from scatterbrained.


Read more fun facts, expert advice, and dental industry news on the Biteline blog.
And don’t forget to share with your dental friends! 


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After much consideration, we have decided to discontinue our current Biteline job posting and staffing services. While we understand that this may come as a surprise, we want to assure you that we made this decision with the utmost consideration for our community and the future of Biteline. 

Key Dates

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  • All final invoices will be sent in the first week of August.

Information for Pros

  • Feel free to contact your favorite offices to continue temping. These offices may invite you to the new platform down the road.
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We appreciate your trust in us and your patronage over the years. We understand that this may impact your workflow and want to make this transition as smooth as possible.

If you have any questions or need assistance during this transition, please contact your CSM or our support team at support@biteline.net. 

What’s Next for Biteline?

Biteline is developing a unified talent management platform scheduled for launch in Fall 2023. This platform will bring many innovative features to streamline your talent management needs. Send us an email for a demo to support@biteline.net. We’d love to get your feedback. The initial elements of this new platform will include 

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Future functionality will include

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If you are interested in learning more about our new offering, please reach out to support@biteline.net.

Once again, we thank you for being a valued part of the Biteline community.