New scientific study reveals the most intimidating job interview questions

New research measuring the changes in the heart rate (beats per minute) of candidates being interviewed for a job has revealed which questions caused them the most stress.

For this study, over 1,300 participating interviewees were outfitted with fitness trackers to assess which common job interview questions raised their heart rate the most. The results revealed that being asked to perform an unexpected “quick test” of their skills or knowledge caused the greatest spike in heart rate.

When told they would have to take a test, the candidates’ average beats per minute jumped to 154 BPM from the calmer average of 80 BPM. Here’s a quick look at the other most intimidating job interview questions – and our top tips for how to answer them like a pro.

The 10 most stressful job interview questions
as measured by changes in heart rate.

Question Heart rate Average heart rate increase
We’re going to give you a quick test 154 93 per cent
What are your salary expectations? 133 66 per cent
Do you know what we do here? 130 63 per cent
How would your last boss describe you? 129 61 per cent
Why are you leaving your current job? 121 51 per cent
Explain these gaps in your resume 115 44 per cent
What are your greatest weaknesses? 107 34 per cent
Why should we hire you? 105 31 per cent
Where do you see yourself in XX years? 99 24 per cent
Tell me about yourself 94 18 per cent

First off, let’s deal with question three.

Being asked, “Do you know what we do here?” should not have to stress you out. You should research the company and have a solid idea of their products and services before you even apply for the job. Furthermore, when preparing for the job interview you should conduct even more in-depth research about the company, its culture, its challenges, and its competition, so that you are able to describe your skills and experience in the context of how they would be beneficial to the specific employer.

Having done that, being asked what you know about the company shouldn’t be overly intimidating. Of course you won’t be fully aware of the inner workings of the organization, but you’ll be able to describe what they do without panicking.

How to answer the other most stressful job interview questions:

What are your salary expectations?

Why should I hire you?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

How would your former employer describe you?

What is your greatest weakness?

How would you explain these gaps in your resume?

When you are asked intimidating or open-ended questions, remember that employer is simply trying to determine if you are confident in your abilities to do the job and would be a good fit with the team.

So, keep in mind that whatever the question, your answer should in some way relate to what you can do for the company that other candidates can’t, and how you are a right fit for the job. Map your skills, experience, and accomplishments to those required for the role, and stay upbeat and positive so that you seem like an amiable addition to the team.

This research was conducted by Reboot Digital PR.

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