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How to answer this notorious job interview trick question, according to a top hiring manager

Yup, there's still a 'right' answer

How to answer this notorious job interview trick question, according to a top hiring manager

Job interviews are one of the great levellers in life.

Two candidates with vastly differing backgrounds and qualifications have, in theory, an equal playing field when put in front of an interviewer.

For some of us it’s where we thrive, while others are terrified at the mere prospect of one, even after years of going in for new jobs and getting them.

At least one of these people is sweating profusely

Some will be put off by the pressure situations alone, but others will dread job interviews because they’ve been stung by difficult questions in the past.

We’re not talking high-level lateral thinking questions, though those are also known to cause problems. What we’re referring to here are those questions where it seems as though there’s no ‘right’ answer.

Questions like the following: ‘In what order do praise, financial advancement and personal accomplishment drive you?’

“I am dying inside”

It’s easy, right? A, then B, then C.

But wait, maybe it’s actually BCA, or CAB?

Even when you figure out what you’re pretty sure your opinion is, does it match up with their idea of the right answer?

It’s a minefield, or at least it was until Lillian Roberts, co-founder of accounting firm Xendoo, broke it down for CNBC.

A four on one grilling? No thanks

“If they say financial first, it makes me wonder why in the world,” Roberts explained.

“Even if you think financial, don’t say that in an interview.”

According to Roberts and Xendoo co-founder Steve Galley, the correct order is personal accomplishment first, then financial advancement and finally praise.

While Roberts noted it is to some degree a trick question, that doesn’t mean you can’t give a wrong answer to it.

“You know what, get your praise at home,” she added.

(Images: Columbia Pictures/iStock)