Interviewing at Agoda: Tackling tricky questions

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Tips for tackling tricky interview questionsSo, you’ve landed an interview for an exciting role at Agoda. Now what? Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially when faced with questions that catch you off guard and leave you unsure of what to say. However, with the proper preparation, you can navigate through these moments with poise, deliver strong answers perfectly tailored to you, and make the most of your time with the interviewer. 

We asked Agoda’s hiring managers and recruiters about the interview questions that they’ve seen candidates struggle to answer smoothly. Read on to hear their advice on tackling these commonly dreaded interview questions! 

Understand the why 

Most of the time, your interviewer isn’t trying to throw you off or make you nervous by asking you hard interview questions. Instead, they’re trying to learn more about you beyond what they’ve seen on your resume in your very limited time together. These questions give an insight into how you operate – and how well you’d do if given the job. 

“If I ask a candidate about their weaknesses, it’s not because I want to know their deepest secrets. Rather, I want to assess their self-awareness, honesty, and desire to improve.”

Being an agent of change 

Interviewing at Agoda: Tackling tricky questionsWhat they ask:
“Tell me about a time when you had to step up and disagree with a colleague’s approach.” 

What they’re looking for:
“Are you a critical thinker and an agent of change? Can you speak up and advocate for your point of view directly and respectfully? Are you experienced enough to spot areas of improvement, challenge the status quo, and change things for the better? Can you tailor your communication style to suit different situations?”

 Our tips: 

  1. Be clear about what you disagreed with. Why did you see it as a problem?
  2. Explain how you proposed a better solution. Did you tailor your communication to the person?
  3. Explain what happened next. Was your analysis correct? Were there positive outcomes?
  4. Share what you learned from this experience. What does it say about you as a professional?

Learning from your failures 

What they ask:
Tell me about a time you failed. With hindsight, what would you have done differently? 

What they’re looking for:
“Are you logical and quick to spot mistakes? Can you reflect and be self-aware? Are you adaptable and able to take accountability for your mistakes? Do you have a strategic approach to dealing with failure? Are you genuine and able to share a real story of failure?”

Our tips: 

  1. Be honest. It doesn’t have to be a time when everything went up in flames, but it must be a failure that was real to you.
  2. Define failure in your own words. Did you take up more time and resources than you were given? Was there miscommunication that led to further problems? Did you choose the wrong tools for the task?
  3. There are often two types of failures: technical failures and leadership failures. The first involves technical errors, like misinterpreting data. The second is about interpersonal problems, such as using communication tactics that don’t work. Come prepared with an example for both.
  4. How did you communicate the failure to the right people? Did you take accountability? “I always say, ‘Make sure good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster.’ Keep people informed rather than hiding your mistakes.”
  5. Share what you learned. What steps did you take to ensure that you’ve improved since then? How do you do things differently now?

Taking ownership of your success 

Interviewing at Agoda: Tackling tricky questionsWhat they ask:
“What are your current KPIs?”

What they’re looking for:
“Do you clearly understand what success means for your role? Can you set ambitious goals and work towards short- and long-term success? Are you organized and strategic in your thinking?”

 Our tips: 

  1. In preparation for your interview, list all the projects you’ve taken ownership of, whether a small part or end-to-end. Have this list in mind. One of Agoda’s core values is ‘Take ownership and make a difference,’ so you will likely be asked to explain or walk through your projects from start to finish.
  2. Despite the simplicity of this question, you’d be surprised by how many candidates don’t know what KPI or success metrics they drive for. Get clear on your key performance indicators in your current role and explain how you’re fulfilling them. Connect these experiences to the job you’re applying for, but avoid highlighting any skills that aren’t relevant to the position. Be prepared to talk about your company/team’s KPIs and your personal KPIs.
  3. Your KPIs should push you within reason. Be ambitious but realistic. “I look for candidates who set ambitious KPIs and can meet them at least 70% of the time,” shares one hiring manager.
  4. Rather than explicitly saying, “I am a strategic thinker,” show it. Have a framework and clear direction and think ahead about what you want to say rather than thinking and talking simultaneously. It’s okay to take a moment and get your ideas organized in your head before you start. The STAR method can be helpful for this:

    • Situation: Describe the situation, giving context and details.
    • Task: Explain what you were working towards.
    • Action: Describe how you took steps to achieve your goal.
    • Result: Explain what the outcome was. 

Ask some questions of your own 

Remember, an interview is a two-way conversation! It’s not just a chance for the interviewer to figure out if you’d be a good fit for the role, but also for you to decide if the role is a good fit for you. At the end of your interview, you’re likely to be asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” You might be relieved that you’ve made it through the interview and it’s almost over, but don’t miss out by saying “No.” By coming prepared with questions of your own, you’ll be able to get helpful insights into the job, team, and company. 

Now that you’re prepared for an interview, discover jobs at Agoda! 

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