Ace Your Job Interview

How to answer the curveball job interview question this hiring manager always asks

There are several difficult but common questions a hiring manager can ask you in a job interview, like "Why are you leaving your current job?" or "Can you tell me about a time you made a mistake?"

But every so often, you may be thrown a curveball.

The most important thing to do is to really think about your answer before responding, as revealed in a recent episode of CNBC's "The Job Interview," in which candidates interview for real jobs while being filmed.

One job candidate failed to do so, and it hurt her chances of landing the position.

Nadia Geller, owner and managing director of California-based interior design company Nadia Geller Designs, recently interviewed multiple candidates for a retail and marketing associate position at her company.

In each job interview, she asked an interesting hypothetical question that made the job candidates stop and think: "Is it better to be perfect and late, or good and on time?"

For a response, Geller was looking for "good and on time," because, she says, "perfection is really not attainable. And if you're late on top of it, then people are waiting on you and to me that's a no-no."

In other words, punctuality is important in her fast-moving business, as is having realistic expectations for yourself.

One candidate failed to think through the question and gave a confusing response, saying, "I would say perfect before good and on time, unless it's like a meeting and you have to have a presentation, then there's a certain way to explain that to them."

The answer failed to consider the skills necessary for the job — which included having the ability to juggle many different things and meet deadlines.

When faced with an unexpected or trick question, consider the advice of bestselling leadership author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch.

She says that the most successful job candidates, as well as the most successful employees, align their success with the success of the company. In other words, think about what your boss needs.

Having that mindset, she says, will help you make a great impression.