What is your opinion on controversial topics? The interviewer will evaluate your approach to discussing controversial topics where being neutral is not the answer. The topics could range from abortion and free speech on the internet to democracy.
Obviously, these and other “opinion” questions should never be asked. Sometimes they come up over a combination of dinner/interview when the interviewer has had a drink or two, is feeling relaxed, and is spouting off about something that bugged him in today’s news. If you give your opinion and it’s the opposite of his, you won’t change his opinions, but you could easily lose the job offer.
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ACCEPTABLE ANSWER: In all of these instances, just remember the tale about the student and the wise old rabbi. The scene is a seminary, where an overly serious student is pressing the rabbi to answer the ultimate questions of suffering, life, and death. But no matter how hard he presses, the wise old rabbi will only answer each difficult question with a question of his own.
Annoyed, the seminary student demands, “Why, rabbi, do you always answer a question with another question?” To which the rabbi responds, “And why not?”
If you are ever uncomfortable with any question, asking a question in return is the greatest escape hatch ever invented. It throws the onus back on the other person, sidetracks the discussion from going into an area of risk to you, and gives you time to think of your answer or, even better, your next question!
Do Read: 12 ways to bring what is your opinion in the discussion
In response to any of the “opinion” questions cited above, merely responding, “Why do you ask?” will usually be enough to dissipate any pressure to give your opinion. But if your interviewer again presses you for an opinion, you can ask another question.
Or you could assert a generality that almost everyone would agree with. For example, if your interviewer is complaining about politicians then suddenly turns to you and asks if you’re a Republican or Democrat, you could respond by saying, “Actually, I’m finding it hard to find any politicians I like these days.”
(Of course, your best question of all may be whether you want to work for someone opinionated.)
“What is your opinion” is often asked in the IELTS exam. This video should help you prepare your answer.
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Controversial topics cannot always be answered by having a neutral perspective. It’s recommended to access different resources on the internet (YouTube videos, PDFs, etc.) to see how people answer such opinion interview questions. And what if the contentious question is related to your personal life in some way? You cannot lose grip over yourself and go with the flow. Maintain your calm and composure to ensure that your response to the question is logical.
What is your take on “what is your opinion on…”? Have you faced opinion interview questions before? We’d love to know in the comments.