Difficult Interview Question: What Didn’t You Like About Your Last Job?
Many interview questions have two versions – the positive version, and the negative version. For example “what is your dream job?” would be a positive, and “what would you never want to do for all of the money in the world?” is a negative. Positive questions are easier. You simply need to relate your answer to the job you are applying for and make sure it reflects well on you.
Negative questions are more difficult. Any time you answer the negative version of an interview question, you need to:
- Try and remain positive anyway.
- Make sure it does not relate to the job you are interviewing for.
- Continue to make sure you look like a good employee.
That can be very tough. So when you are asked “what didn’t you like about your last job?” you need to be certain that you are choosing something that doesn’t make it look like you are complaining and that you will not be a problem at the job you are applying for.
How to Answer
The best way to answer this question is to focus on one of these categories:
- Company organization.
- Growth opportunities.
These two are considered by interviewers to be fairly harmless, and all companies tend to believe that they have both an organized company and considerable growth opportunities, even if they don’t.
“I didn’t like my last boss. He would constantly hound me over deadlines that I always reached, and would be looking over my shoulder at every moment despite me giving him no reason to believe I wasn’t working hard.”
This is an example of an answer that sounds like you are complaining. Don’t complain.
“The company did not have very many growth opportunities for staff in my position, because the positions were seen as independent parts of a whole. I would prefer to work for a company that will allow me to reach my potential in the future as I become a valued contributor to their team.”
This is essentially harmless, barely looks like you are complaining, and the company will respect your position on growth opportunities. This is a much better answer.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Focus on something harmless.
- Don’t complain.
- Make sure anything you say will not be a problem with the job you are interviewing with.