Answering questions like, “What Do You Like Least About Your Job?” can be difficult. And the wrong answer can ruin your job interview!
In this article, we will discuss why employers ask about your least favourite aspect of your current job, how to respond to this question when asked by an employer, and examples of answers you can use to increase your chances of getting a positive response from the hiring manager.
Resist the Temptation to Vent
Even for those of us who genuinely enjoy our jobs, the question ” hat Do You Like Least About Your Job?” is one that we could easily wax poetic about over a few rounds of drinks with friends. However, an interview is not the time to brag about how your boss is not nearly as smart as you.
It’s more likely a test of how you’d react to an invitation to vent. “The interviewer wants to know if you’re the type of person who, if given the chance, will say something negative.”
If things don’t go well, your response should not leave the interviewer with the impression that they could be your next gossip victim. Speaking negatively about your current employer reflects negatively on you, not the company. If you must vent, do so with friends, preferably not coworkers.
When you’re getting ready for a job interview, it’s always good to try to predict which questions an interviewer might ask. If you’re like most people, you’re fully prepped to field queries about what you know and the experience you have, like “Tell us about your responsibilities in your current job” or “Explain the strategy you used for [project on your resume].”
But don’t stop there! Recruiters and hiring managers also often ask behavioral questions, which can help them get a better idea of your personality and your soft skills. This could include questions like, “What type of work really excites you?” or “Tell us about a time you were frustrated by your colleagues.”
An even more sophisticated example that may not initially seem like a behavioral question is “What do you like least about your job?” Because it can be a bit of a “gotcha” question, you’ll want to craft your response with care. We talked to a few career experts and got their insights to help you avoid the pitfalls and answer it the right way.
That’s because this question isn’t really about discovering what you dislike, points out Conrad Woody, a partner at Odgers Berndston, an executive search and recruitment firm. More likely, it’s a test of how you would respond to an invitation to vent. “The interviewer wants to know if you’re the type of person who will go negative when given the opportunity,” says Woody.
Your answer should not leave the interviewer believing they could be your next gossip victim if things don’t go well. Speaking negatively of your current employer ends up reflecting poorly on you, not the company. If you must vent, save that for your friends—ideally not ones you work with.
Focus on New Opportunities
A great way to answer this question is to discuss a responsibility or duty that you would have in your new job that your current role does not provide. For example, if the job you’re interviewing for requires you to deliver presentations to large groups, you could mention how you wish your current job allowed you to put your public speaking skills that you’ve honed at your local Toastmasters club to use.
Alternatively, you could discuss a responsibility at your current job that no longer challenges you because you’ve mastered it. Just make sure it isn’t a duty that is essential to the job you’re interviewing for!
Frame the Answer in a Positive Way
Whatever you discuss, always look for ways to turn a potential negative into a potential positive with your new employer. “You don’t want to spend too much time on something you despise or dislike,” Tamara Rasberry, an HR Manager in Washington, DC, advises. “Even if you only mention something you dislike briefly, emphasise that you are well-versed in it but that it no longer challenges you or utilises all of your strengths.”
You demonstrate your ability to find the silver lining and do what needs to be done by quickly pivoting to how your current role was a necessary and informative building block for your next career move.
How to Answer “What Do You Like Least About Your Last Job?”
The best way to respond to what you disliked least about a recent job is to approach the question with a positive, casual tone and name one thing that you felt could have been better, but then also name some positive aspects of the job.
So you begin by directly answering their question, but you don’t delve too deeply into the subject, and you don’t complain or criticise too much.
Most importantly, you conclude with some positive aspects of the job so that the employer knows you can make the best of any situation and have a positive attitude in general.
You should always be able to demonstrate that you can stay positive and motivated at work even when things aren’t perfect. This type of response will make the employer feel a lot more at ease about hiring you.
Employers are wary of hiring someone who will be negative, or who will become discouraged or depressed if things get tough at work.
So, even if there were aspects of your job that you disliked, the answer strategy outlined above will demonstrate that you are positive and resilient.
Now that you know how to answer this interview question, let’s look at some examples.
What Do You Like Least About Your Job? – Example Answers
“Because the company was growing quickly, it was a little disorganised, and I frequently had multiple supervisors and senior team members giving me contradictory instructions.” However, I believe that this was an excellent opportunity to hone my ability to work under pressure as well as my communication skills. For example, if there was a conflict in what I was asked to do, I needed to learn to communicate clearly and quickly with my managers and team. Most aspects of the job were enjoyable for me, and I eventually came to enjoy working in such a fast-paced environment. It just took some getting used to. It was a fantastic learning opportunity for me.”
“Right now, the thing I dislike most about my job is the limited opportunities for advancement and promotion within the company.” It’s a wonderful organisation, and I’ve learned a lot here, but because it’s such a small company, it’s difficult to advance unless someone retires or leaves. For example, my group has only four members. That’s one of the reasons I’m looking for a job right now; I’m looking for a larger organisation that can provide more opportunities for upward mobility and career advancement in the long run.”
Mistakes to Avoid When Answering
The first big mistake to avoid is misinterpreting this as an invitation to slam your previous employer. When an employer asks what you disliked most about your previous job, that is not what they want to hear.
In fact, it’s possible that this is the most common blunder made when answering any and all interview questions. Badmouthing will make you appear negative and will cost you job opportunities, so never badmouth a company, boss, or team member.
Another blunder: don’t respond with a long list of things you didn’t like. It’s best to focus on just one thing at a time. That will keep things simple and give you time to share some of the aspects of the job that you liked – as I explained in the steps and answer examples above.