3 ways to handle tricky interview question


There are some questions that interviewers ask to trip you over. One of those questions is, “what did you like least while you were at your previous job?”. It is a tricky interview question because the interviewer is basically asking for a negative response.

If you hadn’t thought about this before and were unprepared for this question, you might end up saying something that would lose you the potential job.

If you are asked this question or something similar like “what didn’t you like about your last job?” you will need to keep your answer honest while somehow incorporating a positive angle.

The primary purpose of the question is to gauge whether you will be satisfied with the job for which you are interviewing. The prevailing idea is that if you got dissatisfied at your previous job, you would eventually get disappointed again. 

Here are some ways to help you prepare for this challenging question:

Make a Positive Start

While the question that the interview is asking is a negative one, you are not actually supposed to give a negative reply. Begin your answer with something positive and upbeat that shows that you are generally not a negative person.

This will show the interviewer that you tend to focus on the good instead of the bad in all situations. You can start off by noting your overall satisfaction with your previous job. Maybe mention one specific thing that you really liked at your old workplace

Have a Focused Answer

When you arrive at the meat of the question, it is essential that you don’t ramble vaguely about your dissatisfactions at your previous job. In fact, sit down and prepare for this question before the interview as you will definitely face this question or a variation of it.

Write down bullet points about the issues you faced in your old workplace. While listing down the issues, make sure you only mention issues where it is completely clear that it was the company’s fault. If you end up mentioning a problem that arguably could have been caused by your behaviour or actions, that would be a huge red flag for the interviewer. 

Tricky Interview Question: What Did You Like Least About Your Previous Job?

Your answer should be very specific. Avoid talking about politics in the office as no one wants to hear about that in a job interview. Also, just because you are supposed to be specific, doesn’t mean you can’t get into details.

If the interviewer wants to hear more, don’t be scared of going into minute details. This will help the interviewer gauge your personality properly.

Conclude with Strength 

After you have explained the issues that you faced at your previous place of work, end on personal strength. Use your closing sentence to emphasize how the negative situation made it difficult for you to deploy your key skills. This will leave the interviewer with the impression that you are eager to fulfil your full potential. 

Make sure you practice the answer to this question before going to the interview. This will help you answer the tricky question without hesitation and impress the interviewer in the process.

The preparation meanwhile will help you realize if you want the job that you are applying for or not as listing down your dissatisfactions at your previous job will give you much-needed clarity on what you are looking for. 

The interviewer will always try to throw you off with a tricky question here and there, but if you are well-prepared, you will be able to answer satisfactorily. How did you answer this question when it was asked to you in your interview? Let us know by writing in the comment section below.

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