You're in the middle of your interview and things are going well.

Then your interviewer asks:

"What's your greatest fear?"

Now you're thinking about all the things that terrify you.

Gif of a man with a scared expression on his face

What Not To Say

An interviewer asks this question to get an idea of your character.

How you deal with your greatest fear is more important than the fear itself.

Answer the question with some practical information about how you handle your fear.

Avoid:

  • Saying, "I'm afraid of bears/solar flares/contracting Lyme disease, etc" and moving on to the next question

Bear playing the trumpet

Because:

  • A simple answer doesn't tell the interviewer anything about how you deal with your fears

Quiz

What's the best way to answer "What's your greatest fear?"

State your fear and how you cope

Say you're not afraid of anything

State your fear and nothing more

How To Answer "What's Your Greatest Fear?"

Be open and honest. Try to answer the question in a way that relates to the job.

Talk about what you do to manage your fear.

Let's say you're interviewing for a job as a park ranger and your greatest fear is contracting Lyme disease.

Man spraying bug spray on other man

Talk about:

  • Your fear of tick-borne illnesses

  • How you wear long sleeves and use bug spray in wooded areas

  • How your actions keep your fear in check and help you get the job done

Example Answers

A forest

Example #1: The Park Ranger

"My greatest fear is contracting Lyme disease. I make sure to always wear bug spray and long sleeves when in nature. This helps ease my fear while I'm out in the field."

Man looking nervous in front of a microphone

Example #2: The Marketing Executive

"My greatest fear is public speaking. I joined a Toastmaster's group to practice this skill and it helped reduce my public speaking anxiety to a manageable level."

Woman looking through computer code

Example #3: The Software Developer

"My greatest fear is making mistakes. To help with this, I triple check my code and try to accept that making and correcting errors is part of the process."

Take Action

We all have fears and we can all find ways to overcome them.

Think about what you can do to combat your fears and do it.

Use your fear and coping strategy as an ally to ace your interview!

Man ripping log in half

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This Byte has been authored by

PB

Paul Borkowski

Helping to make learning easy, accessible, and fun