If your interviewer asked you something like, "What did you like least about your last job?"

How would you respond? Probably not like this.

Christina Aguilera is sitting in a chair and is excitedly waving her hands in the air looking happy

Rather it might stump you because it's an awkward question. You might need to think about what they're even asking. This is the type of question you need to prepare for so it doesn't find you speechless.

Dwight from The Office is holding a clipboard and looks confused

Why Do They Ask This?

They want to know if you'll be a good fit for the position. This question lets them know what kind of work you enjoy most.

If you say, "Things were repetitive and I didn't have enough challenges," they may wonder if they'll be able to keep you challenged in this new position when some of the tasks are repetitive. Alexis from Schitt's Creek is folding her hands under her chin and listening

Employers are looking for your attitude and integrity. Are you bashing your previous employer? They may think you're a gossip. Stay hopeful and use this as an opportunity to highlight what you do want in a job.

Reflect On Your Prior Job

Reflect on your past job. What did you dislike that you can change or avoid?

Examples of Changeable Elements:

  • Work style: Need a more active job? Prefer to sit at a desk all day?

  • Company size: Were there too many employees? Not enough employees?

  • Commute: Would you rather work from home? Was the commute too long?

  • Culture: Was there too much office gossip? Lack of team building events?

  • Industry: Need a whole new change? Ready to switch careers?

What do you want out of your new workplace? Identify elements you'd be happy with at your new job. Check job descriptions and the company's website to learn about their culture to make sure it's a good fit. Moving clip of a man being interviewed with subtitle

Turn Negative Into Positive

Avoid saying anything negative about your prior employer, coworkers, or company.

Instead, keep it professional, and turn your struggle into a positive. Be clever in your answer. Show what you value. Always end with a strength. Yellow smiley face on an orange-red background meditating, with the words

Negative

  • "The work wasn't challenging enough and I was bored."

  • "The culture was too strict and people were distant with each other."

  • "There was no room for growth in the company."

  • "There was a lack of flexibility in the workplace."

Positive

  • "I'm excited to take on more responsibilities."

  • "I love that you focus on close working relationships in a casual environment."

  • "I'm grateful and ready to be a team leader."

  • "I'm happy to work remotely and overtime when needed."

Quiz

Jack is interviewing for a learning consultant position. He left his company due to a lack of positive culture and a micromanaging boss. He's asked what he liked least about his last position in an interview. How should Jack respond?

Practice Your Answer

Want to nail this curveball interview question? Practice! Practice doesn't make perfect, it makes confident.

Young man is walking and brushing his shoulder off in a confident way

Here are some example answers:

I enjoyed the work, but I appreciate that you offer a more flexible, casual environment with remote opportunities.

My last job gave me a great foundation of skills, but I'd be more satisfied with a leadership position.

My previous job was a great entry-level position but after 3 years, I'm eager to take on more mid-level responsibility.

Take Action

You're ready to take on this curveball interview question! Practice your answer and go land that dream job! Man is holding mug that says

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This Byte has been authored by

LM

Laura Mintert

Learning Designer