INTERVIEW TIPS - How to Answer “What Do You Like Least About Your Job?” Without Venting
How to answer “What do you like least about your current job?”
“Be honest when answering this question, but brief,” Eonnet says. “Share something that you don’t like very much or wish weren’t the way it was.” Then, spend the majority of your answer focusing on connecting your dislike back to this job. For example, consider “talking about the skill sets you would use to thrive in this position and what you look forward to if you were to join,” Eonnet says.
Let’s go through preparing your answer step by step:
1. Choose what aspect of your current job you’d like to talk about.
Reflect on the aspects of your current position that could be better. Is there something you’d like to do more or less? Is there something about the work environment or the way things are done that isn’t ideal for you? Is there a responsibility at your current job that simply isn’t challenging you anymore? Do you feel stagnant in your professional development?
Don’t go too negative or focus on specific interpersonal problems. Your answer shouldn’t leave the interviewer believing they could be the star of your next gossip session if things don’t go well. Speaking too negatively of your current employer ends up reflecting poorly on you, not the company. If you must vent, save that for your friends.
Here are some of the kinds of job aspects you could talk about:
A task you no longer want to do or want to do less
A type of work you’d like to do (or do more of)
A feeling that you’re ready for more responsibility
A lack of opportunities for professional growth and development
A work environment that isn’t best suited for you
A skill you’d like to learn or knowledge base you’d like to build but can’t in your current role
The industry your current company is in
The kind of client or customer your current role or company serves
The type of company or team you work for (for example a startup vs. a more established company or a larger vs. smaller team)
The kind of communication your current company, management, or team uses
A process or approach that your current team or company uses
A lack of flexibility in how you approach your work
A lack of flexibility in your schedule or where you work
A lack of interaction or community between colleagues
Company or team values or priorities that are different from your own.
Then, look over the job description. What about this job would be different from what you do and where you work now? What drew you to apply in the first place? See where the overlap lies between what you dislike about your current job and will be different in your new job. One way to answer is to talk about a responsibility you’d get to have at your new job that your current role doesn’t offer. For example, if the job you’re interviewing for requires that you deliver presentations to large groups, you could share that you wish your current job gave you the opportunity to flex the public speaking skills you’ve honed at your local Toastmasters club.
Whatever you do, don’t decide to declare your disdain for a duty that’s integral to the job you’re interviewing for. But if you’re having trouble finding something you dislike about your current job that isn’t also part of this opportunity—it might be time to withdraw your application.
2. Frame the negative in a positive—or neutral—way.
No matter what you talk about, always take the opportunity to turn the negative into a potential positive with your new employer.
Instead, you might talk about how this aspect of your current role has taught you something—either in terms of skills or about yourself—or how it prepared you for this job that you’re interviewing for.
So if your biggest gripe is that you haven’t gotten a raise or promotion in years, talk more about how you’ve mastered your current role and you’re ready to take the next step in your career at a company that values your skills and experience—rather than how your current employer hasn’t acknowledged that. If you hate how your current company holds a two-hour meeting about every single thing, you can frame it as a less agile work environment than you’d like and how you’ve discovered that you are more productive in a role where you have more flexibility to manage your own time.
Sometimes, of course, there’s no way around it. You’re in a toxic work environment and trying to frame it positively or even neutrally would be a lie. In this case, briefly state the main issue—no need to get into the nitty-gritty—and quickly move onto what you’ve taken from the job. By pivoting to how your current role was a necessary and informative building block for your next career move, you show your ability to find the silver lining and do what needs to get done.
3. Explicitly connect your answer to the new opportunity.
Don’t forget to tie your answer back to this job directly. Remember how you based which aspect of your job you liked least on what would be different about your current job? Now’s the time to really spell out that difference. Will this role give you the opportunity to focus more on bigger strategies than small details? Will you be able to lead projects or a team? Will the environment at this company better allow you to do your best work? Tell the interviewer exactly how what you disliked about your current job led you to apply here.
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