job interview

Interview Questions:

Which elements in your last position did you not enjoy?

When asking this question the interviewer wishes to learn which aspects of the job were of less interest to the interviewee. This is a challenging and tricky question because the applicant is asked to specify the negative sides of his / her job.

We recommend you practice answering these questions with a friend
  • Answer with confidence.
  • Avoid being hesitant or sarcastic.
  • Refer to elements that are of less relevance to the position you are applying for. For example, a marketing manager may state that he did not enjoy the paper work. This element is bound to be a part of his future position but it is not a fundamental one, as opposed to holding negotiations and dealing with potential customers.
  • Present issues that you did not like or enjoy, but be selective.
  • Present issues that their influence on your general performance is minimal.
Questions which ask the interviewee to disclose negative aspects in general are challenging.

Example A:

In an interview for a Research and Development department position in a Hi-Tech company, Matt is asked, "which aspects of the job did you not enjoy in your last position?"

Matt: "It's only natural that I didn't like everything about the job, isn't it? I think the company situation in general was poor. I think the company was mismanaged. I didn't enjoy working with my colleagues too much and the relationships with upper management wasn't very good – they weren't attentive to developments in our department."

Matt's attitude is too critical. He is disrespectful of his colleagues and management. This may portray Matt as someone who has difficulties accepting authority and/or working with others. The issues Matt presented were fundamental rather than minor or superfluous. Matt disclosed his inability to accept upper management decisions and difficulty to communicate with them. In the worst case scenario, this could disqualify Matt or at best lead the interviewer to discuss Matt's issues further.

Example B:

Rebecca applied for a leading accountant position in a large firm and is asked by the interviewer, '"which aspects of the job did you not enjoy in your last position?"

Rebecca: "I didn't like the last few months at work. I felt as if there was a glass ceiling over my head, preventing me from progressing. Everything bored me, I could not foresee a future and I could not find a suitable position to aspire for."

Instead of concentrating on a specific instance which was somewhat difficult, Rebecca discloses that she had significant issues at work. She says she had problems handling routine. The interviewer can interpret it as an inability to cope with frustration, routine and unpleasant situations. This can fail Rebecca. Rebecca is describing a situation in which she was bored at work yet the company management could not find her a more suitable role. The interviewer may conclude that she was not promoted due to poor performance.

Example C:

During an interview for a sales manager position, Jane is asked, "which aspects of the job did you not enjoy in your last position?"

Jane: "I did not like those occasions in which we did not meet our targets. Also, I don't care for paperwork too much. I really enjoyed meeting my targets."

Jane, portrays a balanced picture. She tells of difficulties that are reasonable to have in any position. These difficulties do not impinge on Jane's abilities as a sales manager. Jane discloses information on areas of work which she did not enjoy as much, but these areas do not expose any significant weaknesses.


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