When you prepare for a job interview, there are certain questions that you know are likely to come up, but you still end up giving the worst possible answer. When this happens, your chances of getting the job often vanish immediately.
“What do you like least about your job?” is one of those questions. But why is it so difficult to answer? At the end of the day, it looks like a harmless question, and the recruiters definitely know that every job comes with some drawbacks.
So, I’ve decided to explain what you should say and, most importantly, what you shouldn’t say when you answer the question, as well as provide you with some examples of effective answers to “What Do You Like Least About Your Job?”
What Do The Recruiters Want To Know?
Every question in a job interview has a purpose that goes beyond its literal meaning. As I just mentioned, the recruiters know that any job has certain aspects that employees don’t like, and therefore, they’re not interested in listening to you complaining about those things.
What they’re trying to assess is your ability to deal with difficult situations while maintaining a positive attitude. They want to understand if you can turn something negative into a positive opportunity, and moreover, they want to know if there is any incompatibility between you and the job you’re applying for.
“I don’t like that there is no ongoing training…” is a perfectly reasonable answer in most situations. But if you’re applying for a small company that also doesn’t invest in any training, this is a huge incompatibility, and your interview will be over.
Lastly, they want to assess if those nice words on your resume correspond to reality. Did you write in the skills section that you’re an excellent team player? Well, if you say anything bad about your coworkers, that would be a bit contradictory.
Before we take a look at some effective answers, let’s talk about a few things that you should avoid saying.
Some of the following tips should be quite obvious, but if you talk to an interviewer, you’ll be surprised to know how many people still slip into these errors.
Avoid these five mistakes, and everything else you say will be just fine.
Saying that there is nothing you don’t like
This is by far the most common mistake that people still make. First of all, it’s not credible, and if a recruiter suspects that you’re lying about something, everything else you say will be questionable.
Secondly, in the remote case that it’s true, why are you leaving such a perfect job? So, be ready to give some convincing explanations if you decide to answer this way.
Complaining about management and colleagues
Are you quitting your job because you cannot stand that annoying colleague that is sitting next to you? Or maybe you think that your manager is playing favorites and he doesn’t acknowledge your hard work even if you are better than anybody else.
In both cases, my advice would be to keep it to yourself. What will the recruiter think that you will say about your coworkers next time you search for a job?
Complaining about something that is a specific requirement of that job
Picture this… you’re a flight attendant, and you’re interviewing for a new airline. If you say that stress is the thing that you like the least about your job, you’re basically telling the recruiters that you’re not a good fit for that role.
Flight attendants work under pressure all the time, and being able to cope with it is a basic requirement for that profession. Nobody likes it, but it is such a big part of your daily routine that it shouldn’t bother you.
Giving a long list of things that you don’t like
The question asks what you like least about the job, and not everything that you don’t like. The answer needs to be centered around only one or two aspects and should provide clear explanations.
Forgetting that you’re at a job interview
We all have one of those annoying friends that like to moan about everything even when there’s nothing to complain about. And when the recruiter asks them this question, they take that as an invitation to do the same, totally forgetting that they’re not having a beer at the pub with their best friend.
Recruiters don’t like a negative attitude, and what they’re looking for is the exact opposite.
What You Should Focus On?
Now that we know what you shouldn’t say, let’s take a look at some ideas that always work great…
Pick something that you’ve been able to change
Being able to adapt to a difficult situation and turn it into something positive is one of those soft skills that any employer loves, regardless of the job you’re applying for.
Let’s go back to the previous example about the lack of training. After you mention that, you can explain that you decided to talk about your concerns to your supervisor, and you managed to prove to him that with some specific training, you could have improved your performance.
Not only did he agree on that, but also he provided you and your colleagues with an allowance and an extra day off to sign up for an online course that turned out to be highly beneficial to both you, your colleague, and the company.
Show a positive attitude
If you talk about something that cannot be changed, make sure you show a positive attitude, and you make clear that you know how important that aspect is for the job.
Nobody likes paperwork, and unless it is the main part of your daily routine, this is always a safe and acceptable answer. However, tell the recruiter that you understand how necessary paperwork is for your profession, and you can add that after a bit of practice, you’ve become so efficient that it doesn’t bother you anymore.
Make your answer relevant to the new job
Let’s imagine that you were working for a small company that couldn’t offer you any possibility to grow. Not only would it be a perfect answer by itself, but you can also add that this is the main reason why you’re applying for the new job in a bigger company that is renowned for giving that chance to anybody who deserves it.
With just a few words, you showed the recruiter your ambition, that you researched the company, and that you have a valid motivation to change your job.
After so much theory, let’s take a look at two sample answers that you can use as a basis to structure your reply.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind while you’re working on it
- Keep it short to avoid sounding like you’re moaning too much
- Focus on the positive aspect
- Prepare your answer in advance and practice it in front of the mirror a few times
- Don’t memorize it, or it will not sound natural
Example 1 – Sous Chef
“The restaurant I was working at is highly specialized in serving pasta and has a very limited menu. The business model was working so well that I ended up preparing the same three dishes all day long. While I enjoyed working there and the staff was fantastic, the job was quite repetitive and couldn’t give me the possibility to further develop my cooking skills and knowledge.
This is also the only reason why I’m looking for a new opportunity. I know that your menu is much more varied and extensive, and that would give me the chance to expand my abilities and pursue my goal of becoming a skilled, well-rounded chef”.
Example 2 – Applicable to any job
” I loved my old job. It allowed me to grow as a professional and as a person.
However, the long commute was taking away too much time that I could dedicate to my family. Every day it took me more than one hour each way, and I was finding it hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance, especially since I became a father two years ago.
Having the opportunity to work in your office, which is just five minutes away from my house, would allow me to have much more energy in the workplace without neglecting my personal commitments”.
But, What About The Other Interview Questions?
No worries, just do a search on the site to prepare yourself for all the potential interview questions you could be asked. Check out my comprehensive guides on How to Answer What is Your Greatest Strength, Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, and how to respond to Why Do You Want to Work Here, as well as Why We Should Hire You in 2023?
I also recommend brushing up on the Best Questions to Ask in an Interview, What to Do After an Interview, and to make the best impression, What to Wear to An Interview.
Plus, if you’re looking for recommendations on some top resources to interview at your best, check out How to Create Positive Impressions, Answering Tough Interview Questions For Dummies, and the excellent, Interview Like A Pro.
Back to today’s topic…
The key to nailing any interview question is being prepared. When you know what the recruiters are looking for and what you’re expected to say, the answer will come naturally.
Today we’ve seen one of the trickier questions that often comes up. Avoid the most common mistakes that too many people still make and show the recruiters that you keep a positive attitude even in a difficult situation. By doing so, you will immediately gain a clear edge over the other candidates.
And if you need some inspiration, take a look at the two sample ways of answering What Do You Like Least About Your Job?.
All the very best with your next interview!