What Did You Like Least About Your Last Job? And Other No-Win Interview Questions

You’re going to get asked them. But how do you turn an interview around when you’re asked a question that has a no-win answer?

Tom McNeil, President of executive resource company MDL Partners, recommends that you avoid the trap and do not answer in the negative. Turn the question around by focusing on the positive, and limit your answers to discussing tasks, rather than the company you are coming from or the people there.

What did you like least about your last job?

“Remember that one of the purposes of this question is to find out if you’re going to be satisfied in the job for which you’re interviewing. Don’t talk yourself out of a job,” McNeil explains. “Don’t project the attitude that your dissatisfaction might transfer to this new company and group of people.”

If you note that you didn’t have enough challenges at your last job, the interviewer will wonder if this new position will provide you with enough challenges too. If you mention lack of stability, your interviewer will be wary because he knows that in any company there is no way to predict the future. If you mention that your boss was overbearing your interviewer will wonder if you are difficult to supervise.

So how do you answer this and other no-win interview questions properly? By being prepared.

“If you think about these questions before they are asked, you will have time to construct a well-crafted reply” notes McNeil.

Some other no-win questions to be prepare for:

  • What makes you better suited for this job than any other candidate?
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • Tell me about the worst boss you ever had.
  • What is your dream job?
  • Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Each of these questions presents its own unique opportunity to put the interviewer off. Put some time into thinking though your own answers to these questions, and practice those answers before you even get to the interview. Make sure that your answers positively project the most important traits that an interviewer is looking for in a new hire: enthusiasm, likeability, credibility, transferability and insightfulness.