Be careful on answering what you ‘didn’t like out your last job, company, employer, etc. You don’t want to come off negative.
This question is somewhat of a trap, because it asks for a negative answer. If you haven’t given it some thought, you may blurt out something about your boss or the company, and talk yourself right out of a job. One of the purposes of the question is to find out if you are going to be satisfied in this job. If you were dissatisfied before, you may be dissatisfied again if the circumstances are similar.
Three candidates answers:
Roopal – “I didn’t have enough challenges. After a while, all the projects became repetitive and the same. I thrive on challenge.”
Interviewer’s thoughts – “A lot of the tasks here are repetitive. What makes her think she will like it here any better? Will we be able to keep her challenged?”
Kevin – “Lack of stability. After three company acquisitions, I had five bosses in three years. I couldn’t take it any longer. What I am looking for is stability in a job and company.”
Interviewer’s thoughts – “While our company is stable now, there are no guarantees about the future. This guy sounds like he may have some burn out and flexibility issues.
Barry – “In my last job, my boss was overbearing and wouldn’t let me do my job. If she didn’t like they way I was doing something she’d criticize me.”
Interviewer’s thoughts – “Could he work with me as a supervisor? How would he react if I had to critique his work? He sounds like he could be a problem to supervise.”
When you answer the question, it is best to focus on tasks rather than talking about company politics or people.
“I’ve given this question some thought, and overall I have been very satisfied with my jobs. I’ve been able to work with some really interesting people. I have to admit that I did have a job where there was an inordinate amount of paper work. Because working with people is my strength, the paper work really bogged me down at times.”
Notice the word “inordinate” Not normal paper work, but unusually large amount, keeping you from doing what you do best: working with people.
Make a list of the times in your past jobs when you have been dissatisfied; times when you didn’t look forward to going to work, when you “hated” what you were doing. Was it the nature of the work or the office environment that were making you dissatisfied? Spend some time looking at your list for patterns. Are there some projects that recur on your list; some situations that you don’t want to get into again? This exercise will help you identify areas to watch for and to ask questions about during the interview.
“What percentage of this job will be travel?”
“What are some of the specific tasks and responsibilities of this job?”
When you can identify the factors that give you job satisfaction, as well as the factors that were unpleasant or tedious for you, you can determine if this is the right job for you. It is a known fact that people perform best when they are doing something they enjoy. Thinking about the answer to this question is an opportunity for you to identify what you want – doing the things you like to do best, as well as what you don’t want.
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