Job Interview Question: What Do You Dislike About Your Job?

This job interview question is of similar nature of ‘What do you like about your job?‘. Only this time, the interviewer wants to hear about what you disliked about your previous jobs. There is, of course, an underlying reason for the interviewer to ask such a question. Therefore, make sure you do not start ranting about an old employer or a co-worker who made your life difficult. This interview question is considered somewhat of a trick question because it asks you for a ‘negative’ answer by discussing what you disliked about your job. So, how do you answer ‘What do you dislike about your job?’ read all about in this blog.

Why is the interviewer asking about what you disliked about your job?

The answer you give to this question can say a lot about you. The interviewer will analyze how you respond to a tough question and the tone of voice you use if you talk about past ‘negative’ experiences. What you say can also give them more insight into your fit to the company culture. The interviewer wants to find out you, as well as the company, are going to be satisfied in the position that you applied for.

In general, the interviewer looking for an honest answer about what you did not like about your job. Therefore, use this opportunity to play into the situation by giving your story a positive angle. If you give this question some thought before the interview and you can discuss a situation right away, this shows the interviewer that you take the interview seriously and that you have self-knowledge.

Other ways of asking the same question are:

  • What did you like least about your last job?
  • Why didn’t you like your last job?
  • What was the worst part of your previous job?

Preparation tips for discussing what you disliked

Don’t underestimate this question and start talking about everything you did not like; it’s a tricky one. Mention too much negative information about previous employers will not make you look good, and you could talk yourself out of a job. To make it more clear: this is not an invitation to talk about people by name or role or even badmouthing your boss. Your overall story should be positive of tone. Show that you can reflect on your own personality and that you can handle situations professionally when under pressure.

Three steps to prepare a situation to answer this question:

  1. Always tell first what you did like about the job; start positive.
  2. Follow-up by mentioning what you did not particularly like. Go for specific situations and still keep a positive tone of voice.
  3. Always go for a situation in which you can describe how you managed it until you decided it was time to make a career move.

Easily made mistakes to look out for:

  1. First and foremost, don’t use a situation that could make you look inflexible. There’s always a chance that interviewers ask follow-up questions. Make sure that you choose a situation that could not lead up to the conclusion that it was actually you that caused a complex situation. For instance, because you were set in your ways or opinions.
  2. Don’t go in on specific co-workers or former bosses. This is not the moment to start talking negatively about people, even though it looks like the question asks this. Focus on situations, not people.
  3. Avoid mentioning something you did not particularly like that’s also applicable to the work or environment of the position that you have an interview for now.

Sample answers to ‘What do you dislike about your job?’

Before you start your answer off about what you disliked about your job, give the interviewer information about what you did like. Think of personal connections, development/growth you went through initially, etc. For instance:

‘I enjoyed my time at the company and the people I worked with. It was an open work environment, and I actually liked coming to work daily. Besides this, the company was active within the local community, which I appreciated.’

Or

‘My years at the company have been good for me, and I learned a lot about working with different systems. Also, some of the projects included working with different departments, which allowed me to develop different types of skills.’

After that, you can follow up with more in-depth information on what you did not like. Think off lack of growth potential, stability issues, not having enough challenges, etc. For instance:

Sample answer 1 (career growth/development issue):

‘I liked the team that I worked in, but I discovered that there was no longer any room for professional development. The company went through a difficult time, and as a result, there were no more funds to further develop employees to push the business forward. My growth as a professional and career goals that I wanted to reach was interrupted, and that’s also the reason that I applied for this job. I’m at a stage in my career where I feel like growth is vital to reach my goals’.

Sample answer 2 (stability issue):

‘The market in which my previous company was active was very fast paced and every year acquisitions would be made. The teams were constantly switching as well as the management. While I liked dynamic work environments, I had three different directors over the last 18 months in which strategies, goals, and ways constantly changed. I’m very focused on my career goals and self-development. I felt like the situation with constantly changing teams narrowed down my window of opportunity to get to a higher level within the company.’ 

Sample answer 3 (lack of real challenges):

‘When I started at the company as a graduate, the company offered me a lot of opportunities. However, after being there for over four years now, I feel like I was not able to work up to my full potential anymore. The projects became somewhat repetitive, and the structure was more or less set in every one of them. Eventually, this led to a feeling that I was not challenged anymore, and there was also no room for promotion. After a talk with my manager, I got the feeling that my situation was not going to change anytime soon. I really enjoyed working there, but I feel like I’m at a point in my career where my skills could be employed better somewhere else. A position in which I can utilize my capabilities more and where I can grow as a professional as well.’

Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers

Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!

  1. Accomplishments
  2. Adaptability
  3. Admission
  4. Behavioral
  5. Career Change
  6. Career Goals
  7. Communication
  8. Competency
  9. Conflict Resolution
  10. Creative Thinking
  11. Cultural Fit
  12. Customer Service
  13. Direct
  14. Experience
  15. Government
  16. Graduate
  17. Growth Potential
  18. Honesty & Integrity
  19. Illegal
  20. Inappropriate
  21. Job Satisfaction
  22. Leadership
  23. Management
  24. Entry-Level & No experience
  25. Performance-Based
  26. Personal
  27. Prioritization & Time Management
  28. Problem-solving
  29. Salary
  30. Situational & Scenario-based
  31. Stress Management
  32. Teamwork
  33. Telephone Interview
  34. Tough
  35. Uncomfortable
  36. Work Ethic