How To Answer: What Do You Dislike About Your Job?

A job interview is a perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate your suitability for the job. It’s therefore important that you prepare for commonly asked job interview questions. A commonly asked interview question is, ‘What do you dislike about your job?‘. Interviewers ask this question to get to know more about your personality and professional attitude towards your work.

Questions about your work experience in your current or previous positions can be asked in any type of job interview. There are also several other ways interviewers can ask you a similar question, such as:

Learn more about personal interview questions and how to answer them!

This question is considered somewhat of a tough interview question because it asks you for a ‘negative’ answer by discussing what you disliked about your job.

In this blog, we discuss why the interviewer is asking what you dislike or disliked about previous positions. Also, we tell you what you should focus on when answering this question. Furthermore, read more about frequently asked job interview questions here and check our job interview preparation checklist.

Why The Interviewer Asks What You Dislike About Your Job

It’s important to remember that by asking what you disliked about your job, the interviewer is usually not really interested in what you actually liked or disliked. They are trying to get a sense of your character and personality by listening to your tone of voice and attitude with which you respond to this uncomfortable interview question.

Another reason why interviewers are interested in your answers is that they can assess if your work approach, attitude, and work ethic align with the company culture. The interviewer wants to find out if you, as well as the company, are going to be satisfied with you working in the position that you applied for.

In general, the interviewer is 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 and that you’re self-aware.

How To Answer Questions About What You Dislike About Your Job

If you get asked what you dislike about your job, or one of the earlier discussed similar questions, you should give an honest answer while still focusing on incorporating a positive angle.

Interviewers want to assess whether or not they can provide you with the challenges you’re looking for and if you’re going to be happy in the job for which you’re interviewing. It’s therefore important that you carefully choose your words when answering this question. If you were dissatisfied with your work before, it’s possible that you will be dissatisfied again if the circumstances at work are similar.

Don’t underestimate this question and make the mistake of immediately talk about things you did not like; it’s a tricky one. Mentioning too much negative information about previous employers and positions will not lead to the desired result, a positive impression.

Even if your previous or current position is rock bottom for you, don’t badmouth your employer or the position. The interviewer might not know your employer, and you talking negatively could make it seem like a habit to talk down on a previous employer when you’re discussing a job with your probable future employer.

Therefore, when the interviewer asks you about what you dislike about your job, focus on the positive. Make sure the positive parts you mention connect to the work environment of the company where you are applying for a position.

Tips To Prepare Answers To Questions About What You Dislike About Your Job

As discussed earlier, this question is not an invitation to talk negatively about previous employers or positions. It’s important that you understand that the question asks you ‘what‘ you dislike, not ‘who‘ you dislike.

Focus your answers on specific tasks you did not like that you would like to move away from in your next job. However, make sure these are not tasks that you’re required to perform in the position that you’re applying for.

You could, for example, also mention that you disliked some aspects of the work environment or the opportunities for advancement.

How to structure your answer

  1. Always start your answer by telling the interviewer what you like about your job. In other words, start your answers positive.
  2. Follow-up by mentioning what you did not particularly like. Go for specific tasks or aspects of the work environment. Again, keep a positive tone of voice and explain why the position that you’re applying for will bring you what you’re looking for.
  3. Always discuss tasks or aspects of the work environment that you could manage well until you decided it was the right time to make a career move.

Points to emphasize

Now that you know how to structure your answers, it’s time to discuss what you should focus on. Your answers should be tactful, and you should focus on maintaining an overall positive tone.

Next, when you’re done talking about what you dislike, it’s time to focus on the position that you’re applying for. This way, you use this question to your advantage by mentioning aspects of the position that you really like. For example, mention the growth and development opportunities or day-to-day responsibilities.

What To Avoid When Answering Questions About What You Dislike About Your Job

Because questions about what you dislike about your job are considered tough interview questions by most applicants, it’s important that you do not fall into the trap that many others do.

  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. When discussing what you disliked, focus on situations, tasks, and aspects of the work environment, 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.
  4. Ensure that your answer does not leave the hiring manager with the impression that you might be difficult to work with.

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 of a 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. This position perfectly aligns with what I’m looking for, and I believe I can add real value to the team with my skills, abilities and work experience’.

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 the dynamic work environment and daily challenges, 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