Being asked in an interview about why you don’t like your current position can be a tricky situation to navigate. You want to remain positive but also be honest. We’ll tell you the best way to answer this question while still making a positive impression.
In this article we’ll discuss:
How to navigate being asked about your least favorite parts of your current job during an interview
Examples of ways to format a good response to the question
Tips for deciding what to discuss in your answer
Why do interviewers ask about why you want to leave your job?
Being asked about your least favorite part of your job is not necessarily common practice in interviews, but it happens. So, why do employers ask the question? For the most part, it’s a character gauge.
The reasoning you give will tell the interviewer a lot about you. Do you communicate professionally, even when put on the spot? Are you forgiving and patient when colleagues make errors? Will you reliably keep working through hardship? Do you quit when faced with discomfort? You are essentially telling the interviewer what they can expect from you in your professional demeanor. Because of this, it’s important to be mindful of what you say in response.
If they don’t ask
You don’t need to volunteer information about why you’ve left jobs in the past. In fact, it’s recommended that if the interviewer doesn’t ask what you liked least about your last job, don’t mention it. Instead, remain focused on your personal growth and optimism about moving forward. This is to avoid coming off as though you’re complaining or have any reason for the interviewer to question your work ethic.
How to speak about past employers
One of the great no-nos in interviewing is speaking poorly about a previous or current employer. There will always be some reason for deciding to move on from your current position. But you want to be careful that you don’t complain about your employer when you describe your departure.
If your departure was done in vain, it might reflect poorly on you as a candidate. It could leave the interviewer questioning how you work through conflicts and why those steps resulted in you leaving.
It can also be risky if the new company is in the same industry. Companies that share an industry may have to work together. Even among competing companies, the leaders are familiar and friendly with each other. So, do yourself a favor and keep criticisms to yourself until you have the insight you need.
When asked directly, it is okay to talk about the reasons you want to leave. When speaking about difficulties or shortcomings, you want to put effort into l remaining positive.
Try explaining why the company wasn't a good fit for you. Be specific and open-minded. If the job was simply not a good fit, then do what you can to side-step the question. Be vague and quickly move on to why you’re enthusiastic about the new opportunity. Say something like, “I have a lot of respect for my previous employer and was treated well. I’m just eager to grow in my career and this position feels like a step in the right direction.”
Examples of answering what you like least about a job
Follow these examples when considering how to describe your least favorite parts of your current or previous job.
Notice that in each of these examples, there are three clear points being made:
What you disliked at your previous job
What an ideal alternative is
How it relates to your excitement about applying for this position
“I enjoy my job most when every day looks a little bit different. In my previous job, I performed the same routine every day, and it led to me feeling uninspired. I appreciate being challenged with new tasks that allow me to practice creative problem-solving, so I was excited to see that is an aspect of this job.”
“I perform best when I work as part of a team. I am collaborative by nature, and I believe a group effort can provide the best results. In my previous job, I primarily worked independently. I love receiving feedback and gaining new perspectives on projects, and I was drawn to this position because it has a focus on teamwork.”
“I currently perform tasks for a number of different departments. While I appreciate the diverse set of skills I’ve developed, I’d like to continue growing in a more specific direction. I am looking for a clear focus in my career, which is what led me to apply for this position.”
Examples of common dislikes
There are probably several reasons you’ve decided to leave your job. The following is a short list of common dislikes. Pick one to bring up when asked what you like least about your job.
These dislikes are professional and objective. When describing your specific situation, try to avoid being emotional or too personal. The emphasis of your answer should be how you resolved working with your least favorite part of the job, not to describe the details of the situation.
Unsupportive management style
Lack of professional development
Poor work-life balance
Unhealthy workplace culture
Change in career
Lack of recognition for successes
Running out of room to grow
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Being asked about your least favorite parts of your job is a tool for gauging what to expect from you professionally.
Always remain positive when talking about unfavorable aspects of your job.
If you’re not asked directly, don’t offer up information about why you dislike your job. Instead, focus on where you’re taking your career.