When a hiring manager asks you negative questions, they are trying to get a read on you. How you handle difficult situations says a lot about your character. It can show what you find important. It also shows them what you consider a difficult situation. That will tell them if you are capable enough to work for them. How you deal with the difficult periods in your life will show if you value learning, if you can handle failure, your problem solving skills, if you can lead or work within a team, your critical thinking skills and many other traits. An interviewer wants to know these things, so they will know if you are going to be a worker who will stick around.
Points to Emphasize
When you answer this question, you want make sure to bring up traits that prove you are a good fit for the job.
- Briefly discuss the difficult period in your life.
- Talk about what you learned from that difficulty and how it helped you.
- Express tools you used to make it through the difficult time.
- Also talk about anyone who helped you during the difficult time.
Bringing up what you learned and how you got through the difficult period in your life will show the hiring manager that you can make it through a tough time. This means that you will not shy away from a difficult task.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Just as there are traits you want to emphasize, there are also certain aspects you do not want to bring up.
- Do not talk about emotions. Strictly stick to the facts
- Do not make your answer too negative. Even though you are talking about a difficult time in your life, try to focus on the good that came out of it.
- Try not to put anyone down.
- Beware that you don’t give an answer that is either too vague or too personal.
Keep your answer as positive as you can, and relate it to the job you are applying for.
Here is an example of what a good answer might look like:
One of the most difficult periods in my life was when I had to transition the entire company to a new data package. I knew that there were two outcomes possible, one was good and the other was very negative. I had time to map out the perfect plan. Thankfully, my team was very reliable and we got the job done.
Keep your answer work related, positive and detailed.