What Negative Thing Would Your Last Previous Say About You

LiveCareer Staff Writer
by LiveCareer Staff Writer

Answering interview questions is an especially daunting challenge. The can be intimidating or just plain confusing. One of the most difficult questions to answer is “What negative thing would your last boss say about you

At first, this question does not seem to have a correct answer. You may feel that your options are either not to answer the question or to hurt your chances of being hired. It also seem like you are being threatened with a call to your last boss. In actuality, the interviewer is not very interested in your shortcomings, but they are interested in how you answer a difficult question. You should stay collected and reasonable.

Points to Emphasize

Follow these tips to make sure the way you answer is proper. This is important because your actual words do not matter as much.

  • Be confident and open. Show them that you are not embarrassed to discuss an awkward situation.
  • Welcome improvement. Take this opportunity to mention that you are working on whatever your answer is. It makes the shortcomings seem less significant and it shows you are take criticism under review.
  • Be honest. You might want to give them an answer you think they want to hear. This will backfire on you because what they really want is a truthful answer.
  • Show them that you are a reasonable individual with a healthy self-reflective attitude.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

This is an especially easy question to give a bad answer. These are the common mistakes that many people make.

  • Do not refuse to give an answer. Saying you cannot think of a negative thing makes it seem like you are either embarrassed, prideful, hiding something, or unable to improve yourself.
  • Do not say something positive disguised as a shortcoming. I work too hard” or “I care too much about my work” are not real answers.
  • Do not pick a serious weakness. Your answer should not actually interfere with your ability to do your job.
  • Avoid rushing your answer. It communicates discomfort or embarrassment.

Sample Answer

When answering a question about your shortcoming, you should be personal and specific. The following is just a generic sample answer.

I am not a very strong public speaker. It very rarely came up at my previous job, but that was not a strong point for me. I am practicing my public speaking skills, however, and I am taking a public speaking class as well. I hope to become better at addressing crowds very soon, even though it is not a skill that directly affects my work with this position.

About the Author

LiveCareer Staff Writer

At LiveCareer, we live and breathe the belief that we can help people transform their work lives, and so do our contributors. Our experts come from a variety of backgrounds but have one thing in common: they are authorities on the job market. From journalists with years of experience covering workforce topics, to academics who study the theory behind employment and staffing, to certified resume writers whose expertise in the creation of application documents offers our readers insights into how to best wow recruiters and hiring managers, LiveCareer’s stable of expert writers are among the best in the business. Whether you are new to the workforce, are a seasoned professional, or somewhere in between, LiveCareer’s contributors will help you move the needle on your career and get the job you want faster than you think.


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