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Answering Negative Interview Questions

Answering Negative Interview Questions

Author: Laurie Knafo/Wednesday, June 24, 2020/Categories: SNI Companies, SNI Financial, SNI Certes, SNI Technology, Accounting Now, Staffing Now

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During an interview it’s important to put your best foot forward and remain positive, upbeat and optimistic. This is not the time to complain about past job duties, co-workers, or bosses. While you may have the best intentions to stay positive and upbeat during the interview, it can be easy to be thrown off when you are asked questions that are inherently negative in nature. Common negative interview questions include:

  • What did you not like about your last position?

  • What is the worst mistake you have made at work/or a time you failed to reach a target?

  • What sort of person do you find difficult to work with?

  • What is your biggest weakness?

It can be hard to remain positive when asked such questions! Below we’ll go over some suggestions on how to answer these tricky interview questions and turn potential weaknesses into strengths!

Focus on How You’ve Grown
If you answer a question acknowledging a mistake or weakness of yours, follow up with saying what you learned from that experience and how you’ve grown. Focus on the lessons you learned which have better prepared you for the future.

Try to Avoid Using Negative Words
Avoid using words like “hate”, “won’t”, or “don’t”. Try to soften your answer and don’t match a negative question with a negative answer. Spin it into something positive and avoid using any heated language. We wrote a blog about the importance of the words you say during an interview and that is a great reference for this as well.

Stay Calm!
Don’t panic if you’re being interviewed and are presented with a negative question that you didn’t prepare for. Remember the tips above and take a moment before you answer to gather your thoughts.

While some interview questions you encounter may have a negative tone, it’s important to answer such questions truthfully but turn them into a positive answer.

We hope this serves as a good quick reference to remember during your interview prep. There are often at least 1-2 negative interview questions you can expect during your interview so it’s important to remember that the goal when answering such questions is to turn them into a positive answer and show the hiring manager that you would be a great employee.

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Laurie Knafo
Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

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Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

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