Have you ever been asked this question during a job interview and felt afterward that your answer was too negative? Interview questions that lend themselves to negative answers can quickly sink a job interview. Applicants should strive to be honest, but not at the expense of a terrible former boss or gossipy former co-worker. Check out the examples below for ideas on how to spin your past job dislikes into present and future heaps of positive experience goodness.
Do not say: I was always so bored at my old job.
Do say: I’m looking for a job that will challenge me and allow me to use more of my skills and abilities.
The word “bored” conjures up images of a lazy employee twiddling his thumbs and playing minesweeper. Instead, focus on words like motivated, excited and ready. Explain that, while you enjoyed your old job, you are motivated, excited and ready to take on new challenges. For example, if you have experience using a certain software program, but that skill wasn’t utilized at your prior position, explain that you are looking forward to a position where you can utilize that skill set.
Do not say: Those people at my old job were crazy.
Do say: Anything else!
It is always best to simply avoid talking about past co-workers during a job interview. Not only is talking badly about people in bad taste, you run the risk of offending one of the interviewers. It is, after all, a very small world. If one of the interviewers happens to know someone you have just called crazy, your chance of getting the job has just gone south. Take the high road and talk about anything else!
Do not say: The money!
Do say: I’m looking for (insert any other benefit besides money here).
It’s all about the money. You, the interviewers and everyone else in the free world knows it is all about the money. Therefore, since everyone already knows this fact, it does not need to be said. It is humorously odd that money is such a taboo subject when it comes to applying for jobs when almost everyone’s main reason for working is to make money. Despite the insanity of it all, do not be the one to buck the trend. Instead, focus on other benefits this job provides vs. your old job. You might say that the longer commute took away from family time and you are looking forward to a shorter drive. You might say that only lateral movement was possible at your old position and that you are looking forward to opportunities for growth. Whatever the benefit might be, keep a positive spin on it.
Using these examples as a guide will help you give a great answer to a very tough interview question. You may have previously had the worst job imaginable, but use it positively to let your potential employer see who you are and what you could become.