Job Interview Question & Answer: What Was Good or Bad About Your Last Job?
Why Interviewers Ask
Hiring managers tend to ask this question to gain insight into your personality and because they want to see if you will give them a negative answer regarding your former employer. They may also want to use your response to gauge whether you would be a good fit for this new position.
How to Reply
“What were the best and worst aspects of your last employer?” is a bit of a trick question that you should consider carefully. When discussing elements of your old job that you liked, target your response to experiences and skills that might transfer well to the new company. For instance, you could discuss how you love to work in a team or to help customers.
If the hiring manager asks you to elaborate on less enjoyable elements of your position, tread lightly. Choose examples that show how the new job improves upon your previous one. You could mention that you don’t feel like the role challenges you enough or that you could handle more responsibility. Even when discussing negatives, try to put a positive spin on your answer.
Responses to Avoid
Though it may be tempting, never trash your former employer when discussing the pros and cons of your last job. The interviewer may assume that you’ll do the same with their company. You don’t want to give supervisors the impression that you’re difficult, but rather that you can make the best of any situation.
Examples of How to Answer Questions About What You Liked or Disliked in Previous Jobs
Having honest, concise answers can be the difference between getting the job and missing out. You can use these examples as a guide, but be sure to tailor your response to your circumstances.
Sample Answer 1 – Cosmetic Store Retail Employee
“While I enjoyed working behind the counter and learning the ins and outs of the store, I feel that this new position would better utilize my skillset. I have a background in cosmetology, and doing makeup is my passion. I can take what I learned from being a cashier and honing my customer service skills to better serve the people I’m helping.”
Sample Answer 2 – Smoothie Shop Sales Associate
“I liked getting to know my customers and telling them about our newest menu items, which is something I can continue to explore with this company. I think the only thing I didn’t like about my last job was the day I accidentally found out I’m allergic to blackberries when I tried one of the new recipes.”
Sample Answer 3 – Pet Store Manager
“When I first started as a sales clerk, I found it frustrating when I had to refer customers to a manager to help with problems rather than handling them myself. I look forward to having the ability and authority to assist clients with their concerns because I find it rewarding when I can solve issues and put a smile on somebody’s face.”
What to Keep in Mind
Remember that honesty is the best policy. Managers don’t expect you to enjoy every single part of your job, but approaching this question with a positive attitude can leave a lasting impression. Practice your answers and have a game plan before heading to your job interview to give yourself the best chance of landing the position.