What Is Your Greatest Fear?

Job Interview Question & Answer: What Are You Afraid Of?

The Point of the Question

Interviewers ask “What is your greatest fear?” to gauge workers’ strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. The answer should relate to the workplace and focus on obstacles job seekers face. When replying, potential hires need to emphasize how their fears define their work ethic.

Avoid Negative and Unnecessary Responses

Being scared of heights or gaining weight says nothing about a person’s job performance. Furthermore, applicants who state that they fear working too much or failing can cast themselves in a negative light. Interviewees who spin answers into learning experiences look good to hiring managers.

Highlight Concepts that Relate to the Job

Those who draw fears back to employment are more likely to be successful in the interview process. For instance, candidates may talk about how they dread not living up to their own expectations or not having a strong work ethic. Responses such as this are relevant to a job and indicate a thoughtful employee.

Example Answers

Read the samples below for an idea of how to answer the job interview question “What are you afraid of?” Keep in mind, replies should be unique to the candidate’s experience. Do not try to memorize these prompts or create a false response.

Sample Answer 1 – Customer Service Representative

“My greatest fear is getting sidetracked when it comes to meeting my career goals. I am a driven person, but I know how easy it is to get distracted. I strive for success and worry about letting things get in the way of reaching my full potential.”

Sample Answer 2 – Fast Food Worker

“I’ve always feared losing one of my parents. Growing up, they taught me the value of hard work. Both worked at restaurants and showed me how important it is to respect others and try your best at everything in life. My mom and dad are the reason I’m so ambitious.”

Sample Answer 3 – Retail Salesperson

“I am most afraid of talking in front of large crowds. I would clam up and get nervous when making presentations at work or school. To cope with my anxiety, I took a couple of public speaking classes. The practice helped me a lot. Now, I can speak to people in groups or one-on-one, which has made me a better worker.”

To Remember When Answering “What is Your Greatest Fear?”

Each of the above samples turns fears into something positive. Also, it was clear that these concerns might help employees fulfill job duties, or make them assets to the staff. Consider how to answer “What is your greatest fear?” ahead of time so the interview isn’t too scary.

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