How to Answer, ‘What Did You Like Least About Your Last Job?’ Interview Question

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During an interview, a hiring manager might ask the question, ‘What did you like least about your last job?’ to learn more about you. A hiring manager must use certain interview techniques and questions to determine whether you are a good fit for the role. This article explains the best way to respond when you are faced with this question so that you can answer in a way that leaves a good impression on the hiring manager.

Why employers ask,  ‘What did you like least about your last job?’

The hiring manager isn’t just gauging your actual likes or dislikes when they ask this question. Instead, they’re trying to get a better idea of your character based on your tone and attitude to see if you’ll fit in with their corporate culture. There are some great ways to answer this question to give the hiring manager what they’re looking for while remaining honest in your answer.

Surprising ways employers ask, ‘What did you like least about your last job?’

Here are several ways that a hiring manager might ask this question during the interview process: 

  • What did you like or dislike the most about your previous job?
  • What did you enjoy most while you were working in your last role?
  • What did you dislike most about working in your last role?
  • What were the best and worst aspects of your last employer?
  • Why are you leaving your job?
  • What interests you about this job?

A hiring manager might phrase this question in different ways, but they are still trying to learn more about your character and attitude as an employee. 

How to answer, ‘What did you like least about your last job?’

Here are some steps you can take to make sure you answer this common interview question in a professional manner:

1. First, start with an upbeat tone

There are many options when answering, ‘What did you like least about your last job’ during a job interview, but your objective throughout the interview process is to keep things positive. When answering a difficult question, keep your tone upbeat and energized. This shows that you can rise above any negative experiences and answer in a positive way. 

2. Second, focus on the tasks, not the people

Remember that this question is not an invitation to speak poorly about your peers or people from your last position. You should focus on aspects of the job itself. You want to be as authentic and truthful as you can while still being strategic.

Even if you had a bad experience with certain people at your last job, leave the specifics in the past and focus on your future. When answering this question, you could mention how some tasks prevented you from achieving the company’s goals, or how your dissatisfaction with the company came from a lack of flexibility or no opportunities for growth. However, try to keep it to one issue so you can spend more time on the positive aspects.

3. Third, end on a positive note by establishing your strong work ethic

In the last part of your explanation, end with a statement that describes how that aspect of the job you’ve been referring to ultimately prevented you from achieving excellence in your role. By stating the answer this way, you’ll show employers that all you really wanted was to do your job well. 

Example answers to use in an interview

Here’s how you can respond to this question while still presenting a positive attitude:

Example 1: Repetition

‘My last role required a lot of repetitive tasks, which I didn’t enjoy, but were necessary. Since I knew they needed to be done, I sectioned the work so that I could have other projects done in between the tasks. It helped me stay positive throughout the day while still getting all of my work done.’ 

Example 2: Administrative work

‘Administrative work is not something I prefer, because while I’m doing it, I’m being taken away from working with a customer. Since customer service is my strength in the workplace, I reminded myself that it was necessary to complete the administrative work to provide the best overall customer care.’ 

Example 3: Collaboration

‘I generally work best on my own, so at first, the level of collaboration that was required in my last role seemed like a lot. Over time, however, I learned to recognize the strengths that each of my teammates brought to the table and realized that the projects we completed together were stronger because we were working together.’ 

Example 4: Screen time

‘I actually really enjoyed working at my last position but it kept me at a computer more than I would have preferred, which kept me away from other employees and customers. I love how this position offers opportunities to do both, which is why I was so excited to apply!’ 

Example 5: Commute time

‘My current position is great but the commute is just not working out for me after five years. Daily, I spend over three hours commuting and as someone with young children, I feel like I’m missing out on spending time with them. Since this position is only 20 minutes from my house, I’ll be able to spend more time investing in my work, knowing I can make it home for the important moments as well.’