When answering what negative comment would your boss or professor say about you, the most important thing is to be honest.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be strategic with your honesty. Many people think this is some sort of trick question.
They answer by saying, “Nothing, my last boss loved me and I was an all-star!” Unfortunately, that is not the correct answer and is not what the interviewer wants to hear.
Nobody is perfect
We all had insecurities as kids, but as you grow up, you should be aware of your faults. This is called maturity. If you act like you don’t have any faults, you may come off as cocky or insecure. The best approach is, to be honest. There is a way you can actually turn this into a positive question! You do this by stating a negative trait, unrelated to the position you are applying for, and explain how you are already working to improve this.
I will start...
Employee: “What negative comment would your boss say about you?”
“Growing up and even into adulthood, I was terrified of public speaking! I have since joined the Chamber of Commerce and have been making a point to speak with as many people as possible. I have learned as long as I practice and prepare, public speaking is not as terrifying as it once was.”
Recent Grad: “What negative comment would your professor say about you?”
“One of my professors commented to me that I should focus my attention on school, instead of always being so active in extracurricular activities. This wasn’t because my grades were hurting; I received an A in this class, however, there were times that I would arrive late, rushing from work to class. After he made his comment, I was able to adjust my work schedule to make sure I was never late again.”
Read more on How To Answer The 16 Most Common Interview Questions.
Check the job description
This question is geared for catching red flags. If you mention any negative traits that are needed to be successful in the position you are interviewing at, you probably won’t get hired! If you state a weakness that does not affect the position, you win in two ways. First, you were honest and second, there are no immediate red flags.
Another mistake to avoid is throwing previous coworkers under the bus! The unfortunate part is a scenario may be 100% someone else’s fault, but you will look like a whiner. Coworkers should only be brought up in a positive light in interviews as this shows you work well with others. This goes for managers and supervisors as well. A common cliché from employees is “My supervisor has no idea what they are doing!” If you state this in an interview, we guarantee you will portray yourself as a “Know it all", and to be honest, nobody wants to hire that type of person.
For more tips on preparing for a job interview, check out Preparing For A Job Interview – What To Bring, What To Wear, & More.
Negative questions stink
We all wish there was a “phone a friend” option when it comes to certain interview questions, but unfortunately, you are stuck with what you get.
Don’t let these questions get in the way of you landing the job! When faced with a difficult/negative question, think about what is really being asked. Most of the time, they are looking for critical thinking and well-worded responses that are full of worthless banter.
Believe in yourself and believe that you are qualified for the job and you shouldn’t have a problem with these types of negative questions.