In any job interview, you will be asked about your weaknesses, your failures, and in some cases, your pet peeves. Why pet peeves? Your answer will tell them something about your personality, how you will be to work with, if you fit into the company culture, and so on.
You may have seen some advice telling you to deny having any pet peeves, but in my opinion, that answer will seem obviously false and like you’re avoiding the question. Everyone has things that bother them more than others.
However, just because you tell them a pet peeve doesn’t mean that you should let loose your very real irritation with something that actually is likely to happen on the job. As in all interview answers, it’s important both to show a positive face and to be strategic by delivering an answer that goes one more step forward in selling you for the job.
What Not To Say
For instance, a less-than-strategic answer may be: “I can’t stand team projects.” This may be true (it is for many people), but what job doesn’t require that you work with others in collaborations at least some of the time? That answer doesn’t make you seem independent and self-motivating…it makes you seem like you can’t work with others.
Turn Your Real Pet Peeve Into An Interview-Acceptable Answer
If your pet peeve is people who are know-it-all blowhards who showboat and don’t work well with a team, describing them in that way actually says more about you and your attitude (negative) than them.
Instead, you could say something like, “I am not a fan of negative attitudes, because it’s not productive. If there’s a problem, it’s better to keep a positive attitude and focus on how to fix it.” This answer makes YOU seem like someone with a positive attitude who focuses on solutions instead of problems.
A Positive Answer
Good interview answers to negative questions always focus on your positive qualities and your fit for the job. One good answer might be: “I’m not very fond of people who don’t work hard. If you’re hired to do a job, then it should get 100% of your talent and effort.” If you’re someone with a strong work ethic who’s ever been irritated at a co-worker playing Solitaire or Candy Crush, this would be a good answer for you. (Just don’t mention the specifics.)
**See more great answers to interview questions in How to Answer Interview Questions, available on Amazon.
About the author
Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.
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