How to approach negative questions in an interview?

17th Feb 2019
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How to approach negative questions in an interview?

Negative questions are a common element of many interviews. When asking them, employers aren’t looking to catch candidates out. They are simply looking to see if you have the capacity to reflect back on your past experiences, learn from them and improve yourself.

You can use these questions to show that you are genuine in your responses and are reflective as a person. You need to be ready for the negatives and see them as an opportunity to prove that you can be honest and open in your answers.

For example, the employer can ask you to tell them about a time that you didn’t communicate well or when you were involved in a team that didn’t work together.

The key for these questions is that you give an honest example but spend your time talking about what you learned from this example. And show them that you’ve applied that learning since.

You should pick examples that we’re genuine moments of learning for you. Key moments in your career where you realized you had to improve, how you improved and how you have successfully implemented these changes.

For example, when working with graduate recruiters we often find that they want to know about times that graduates have had an issue with communicating. A sample answer might involve a presentation that didn’t go to plan and what they learned from it.

In this scenario, the graduate would go into detail about what happened during the presentation and what they did to resolve it for future presentations. For example, stress the reason it didn’t go well because they got unexpectedly nervous. Therefore, they learned to practice and handle their nerves and went on to give several successful presentations in the final years of college.

This answer would show an openness to discussing failure but quickly moves on to how they learned and improved.

The above really only scratches the surface of what you need to prepare for an interview. The Communications Clinic offers tailored one to one interview preparation sessions to help you get over the line and secure the job you want. We put you through an interview, record it, assess it and make you better.

If you call us or email us on and mention you read the above article we can book you in for an Interview Preparation Session for a reduced fee.