“Why Shouldn’t We Hire You?” Trick Question or Opportunity to Impress?

You landed a great interview, everything is going well, and then the hiring manager surprises you with the question, “Why shouldn’t we hire you?”

Although this query is not commonly asked in interviews, it is a variation of “What is your greatest Weakness?” which usually makes the top ten lists. With a little bit of preplanning, you can prepare for this question and use it to your advantage.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

According to Richard N. Bolles in his famous book What Color Is Your Parachute?, “The main thing the employer is trying to figure out during the hiring-interview with you, is will you be part of the solution there, or just another part of the problem.” “Why shouldn’t we hire you?” is a ploy to see if you will volunteer some piece of information the interviewer otherwise might have missed.

The question is intended as an obstacle. The hiring manager wants to see if you can think on your feet and work your way out of an awkward situation. In addition, it is a way to evaluate self-awareness. Your potential employer needs to know if you are mindful of your limitations and if you are willing to take the initiative to address them.

How Should I Respond?

Answer Honestly
Everyone knows they have shortcomings, so don’t neglect to answer the question. Or, worse yet respond, “I think you should hire me because I don’t have any weakness.” Also, avoid backhanded generalities such as “I care too much” or “I work too hard.” These responses will make you sound insincere.

Demonstrate an Ability for Growth
Give an example of something you have learned to compensate for. “I tend to micromanage, so often I need to remind myself to step back, trust my co-workers and ask for feedback on my management style.” Or, mention a skill you are working to improve. “I don’t have much practice with public speaking, so I am currently enrolled in a class to gain more experience.”

Stick to Soft Skills
Hard skills, such as lack of training, are more likely to disqualify you from a position. So, veer towards personal characteristics that can be altered over time. Lean toward mentioning skills like introversion, extroversion or perfectionism. These qualities may be considered benefits depending on the situation, and it is possible to keep them in check.

Keep It Short
By default, the response time for interview questions falls within the 20 seconds to 2 minutes range. Even under the best of circumstances, it may be easy to dig yourself a hole. Keep your answer brief but be prepared. The interviewer may ask for additional input, so if necessary elaborate with an anecdote of how you recognized and then overcame a flaw.

Are you struggling to prepare for an interview? The professional recruiters at Aventure Staffing can provide coaching, insight and advice, and there is no charge for those seeking work. Contact us to learn more about finding a job you love!

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