Main image of article 'What Didn’t You Like About Your Last Job?'

There might have been a lot of things you didn’t like about your last job: the over-reliance on a particular technology or methodology, the management structure, even the coffee. Actually telling a prospective employer about those hatreds, however, can carry some risks. Some job interviewers make a point of asking candidates what they didn’t like about their previous (or current) positions. The reasoning behind such queries is simple: If the candidate hates something that’s present within the prospective employer, it could indicate a potentially imperfect match. If a company's development teams rely on Agile, and the engineer who's interviewing seems to despise the methodology (despite its popularity), that could become a problem. So what’s a tech pro to do? On one hand, you can’t lie—when it comes to interviewing, honesty is usually the best policy. On the other, you don’t want to lose out on a job simply for expressing a personal preference—especially if it’s over something you can live with, even if you dislike it. As with other tricky questions, answer in a way that puts a positive spin on your previous employer. Did you dislike the development methodology at your previous job? Say so—but also talk about that methodology’s potential strengths, and how you did you best to adapt to the system despite your feelings. If management was an issue, walk through the steps you took to make things easier in the office for everybody. It’s also important to not use the question as an opportunity to rail against your former employer. Sure, you might have had issues, but ranting about everything your old company did wrong may give an interviewer the wrong impression of you.