The saying to be “to be forewarned is forearmed” comes to mind whenever I think of interviews. There is no such thing as being over-prepared for an interview, which is why over the past week; Ngcareers brought to you a couple of tricky interview questions that have been the bane of job seekers in the time past. Today’s interview question is ‘Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?’ We hope you can learn a thing or two from this post.
The first thing you need to understand about this question is that, from your response, the recruiter will be able to know if you are rude and if you will be able to give a positive answer about a negative experience. They also use this particular interview question to see how well you cope when you’re put on the spot as much as to elicit a truthful answer.
How not to reply to the interview question ‘Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?’
‘Yes. During my internship, my boss was away a lot, which meant I was basically expected to do her job as well as mine, and I was completely overloaded with really boring, mundane tasks. I posted something about the situation on my Facebook page and management could not condone it, so I got sacked.’
Why is this answer messes your chance of the job?
If your response to a bad work situation doesn’t reflect well on you, it’s wise to keep it to yourself. If you have not learnt any lesson from the experience, please by all means, keep it to yourself. You’re not going to get very far if you present yourself as someone who is willing to besmirch an employer’s brand after a bad day in the office. Also, you don’t want to come across as incapable of finding a constructive, diplomatic way of raising concerns directly with an employer, through the appropriate channels.
What is the recruiter really asking?
Recruiters are humans, so they understand that some work relationships don’t always end on a happy note. This question is actually a test of your ability to think on your feet and come up with a diplomatic response.
So how should you tackle the question ‘Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?’
There are two possible strategies here. You could sidestep the question by saying something like, ‘I’ve always got on well with my employers, as I’m personable and a hard worker, and I’ve gained invaluable experience from part-time jobs and summer vacation work over the years.’ The recruiter may query your response, but that’s just a way of checking how you respond to pressure, so smile, be confident and stand your ground.
Or… you could attempt to answer it, but without incriminating yourself or attacking your previous employer, and in a way that highlights your potential. For example: ‘I wouldn’t describe this as a bad experience, but it was certainly challenging and could have been difficult if I hadn’t been able to cope with it. During my internship, my direct boss was suffering from ill-health and was under a great deal of personal stress. It actually turned out well for both of us as I was able to step up and take over responsibility for running the department in her absence, and I even increased the weekly take by 5%.’Interview Question: 'Have You Ever Had A Bad Experience With an Employer? by Stellamaris Obomanu