Tough Interview Questions: Has There Ever Been a Time Where You Haven’t Been Pleased with Your Work?

This is another fun tough interview question and, like most of them, they are easier than they initially sound, but because it’s an interview and we think it’s important.  We kind of panic a little bit.  

Now, you can talk about that time in ‘04 when you were relatively junior and you just knew you didn’t put in your best effort and the results showed.  You can do that.  

You can also do the speech (and this one is my favorite, actually) you can do the speech about, “I’ve got a very active self-critic.  I evaluate myself regularly and most of the time, I can dissect what I’ve done and spot areas for improvement. After all, there are times that I have done presentations for clients and I wasn’t successful.  I didn’t close the business.    

“At times, I wrote code and I could’ve done it faster. But at the end of the day, overall, what I think is true of me is that I did very well, and overall, I’ve done a great job.  My review showed that semicolon my clients liked me . . . “ “

You get the idea. Talk about and suggest being a perfectionist that does regular self-reviews but, in the end, provide yourself with a self-evaluation that you do very good work.  

“You’re invited to a party at the country club.  You are 1 of over 200 people who have been invited.  At the time you walk in the door, more than half the people are there.  How do people react when you walk in?”

Isn’t that a fun one? Except if you are a person of color, of course. The question signals the interviewer is oblivious to your experiences. After all, like with most white people, you probably have not set foot into a country club and if you had, you might experience the shock that others conveyed to seeing you there.

However, what they are trying to find out is a sense of your self-confidence.  So, certainly, the correct answer is NOT, I want to repeat, NOT to say, “No one is going to notice me because of very unimportant.” I will leave it to you as a person of color as to whether or not you want to make this a teachable moment and say, “everyone’s head returned to me as the only person of color in the room.”

What they want in the way of an answer is one that demonstrates self-confidence. 

The correct answer is the honest one. 

“Some people would see me and some wouldn’t.  After all, they are engaged in conversation.  It’s not like I am The Great Gatsby and people stop in their tracks and started dancing around me and music starts playing, and the party swings in my direction!   It’s nothing like that.  There a lot of people would walk over to me and try to get my attention and begin a conversation with me.”

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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