Tough Interview Questions: Tell Me About A Crappy Job You’ve Had

Tell me about a crappy job you've had

This tough interview isn’t a tough one but you have to understand how not to hurt yourself in the interview and how to address this one well.  

This question should not be answered by reflecting on a job that you had when you are an adult.  The best way to answer this is by talking about something that you did as a teen, something that you didn’t care for, and the lessons that you learned from that job.  

For example, if you went back to that time when you were a teen boy and spoke about working construction or were an assistant on a UPS truck.  Or, in my case, a job that I had at the New York City Department of Finance as an intern, moving boxes all day.  You may talk about that time at the nail salon where you were dealing with all the chemicals… whatever it is, the simplest way to answer is by addressing the lessons learned and talking about your appreciation for the value of education and for the circumstances that you have.  

After all, some people do the kind of work day in and day out.  It is a self-reflective type of answer, rather than spending a lot of time talking about how awful it was there.  If you go down that path, all that does is make yourself into a complainer or a whiner.  That is not the goal here.

The goal is to quickly describe the situation that you found yourself in here and that you learn that there are people who have it worse than you in life.  You may talk about volunteering in a third world country.  Maybe you did with missionary work there; you loved helping but you had a chance to see how hard life is for some.

Whatever it is, just think in terms of being AND appearing self-reflective as you answer.

This requires a certain amount of good preparation for you because it will help coalesce your thoughts and opinions of this firm before the interview. You may be on a second or third interview. Each interview, you probably have spoken with different people or different groups of people that give you impressions about the job and the organization. You may have visited the website at some point before the interview.

Answer by starting with an overview of the position as it is been discussed with you. When you get to the end of your description, pause and say, “Have I described it accurately because if I haven’t, I want to get the correct description of the position.”

Then talk about each of the people you’ve spoken with so far, what your sense of the personalities is and how they presented themselves to you ALWAYS IN COMPLIMENTARY TERMS, of course. Speak about the firm, what it’s standing is in its industry, what it does. That will come from the website and any other research that you’ve done.

Ⓒ 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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