Tough Interview Questions: What Do You Hate Most in Life?

What do you hate most in life?

WOW!!  What are you supposed to say?  “I hate my mother-in-law?”  “I hate this person.”  “I hate that person.”  “I hate what I do professionally?  That’s why I’m trying to become a poet on the side…” There are all sorts of idiotic answers that you can give but, instead, look at it from their standpoint.

This question has to be answered a little bit different depending upon what level in the organization you work.  The theme starts off the same way.

“I try not to dwell on the negative too often.  If you would ask me in a professional context what I hate most, one of the things that frustrates me more than anything (You notice I change from “hate” to “frustrate.”  Frustration is anger internally directed, not externally directed.  It is a subtle shift but you’re switching off the word “hate”) is seeing people I am involved with on a day in and day out basis not putting in their best effort.  That sort of lazy approach to work frustrates the heck out of me because I care a lot about doing a great job.  I figure that if I’m going to take a paycheck, I’m going to provide excellence.  I want my organization to succeed.  I want to do my part in making that happen.  So, when I see someone doing half-assed work or not giving their best, where they are not asking for help when they need it, it frustrates the heck out of me.”  You can get a little bit theatrical here. Here’s where the shift starts to occur.

You start as a staff person, you don’t want to say, “I go to my boss and then tell them, ‘How come they can get away with crap and I can’t?'”  No one wants to hear that stuff.  What you try to do is motivate through your behavior.  You want to encourage people to your behavior.  You want to be the person who isn’t brought down by the others; you want to inspire others.

If you are a manager, the answer might be slightly different.  You want to, again, encourage and motivate but you are also going to be more of an interventionist, trying to cheerlead people into better effort. 

If you’re at a higher level of management, you may talk about systemic problems and trying to route the mail.  Again, it all depends on the level of an organization that you are joining but the theme all starts with, ” I get frustrated when I see people in an organization or people in my department or people on my team who just don’t have the motivation or drive or the excitement about doing their best work.  That’s important to me.”  Then, talk about what you try to do to compensate for that.

Ⓒ 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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