Advice and Examples: What was one question you didn't want me to ask today?
What was one question you didn't want me to ask today?
How to Answer
This question can stand in for the common 'What is your greatest weakness' question. The interviewer is expecting you to be unprepared because it's an uncommon way of asking a question. You may be less scripted than other points in your interview, and the interviewer wants to see how you deal with that.
Two scenarios commonly play out: either a candidate blurts out a weakness, or they pause and respond with something thoughtful. This question gives the interviewer information about you but also a good sense of if you can think on your feet and answer a tough question. Use this as an opportunity to show how weakness can be a strength, or explain something they have not yet asked, but may be an objection to you getting the job. It is then up to you to overcome the opposition.
Remember: it is okay to pause and be thoughtful about your response rather than blurting something out or seeming too rehearsed. Be prepared, but be sincere in your replies.
"That's a tough one. Honestly, I was happy when you didn't ask about my having switched universities and taken longer to graduate, but I do feel it's important to explain. I left the University of ABC when my mom was sick with cancer, and I moved back home to work and attend community college before finishing up my degree at XYZ, in my hometown. Luckily, she is well, and I feel I got a better education at the smaller college and learned a ton in the process about work-life balance and how to manage my time with so many things on my plate."
Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview
"I did not want you to ask me why I am leaving my current job. The company I work for are a competitor of yours, and I do not want to be disrespectful. I will let you know, though, that I am leaving my current company because there are discussions of acquisition and I no longer feel stable in my role."
Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview
"I am comfortable answering most questions; however, I was hoping you would not ask me about relocating to your Denver office. I saw on your website that you have the same opening in Denver and I was wondering if you were interviewing potential candidates to take over that location. I would not want to seem like a poor team player; however, I have a big family all in this area, and I do not wish to relocate at this time."
Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview
"I hadn't wanted you to ask about my proficiency in graphic design and related software, but I do think it's important to address. It's an area for improvement for me, and something I'm actively working on through mentorship programs and online classes, even just YouTube videos and the like. I know that it's an important part of my knowledge base as I continue to move up the ranks in marketing, so it's something I am actively seeking to grow while being fully transparent that I am not a designer."
Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview
"I suppose I did not want you to dig into why I applied three years ago and rescinded my application. I feel embarrassed about it because I thought I was ready to leave my current organization and decided that, to be the superstar I want to be at your company, I needed a bit more time and experience. I know that in these past three years I have learned everything I could need to know to shine here and I can't wait to put those last three years of learning and growth into action."
Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview
"I would say I didn't want to discuss why it took 5.5 years to graduate college, but now I'm bringing it up, and so I'll share. I was working full time while attending college and double majoring. Initially, I was taking the full course load and working full time, then eventually I also switched my major, which added semester. At that time, I hunkered down and upped the course load to 18 hours, which is an overload of credit hours while working full time. So, while it may have taken me longer, I learned a lot both in and outside of the classroom, including time management and upping productivity. I know these are important skills that I bring with me to any position, and look forward to leveraging them on behalf of your organization."
Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview
"That's a tough question! I suppose I rarely enjoy being asked why I am not aiming for a Principal role, considering my high post-secondary degree. The truth is, I am very passionate about being hands-on in the classroom! I do not think that my passions, nor personality, would be well suited for the heavier administration side associated with being a school Principal."
2 Community Answers
Anonymous interview answers with our interview experts feedback
Anonymous Interview Answer
"It's a tough one. I am well prepared for any question; however, if I have to name one question I hadn't wanted you to ask is about my biggest weakness. I always think I am not strong enough when I have to raise an objection or fight back. I am not used to arguing with others, and I use words such as "you might" instead of "you should." I am trying my best to improve and try to be a strong person when necessary."
Rachelle's Feedback for the Answer Above
This is a very honest answer. You show a lot of self-awareness by discussing what makes you uncomfortable. It's great that you also discuss what you are doing to improve.
How would you rate Rachelle's Feedback?
Anonymous Interview Answer
"I was hoping you didn't ask about the time it is taking to acquire my degree. I was having some health issues and needed to dedicate my time outside of work to healing so I took a break from college. I then started a family which required more of my dedication but have still used available resources to reenter college. I currently completed an all lines adjuster certification course with UCF and plan on acquiring my Bachelors degree with related courses that will help my insurance career."
Marcie's Feedback for the Answer Above
Wow! This is a tough question to answer. :) You've done a great job using this challenging question to your advantage, however. Way to use this opportunity to explain an area of 'weakness.' Your explanation about why you haven't finished your degree yet is strong; you also show that you've completed a certification course while raising a family and dealing with health issues. Great response!
How would you rate Marcie's Feedback?