Job Interview Questions

What are your pet peeves?

How To Answer Interview Questions Series

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Why would they ask about your pet peeves in a job interview?

They can actually find out quite a lot about you by what you choose to say when you answer this question:  Do you get irritated easily?  (How long is your list?)  Will you be a good fit for their company culture?  (If you hate being micromanaged and they’re very focused on being ‘involved’ with employee projects, then chances are, you won’t.)

I’ve seen some articles that say you should say that you don’t have any pet peeves, but I don’t agree with that.  Everyone has things that irritate them more than other things.  You can downplay your irritation (the interview is not the time to go into a Lewis Black-style rant, for sure), but if you say you don’t have one, it just sounds false.

So I think you should tell them one.  As in all your job interview answers, it’s a good idea to consider what you’re going to say before you say it to make sure it works for you and not against you.  Obviously, make sure that your pet peeve isn’t something you would run into every day on the job—like, you can’t stand team projects when the job is going to require that at least 30% of the time.

A stressed out woman!

The words you use to answer will say as much about you and your attitude as they will about what your actual pet peeve is.  So if you say, “I hate blowhards who are all talk and no action. They’re also the ones who usually don’t pull their own weight on team projects.  I hate that, too.”  That reveals you as someone with a temper, a negative attitude and a tendency to make assumptions about others.

For instance, I might say, “I don’t like negative attitudes.  It doesn’t help anyone, even the person who’s being negative.  If there’s a problem, they should focus on how to fix it.”  That says that I’m someone who’s focused on solutions rather than problems.

Or I might say, “I don’t like people who don’t work hard at their jobs.  I believe that if you’ve been hired to do something, you should put 100% of your talent and effort into it to be successful and fulfill that contract you’ve created with the employer.”  That’s an incredibly positive answer that speaks to your work ethic.

A great answer will say something positive about you and add another reason to hire you.


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