Job Interview Question

What is your least favorite managerial task?

How To Answer Interview Questions Series

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With this job interview question, they are trying to get a feel for any potential weaknesses you’ll be bringing to the job, without asking directly about your weaknesses.  Hiring managers are fully aware that you’ll be ready for the ‘weakness’ question, but maybe not so prepared for this one…so they hope they’ll get an honest answer.  Are you irritated by the details?  Are you impatient with subordinates and their issues?

A side benefit for the interviewer is that your answer should also give them an idea of your management style.   Are you task-oriented?  Results-oriented?  Focused on mentoring and developing your subordinates?  What you don’t like will give them a clue about what you do like and how you work.

If you get asked about your least favorite anything that has to do with your job, I sincerely hope you pick something that is a very small, insignificant part of your to-do list!

For instance, for a management role, you’d generally never want to say you dislike meetings (which are necessary for planning), filing reports (upper management needs to know what’s going on), training employees (your job is to make them better), or sticking to a budget. 

Key responsibilities differ greatly depending on the job, so you had better do your homework and know very clearly what your job responsibilities will be so that you don’t inadvertently say the wrong thing.

I once had a candidate say something that he hated that was actually a key part of his job.  Obviously, he didn’t get that position.

So, it’s got to be a small part, and it’s got to be something that everybody can see is distasteful.

Here’s an answer that I would give:

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“For me, my least favorite task has always been firing people.  I hate that.  It doesn’t mean that I would shy away from it if it had to be done, because we all have to do things we don’t like to do for the sake of the organization or the goal,” and you can make that clear in regard to yourself, too.  You don’t like it, but you will do the things that are necessary for the organization to be successful.

In fact, any task you choose as your least favorite should be immediately followed up with an acknowledgment of the necessity of doing even those tasks we don’t enjoy in order to further the continued success of the organization.  This will show your maturity and your professionalism.

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