What Do People Most Often Criticize About You?

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Employers ask the interview question, "What do people most often criticize about you?" to find out how sensitive you are and how well you accept criticism. An interviewer might also ask this question as a way to find any “red flags” – qualities that would make you a weak candidate for the position.

Don’t let this question leave you feeling uncomfortable and unwilling to answer. Plan ahead, so you’ll be ready if your interviewer asks about what it is that people most often criticize about you.

How to Answer This Question

This isn’t an easy question so be careful how you answer. You don't want to imply that you are criticized consistently on the job, but you also don't want to imply that you're perfect. But take a moment to realize that everyone is criticized now and then. The interviewer is asking this question to judge your composure and confidence.

When you’re crafting your answer, it makes sense to mention things that aren’t specifically related to the job for which you're applying. You want to emphasize that the criticism or weakness would not not affect your ability to perform this new job well.

You might also choose to mention a “weakness” that might actually be considered a strength on the new job. For example, you might say that some people have said you are very critical of your work, but you can explain that you have a keen attention to detail, and you bring that detail-oriented nature to the workplace.

The best kind of answer will explain how you improved upon a weakness you once had. This will demonstrate that you are excellent at taking criticism and you’re willing to do what it takes to improve your skillset.

Sample Answers to Questions About How You’re Criticized

Take a look at these sample answers, and retool them so they match your job experience and your perception of criticism. Then practice answering the question out loud so you’re ready when the interviewer asks you, “What do people most often criticize about you?”

  • There's no on-going criticism. I'm open to personal and professional growth and welcome the opportunity to improve.
  • One of the things that I am sometimes criticized for is being too much of a perfectionist. I tend to expect very high standards of work from myself.
  • I had a supervisor many years ago tell me that I was too critical of other people’s work. I took that to heart and made sure from that point forward that my analysis and suggestions were  always supportive and helpful rather than critical. More recently, people have praised my ability to give thoughtful and useful feedback.
  • From the time I was a child, I always had a hard time making presentations in a group situation. A few years ago I took several courses in public speaking, and last year I received an award for a presentation I gave at the company’s yearly executive board meeting.
  • If humor is appropriate, this is a good time to use it. However, keep in mind that an interviewer might then press you for a more serious answer, so have one ready. Example: I have a teenage daughter - few things I do are okay on her radar screen.

    Additional Interview Questions About You

    There are a number of possible interview questions that you may be asked during your job interview. Some will be about your previous experience or education, but some will be about you specifically. The interviewer will ask these types of questions to try to determine how well you’ll fit into the company culture.

    For example, your interviewer may ask how you handle a challenge. Essentially, the interviewer isn’t trying to trick you or trip you up, he or she is attempting to judge your critical thinking skills, so think about a challenging situation you faced and excelled at so you can answer the question with confidence.

    Another question about you might be something along the lines of, “What are you looking for in your next job?” While it’s important to answer the question truthfully, try to frame your job desires in a way that meets a need the company has. For example, you might say, “I look forward to utilizing my technical experience to help improve a website, so the users have a better experience and ultimately buy more products.”

    For more information on answering questions like this, review this guide on how to answer interview questions about you.