How to answer ‘Why should NOT we hire you’ in the interview?

Written by: Hardik Jethva

Last Updated: June 13, 2023

why should not we hire you
Young woman talking an interview on a female.

Let’s face it: job interviews can be daunting. And sometimes, just when you think you’ve sailed smoothly through the majority of the interview, an unexpected question arises: “Why should NOT we hire you?” It’s like the interviewer has just pulled the rug from under your feet.

This question can seem like an insurmountable obstacle, but it doesn’t have to be. This blog post will guide you on how to turn this tricky question into a golden opportunity to impress your potential employers.

1 Unraveling the Riddle

Before diving into the strategies to answer this question, let’s first understand why interviewers ask it. The “Why shouldn’t we hire you?” question is a tool interviewers use to test your self-awareness, honesty, and capacity to handle constructive criticism. It also helps them evaluate if you are a cultural fit for the organization and the specific role.

2 Strategy 1: The "Growth Zone" Method

growth zone
Portrait of a young woman giving an interview.

One efficient method to tackle this question is the “Growth Zone” approach. It involves acknowledging a weakness, emphasizing your growth zone, and how you’ve taken proactive steps to improve. By answering in this way, you show the interviewer your dedication to personal development, which speaks volumes about your work ethics and adaptability.

For instance, if your area of improvement is handling high-stress situations, you might say: “In the past, I’ve noticed that I can feel overwhelmed in high-stress situations. However, I’m aware of this, and I’ve been working on strategies to remain calm and productive. I’ve attended stress management workshops and incorporated mindfulness practices into my routine, and these have made a significant difference.”

Example using the "Growth Zone" Method

“One area I’m working to improve is my comfort with giving presentations. In the past, public speaking wasn’t my strongest suit, but I’ve taken steps to enhance this skill. I’ve enrolled in Toastmasters and constantly seek opportunities to practice public speaking in my current role. Even though it is a work in progress, I’ve seen significant improvement, and I’m excited to continue this growth journey.”

This response shows an awareness of a weakness, an active approach to addressing it, and a positive attitude towards personal growth.

3 Strategy 2: The "Skills Acquisition" Method

skill acquisition
A confident woman giving an interview.

This method involves highlighting a skill you’re currently acquiring, which is not critical for the job role. This approach demonstrates your commitment to continual learning and self-improvement. It’s important to emphasize how acquiring this new skill will ultimately add value to your work, even if it’s not directly related to the job at hand.

For example, you could say: “I’m in the process of learning a second language. While this isn’t necessary for the job role, I believe that it will enhance my communication skills and help me connect with a broader range of clients in the future.”

Example using the "Skills Acquisition" Method

“I’m currently in the process of improving my data analysis skills. Although the role I’m applying for is more focused on project management, I believe having an understanding of data analysis could bring additional value. It would enable me to interpret project results better and provide more data-driven insights. I’ve recently started an online course to upskill myself in this area.”

This response illustrates ongoing learning in an area that isn’t essential for the job but can still provide added value, showing initiative and a commitment to self-improvement.

4 Strategy 3: The "Reverse the Question" Method

reverse the question
A businessman listening to candidate's answer in a job interview.

Another approach is to tactfully ‘reverse’ the question, steering the conversation towards your strengths without dismissing the question. It’s a delicate balancing act, but when done correctly, it can make a powerful impression.

Here’s how you might use this strategy: “If you’re looking for someone who isn’t eager to take on new challenges and grow within the role, then I might not be the right fit. I thrive on tackling new tasks, learning new skills, and I’m always looking for ways to contribute more to the team.”

Remember, the key is to address the question without directly negating it and making sure to emphasize your positive attributes.

Example using the "Reverse the Question" Method:

“Well, if you’re seeking someone who is complacent and doesn’t take the initiative to contribute innovative ideas, then I may not be the right fit. I pride myself on my creative problem-solving skills and consistently seek ways to improve processes and contribute to the team’s overall success.”

This response cleverly reframes the question and shifts the focus towards a strength, all while respecting the original question. It emphasizes the candidate’s proactive nature and problem-solving skills.

5 Strike a Balance

One common pitfall in answering this question is either being overly critical of oneself or dodging the question entirely. It’s crucial to strike a balance. An overly negative response might give the impression that you’re unfit for the role, while avoiding the question may suggest a lack of self-awareness or inability to handle criticism.

Try framing your weaknesses in a positive light by mentioning steps you’ve taken to overcome them. This demonstrates your resilience and proactive nature. If, for example, your weakness is time management, you might say: “In the past, I struggled with time management. However, I have significantly improved by using project management tools and applying effective planning strategies.”

6 Keep it Honest

Above all, be genuine. Interviewers have an uncanny knack for detecting when a candidate is being disingenuous. Avoid cliched answers like “I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist.” They’ve been used to the point of sounding insincere.

7 Keep it Relevant

keep it relevant
Smiling businesswoman taking interview of a job applicant.

When preparing your response, ensure it aligns with the job description. For instance, if the job involves teamwork, it’s not wise to say that you struggle with collaboration. Identify a weakness that isn’t a crucial requirement for the job and demonstrate how you’re taking steps to address it.

8 Frame it Positively

A vital aspect of this question lies in how you frame your response. Construct it in such a way that your weakness becomes a potential strength. Show how your area for improvement has led you to develop new skills or understandings.

For example, if you’re not a detail-oriented person, you could say: “I’ve noticed that I’m more of a big-picture thinker. While this allows me to strategize effectively, I also understand the importance of details. To balance this, I make a conscious effort to break down projects into smaller tasks and have incorporated meticulous review stages into my workflow.”

9 Practice Makes Perfect

A young woman practicing for her interview with a paper in hand.

Prepare and practice your response. The more you rehearse, the more natural your answer will sound. It’s not just about the words you speak but also about the confidence and composure with which you deliver them.

10 Final Thoughts

Answering the “Why should we not hire you?” question can be tricky, but with the right mindset and preparation, you can convert it into an opportunity to showcase your self-awareness, honesty, and commitment to personal growth. Remember, nobody’s perfect, and interviewers aren’t expecting you to be. They want to see that you’re a well-rounded, proactive candidate who can navigate challenges and continuously strive for improvement.

So, the next time you’re faced with this notorious interview question, don’t see it as a stumbling block. Instead, view it as a golden opportunity to shine, standing out as a candidate who is not only aware of their weaknesses but also actively working to turn them into strengths. After all, the journey of self-improvement is a lifelong one, and this question is the perfect chance to demonstrate your commitment to that journey. Also, for more practice tips, check out our blog on how to crack an interview. We wish you all the best!

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About This Article

Hardik Jethva
Written by: Hardik Jethva author

Hardik Jethva is an experienced author of the BestCheck family. Working from scratch, he has developed an amazing interest in testing and writing about different products in a transparent manner. His writing skills got more audience for BestCheck. Apart from his professional life, Hardik has his eyes on travelling, meditation, eating healthy food, socializing with people, and car rides.

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Updated: June 13, 2023
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