What Do People Most Often Criticize About You?

How to Answer This Common Job Interview Question

Supervisor scolding a subordinate
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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 poor candidate for the position.

How to Answer

Be careful answering this question. 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.

It makes sense to mention things that are not specifically related to the job for which you're applying. You want to emphasize that the criticism or weakness does not affect your ability to perform the job well.

You might also choose to mention a “weakness” that might actually be considered a strength on the 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.

Sample Answers

  • 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 are 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.