“Why Shouldn’t We Hire You?” Trick Question or Opportunity to Impress?

One of the more difficult interview questions you may be asked is, “Why shouldn’t we hire you.” Instead of being caught off-guard by such an antagonistic question, follow this advice to handle it professionally and impress your interviewer.

Why Would an Interviewer Ask Such a Question?

Before we discuss how to respond to this question, let’s explore the reasoning behind asking it in the first place.

This question is essentially a more antagonistic version of, “What are your weaknesses?” Understanding that, the question doesn’t seem so unusual for an interview setting. Interviewers use this more challenging version to see how you react when you’re in a pressur situation. Can you stay calm, honest, and professional?

Now that you know that your interviewer isn’t being unreasonable, here are three ways you can respond to this tricky question while being honest, professional, and even confident.

  1. Emphasize a Strength

Use this opportunity to mention a strength that works within a specific company culture or work environment. This particular strength might not work in every office or setting, so it may also be seen as a weakness.

For example, you can respond this way:

“You shouldn’t hire me if you are looking for someone who thrives in an environment where management strictly prescribes how to perform each task. I work better when I’m given general guidelines and am then allowed some leeway regarding how I would carry out that task.”

2.Focus on a Personality Trait

Another way to answer this question is to focus on a personality trait that may be welcomed in one work setting, but not another. Introverts and extroverts can both be qualified and productive workers and leaders, but some job positions are better for one or another.

For example, you could say:

“You shouldn’t hire me if an extrovert wouldn’t fit in well at your company or in this job. I thrive on interaction with colleagues and customers.”

3. Be Honest

It is well known that every single person has a weakness. Interviewers know that, managers know that, CEOs know that and so should every job candidate. Therefore, avoid telling your interviewer that there is absolutely no reason they shouldn’t hire you because you’re perfect. Even if you give a small weakness, tell them something.

For example, you can give an honest response like this:

“If you’re looking for someone to lead meetings, then I’m probably not right for this position. I’m better suited to be an active participant in meetings than to lead them. But I really shine in execution. A meeting generates a lot of great ideas, and I am great at following up on those tasks and completing projects in general.”

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