Everyone wants something, and everyone is afraid of something. But we often struggle to admit our fears, and sometimes we even struggle to express our wants. Talking about such things in an interview isn’t easy, not only because job interview itself is a pretty stressful occasion for most people. We try to sell our skills and abilities in an interview, aiming to get a job, and it doesn’t feel natural to talk about our fears, or about our weaknesses…. To sum it up, this is a difficult interview question, and I will try to show you how to answer it in order to improve your chances of getting the job, instead of losing them.
Before we look at seven sample answers, try to remember the following key points. First of all, admit having some fears. Hiring managers do not look for perfect employees, people unafraid of any challenge, people without weaknesses. They know such people do not exist. What’s more, admitting your fear is the first step on your journey to eventually overcome it, or at least to learn to live with it in a way that it doesn’t make your life miserable.
Secondly, elaborate on your answer. Some fears may sound strange to the interviewers, and you need to explain things, saying why you are afraid of this or that, how it impacts you, and what you try to do to overcome your fear. Last but not least, show confidence in your ability to handle the job, in spite of the fear (if it relates to the job, you can pick also something completely unrelated). Keep this principles on your mind while reading the sample answers, and thinking about what you will eventually say in your interview…
7 sample answers to “What is your greatest (biggest) fear?” interview question
- More than anything else, I fear of failing to meet expectations of my parents. Though I know it is wrong, and I should simply try my best to be happy and successful in my career and personal life, regardless of what others want or expect from me, I still haven’t managed to overcome my fear. Because I love my parents, they invested a lot in my education, and it means a lot for them to see me succeed. Anyway, one can look at such fear from different angles. In a way it can also be my driving force, motivating me to give my best to this career and achieve something spectacular in my life.
- My greatest fear is the fear of rejection. I do not like when people reject me, or my offer, and it is one of the reasons why I avoid any job that involves selling. Do not take me wrong though. Deep down I understand that people do not reject me. They reject my offer–whatever it may be. But for some reason–and perhaps my childhood is to blame here, I am afraid of rejection. One day I hope to overcome this fear, because it limits me in my person life as well. Until then though, I am happy to apply for office jobs like the one I am trying to get in your company, jobs in which I do not sell something, or have to convince people to do something as a part of my work.
- My greatest fear is that we won’t stop the climate change. Look, I am still young, just 25, and have all my life to live. But does it make sense to really try hard, or to start a family, for example, seeing the impact we have on the planet, and the consequences of our actions? Extreme droughts, floods, hunger, big storms and tornadoes and other extreme weather phenomenons are ever more prevalent. Will the world exist as we know it, in a hundred years from now? This is my greatest fear, but I try to gain something from it. It motivates me to do what I can–within my limited scope of influence, to help prevent the catastrophic scenarios from happening…
- Speaking honestly, interviewing for jobs is my greatest fear. And you can maybe even sense it now. I do not know why it is the case. Maybe because I care a lot, I really like your company and it would be a dream come true if I get a chance to work here. As they say, we are nervous when we care. But I also believe that the more familiar I will get with interviewing the easier it will get, because it is the case with almost everything in life. And I also hope that my nerves won’t bond my tongue, I do well here, and perhaps even get a job. Not only that I really want it, but it will also mean that I do not have to interview for jobs for some time.
- My greatest fear is that I won’t be able to realize my full potential. I have so many ideas, so many things I’d like to achieve, in both personal and professional life. But life is short and things are not going exactly according to the plan so far. I know, I should not be so hard on myself, because excessive expectations often result in mental health issues, depression, and other unpleasant things. And at the end of the day, we do not have all things under our control, and regardless of how hard we try, certain things won’t pan out. But understanding this, and really living in such a way, are two different things…
- I think I haven’t discovered my greatest fear yet. I am afraid of certain things, spiders for example, or flying, but there isn’t any fear that would bond me, something I’d think about at night, something that would keep me awake and thinking. And I hope it will stay this way for many years to come, because such fears do not help anyone.
- To be completely honest with you, my greatest fear is that I won’t be able to pay my bills, and will end up on the street. Life isn’t easy, life isn’t cheap. I’ve been living on the fringe of society for some time now, and often struggled with bills. Well, I am not the only one, and I do not have problems admitting it. But having a stable job in a place like this should give me some peace of mind, and it will definitely help with my quality of sleep as well…
* Special Tip: This isn’t the most difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, solving problems, and other tricky scenarios that happen in the workplace. If you want to make sure that you stand out with your answers and outclass your competitors, have a look at our Interview Success Package. Up to 10 premium answers to 50 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
Try to end your answer on a high note
Regardless of your fears, and which one you decide to admit in your interviews, try to end your answer with something positive. You can explain how the new job will help you overcome your fears (check sample answers no. 4 or no. 7 as an inspiration), or how you try to transform your fear into something positive (check sample answers no. 1 and no. 3 on my list).
It is normal to be afraid of something, but we can always decide whether we let the fear to control our life, or rather try to overcome it, or transform it into something positive. And while it isn’t always easy, we can at least express our desire to do so while answering this tricky interview question…
Ready to answer the question about your greatest fear? I hope so! But do not forget to check also sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- What are you most excited about at work?
- What would you do differently in your last job?
- Why shouldn’t we hire you?