Great things happen outside of our comfort zone. We grow the most when we venture into the unknown, and try things we did not dare to try before. And that is actually something you should keep on your mind when facing this question. Hiring managers want to hear what makes you uncomfortable, but they care also about your attitude to such situations–whether you back down, break down, and hesitate, or you embrace the challenge, try to handle the uncomfortable situation, and walk away stronger and smarter.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers. I purposely included both typical and unconventional answers in my selection. Try to pick one that contains the message you try to convey in your interview, the attitude you want to show. And do not forget to read also my notes below the answers, where I explain some important nuances of a great answer to this one.
7 sample answers to “What makes you uncomfortable” interview question
- What really makes me uncomfortable are difficult technical puzzles. That’s something I had to deal with a lot in my last job of a software engineer. When facing such a problem my head tries to spin, body temperature rises, and I often find it hard to focus on the problem. Having said that, I realize that I become a better programmer with each such problem solved, and that’s why I do not give up. When facing such a challenge, I simply try to break it down to more simple tasks, or take short breaks frequently, or try to solve the problem offline, with a help of whiteboard. Though these puzzles make me uncomfortable, I do not let them to stop me from achieving my goals.
- Speaking in front of an audience makes me really uncomfortable. I think that many of us face this problem, especially the young generation, since we are used to communicate digitally–which is certainly a negative trend. However, I am aware that as a manager, I will have to speak in front of my team, in the meetings, and I will have to be confident in order to motivate the people. That’s why I actually embrace the challenge, and each talk I have in front of an audience–big or small, helps me to feel slightly better next time. Sure enough, I am still a bag of nerves a few minutes before the talk, but I can and will eventually deliver it, and that’s what matters at the end.
- Facing the unknown makes me uncomfortable. Be it at work, or in my personal life, it is never easy for me to do something I’ve never done before. At the same time, however, I have no option than battling this fear. I do not want to spend my life flipping burgers at McDonald’s, or working in some similar place where you do the same stuff day after day. I hope to make something happen with my career. In order to do so, I will face the unknown regularly. And I know that I can conquer my fear, just it sometimes takes me a while to convince myself about it…
- Job interviews make me uncomfortable, especially when I interview for a job I want to get badly, with the company I like a lot–which is the case today. They rightly say that you are nervous when you care. And it is probably the reason why I remained silent when you asked me that question about dealing with ambiguity. Anyway, I did my best to prepare for this interview, and though feeling uncomfortable in some moments, I am still grateful for the change to talk to you, and hope for a good outcome.
- Making unpopular decisions makes me uncomfortable. Just like everyone else, I prefer to have good relationship with people, when they like me as a manager and as their colleague. I always find it uncomfortable to terminate someone’s contract or to make a decision my subordinates won’t like. Having said that, I realize there’s no place for emotions in manager’s work. That’s why I eventually always make the decision, doing the best thing for the company, regardless of what my subordinates will think or say about me. But it certainly isn’t the easiest thing to do.
- Visiting the dentist always makes me super uncomfortable. I typically cannot fall asleep the night before. When I do fall asleep, I have strange nightmares about my teeth being pulled out in a torture chamber, and similar things. However, I know it is necessary to stay healthy, to take care of my teeth. We cannot neglect something important just because it makes us uncomfortable. And I want to stick to this attitude in my job as well.
- Working night shifts one week, and day shifts the next one, makes me extremely uncomfortable. My body just cannot adapt to such changes to my daily routine. And I do not think it is healthy either. It is one of the reasons why I want to leave my present job and why I applied for the position in your warehouse. I know you do only morning and afternoon shifts here, and I look forward to finally having the same routine week after week.
Great things happen outside of our comfort zone
It is completely normal and human to feel uncomfortable in certain situations. You should never claim in an interview that you are comfortable with everything. First of all, it isn’t true, and secondly, it isn’t a good interview answer. Do not be afraid to admit your weakness, talking about situations that make you uncomfortable.
Having said that, you should always elaborate on your answer. Something makes you feel uncomfortable, perhaps a certain decision you have to make, task you have to take care of, a meeting with someone. But you know that great things happen outside of our comfort zone, and hence you will eventually get over your fears or anxiety. That’s the attitude hiring managers seek in the best job candidates.
* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You may face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, using logic, 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 31 tricky scenario based questions (+ more) will make your life much easier in the interviews. Thank you for checking it out!
In some cases the interview is your best answer
A lot of things can happen in an interview. Maybe it is not going so well. You got some tricky behavioral questions, you remained silent, or you said something outright stupid, something you regretted a minute later, but you could not take it back because you already faced yet another question, and had to focus on it.
In such a case, you can use this question as an opportunity to give yourself a second chance. Say that interviews make you uncomfortable. Or particularly this one, since it means a lot to you. And when feeling uncomfortable we make mistakes. You made one when answering this or that question, and perhaps they can give you a chance to answer it one more time…
Even if they do not give you another chance to answer a question you messes up first time over, they will appreciate your honesty. And that will count as a plus for you at the end of the day, when the interviewing panel members sit together and talk about the candidates, deciding who will get the job.
Feeling uncomfortable can be a reason for changing a job
In some cases it makes no sense fighting what makes us uncomfortable. This is true especially for unhealthy things. Maybe you are working in an extremely dusty or noisy place. Or you do night shift or 24 hours long shifts. Or you are forced to work with some dangerous goods, or with extremely stupid colleagues.
Sure enough, it makes you uncomfortable, and maybe it also makes you sick, physically or mentally. In such a case it really makes no sense trying to force the issue, and staying in a job, just because it perhaps pays you well, or has some other advantages.
As long as you explain it correctly in an interview, hiring managers will be satisfied with your answer. What’s more, you can use it as an opportunity to praise their place–for better working conditions than the one you have to endure in your present job…
Ready to answer this one? I hope so! Do not forget to check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:
- What makes you stand out from other applicants?
- Tell us one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want us to know.
- Describe a time when you missed an obvious solution to a problem.