Interview is a sales talk, in which you try to convince the employer about one thing: to hire you. Only a silly person would reveal their weaknesses. Only a stupid job candidate will purposely tell the hiring managers anything that can be a showstopper. At the end of the day, recruiters and interviewers are paid for uncovering your strengths and weaknesses. So why would you help them with the second one?

But life’s not black or white. In some cases, they may directly ask you to tell them a reason why they should not hire you. In my opinion it’s a silly question, and hiring managers who use it do not know what they are doing.

Stupid or not, you may face it in your interview, and it is better to prepare for it in advance. Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers. Our list includes some common choices, as well as some creative ways of answering the question, catching your interviewers off guard, while they initially tried to achieve the same thing with their odd question…


7 sample answers to “Why shouldn’t we hire you?” interview question

  1. Well, you shouldn’t hire me if you are looking for someone who blindly obliges each rule in the company. I am not that sort of an employee. On the contrary, I like to challenge the opinion of my superiors, and I never hesitate to provide constructive criticism on the work of anyone in the company. Of course I also embrace such a criticism. Striving to improve in everything I do, this is my attitude to communication and hierarchy in the workplace. If it’s not something you are looking for, you better hire someone else.
  2. To be honest, I do not see a single reason why you shouldn’t hire me. I tried to find a good match in the job, and I believe to meet all job requirements. But I also understand that my perspective is limited, and maybe my ego speaks through. You are talking to me here, you’ve been asking many questions, and I am sure that you are skilled enough to assess both my strengths and weaknesses. If there’s any reason why you shouldn’t hire me, you are for sure aware of it by now.
  3. Maybe you shouldn’t hire me because I lack experience with the job. So if you are looking for someone who will excel from day one, someone who did the same work before, I am not the right candidate. But if you prefer someone young and eager to learn, someone motivated and passionate about the field, someone you can to train and lead in work, and someone who has a potential to become really skilled in the job, then perhaps I am a good choice.
  4. Well, I have my weaknesses, just like any other person in the world. I am not exactly punctual, and I am sometimes shy in conversations with other people. You know the company culture better than I do. If it is essential here to arrive always at 8 exactly, and to be a talker in the meetings, then maybe you should look for someone else. But if what matters to you is meeting deadlines, and perhaps you miss some good listeners in your team, I can be your candidate.

* May also interest you: Tell us one thing about yourself you wouldn’t want us to know.

  1. You shouldn’t hire me if you thrive in competing with other companies from the area. Because if you decide to not give me a chance, you can be sure I will try my luck with one of your competitors. And while you are my first choice, and I would love to work here, if I am rejected I will try my luck somewhere else. And since I want to try my very best in this work, and acquire new clients for my employer, and have a lot of experience under my belt, you can be sure that the quality of your competition will improve–if you do not hire me, if I have to seek employment with one of your competitors.
  2. Well, if you are asking the question, if you did not find any reason for not hiring me up to this point, then probably there’s no such reason. And I am sorry but I cannot help you either. I like the company, I consider it a good match for both my skills and personality, and see no reason why you shouldn’t hire me.
  3. If you are afraid of your position, if you try to protect your job, then you probably shouldn’t hire me. Because I can assure you that my ambitions are high. While I definitely want to start from the bottom and learn how everything works in this retail store, I also plan to stay long with the company. A job of a store manager, or perhaps even an area manager is my dream job. So if you do not plan to progress yourself, you shouldn’t hire me, because I hope to be on your place one day, managing this store.


Every hiring manager enjoys to hear some words of praise

You can use this question as an opportunity to praise the interviewing skills of the hiring managers. Tell them that if they cannot see the reason on their own you won’t help them. Because they are much better than you, when it comes to considering someone’s strengths and weaknesses, to assessing if someone is a good match for the job. Check sample answer no. 2 from the list as a good illustration of this attitude.

* Special Tip: This isn’t the only difficult question you will face while interviewing for any decent job. You will face questions about prioritization, dealing with pressure, dealing with ambiguity, 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!

Talk about a weakness that can be considered a strength, or about one which isn’t important for the job

What matters for one job is irrelevant in others. If you struggle with leading small teams, you likely can’t work as a team leader, or as a supervisor. But the weakness plays no role in a job of a programmer, or food service worker.

Then we have also personal traits that one may consider strengths, and also weaknesses, depending on their perspective and experience. Check sample answer no. 1 for a good example. Each good company looks for people who do not hesitate to speak up, to suggest improvements, to challenge the opinion of their superiors.

But some managers do not like to be challenged, and that’s why you can point this out as a reason why they shouldn’t hire you. At least if they are a bad corporation, and look for sheep instead of creative employees who can help them move forward.

* Do not forget to check: How to dress for an interview – 5 steps guide on picking the right clothes for the meeting wit the hiring managers.

Do not be afraid to experiment with an unorthodox answer

They ask you a strange question, trying to catch you off guard. So why wouldn’t you reply with a strange answer? Take no. 5 as a great example. Candidate “threatens” to apply for a job with one of their competitors, bringing their skills and experience onboard of some other corporation.

So if the company doesn’t feel challenged, if they hope that their competitors will improve, and probably overtake their position on the market (hard to say if there’s even a single company in the world who hopes this will happen), they should no hire the candidate. Of course, the candidate ensures the interviewers that their company is the first choice on their list of prospective employers…

Another interesting answer is no. 7. Talking about an ambition to sit on the opposite side of the table one day, to lead interviews with applicants for jobs from a position of a store manager, the candidate challenges the ambitiousness of the hiring manager.

Are they also looking for promotion in the future? Or do they like their warm place and comfy office, and would prefer to hire applicants who aren’t smarter, who have no realistic chance of challenging their position one day? That’s the question of attitude, and you shouldn’t be afraid to challenge them on this one…

Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions:

Matthew Chulaw
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