Comm Clinic
Comm Clinic
February 17, 2019

How to approach negative questions in an interview?

Negative questions are a common element of many interviews. When asking them, employers aren’t looking to catch candidates out. They are simply looking to see if you have the capacity to reflect back on your past experiences, learn from them and improve yourself.

You can use these questions to show that you are genuine in your responses and are reflective as a person. You need to be ready for the negatives and see them as an opportunity to prove that you can be honest and open in your answers.

For example, the employer can ask you to ask you to tell them about a time that you didn’t communicate well? or that you were involved in a team that didn’t work together?

The key for these questions is that you give an honest example but spend your time talking about what you learned from this example. And show them that you’ve applied that learning since.

You should pick examples that we’re genuine moments of learning for you. Key moments in your career where you realized you had to improve, how you improved and how you have applied that learning since.

For example, when working with graduate recruiters we often find that they want to know about times that graduates have had an issue with communicating.

A sample answer might involve a presentation that didn’t go to plan and what they learned from it.

What they need to do in this scenario is detail exactly what happened during the presentation.

But then stress that the reason it didn’t go well was because, for example, they got unexpectedly nervous, and so they learned to practice and handle the nerves and went on to give several successful presentations in the final years of college.

This answer would show an openness to discussing failure but quickly moves on to how they learned and improved.

The above really only scratches the surface of what you need to prepare for an interview. The Communications Clinic offers tailored one to one interview preparation sessions to help you get over the line and secure the job you want. We put you through an interview, record it, assess it and make you better.

If you call us or email us on and mention you read the above article we can book you in for an Interview Preparation Session for a reduced fee.