How to Handle a Curveball Question During the Interview

Dorothy- I was asked this more than once even just Monday in my most recent interview. “What did you not like about your previous manager/boss?” How am I supposed to answer this?

My first response to this one was what a curve ball and yet it sounds like you’ve been asked this more than once.

Here’s how I see this question: Basically this is a values and ethics question. They may want to see if they can force you into saying things you’d rather not say. This is kind of test of your character. I wouldn’t bite but I would be very polite.

I would say something like: “You know, I really worked well with my last boss. I’m sure there were things that may have bugged me now and then but nothing really stands out.” I would leave it at that.

There are simply questions that you don’t want to spend much time on and this is one of them.

Do you have a career question that Dorothy could help you with? Simply email her your question and she will return a response to you within 48 hours. Some questions and answers are periodically selected for publication. All personal information is kept confidential to ensure privacy. Email:

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is a certified life and career coach. She works with aspiring professionals who are looking for career growth, advancement and entry into the “C” suite. As well, she works with people to overcome the sometimes daunting task of changing careers. With over 21 years in management, Dorothy has coached, trained and guided other professionals who have gone on to impressive and fulfilling careers. Her personal philosophy about careers is: “It’s not JUST a job; it’s half your life – so love your career”. You can check out her resources, blog and services at Next Chapter New Life and MBA Highway.

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