How to answer the interview question, “What do you fear the most?”
People are often afraid of sharks and spiders, but there are also real things to be afraid of at work. During a job interview, an employer may ask you about your professional fears to see how you deal with stress. If you know how to answer this question in a job interview, you can show that you are confident and increase your chances of getting the job. “What do you fear the most?”
This article gives you some examples of how to answer an interviewer’s question about your biggest fear.
Why employers want to know about your biggest fears
Some reasons why an employer might ask you what you’re most afraid of are:
- To find out how honest you are: Most people who hire people know that everyone has fears. You can show that you are a trustworthy and honest worker by admitting yours.
- Even though this is a common interview question, some candidates may find it hard to answer it well. If you answer with confidence, the hiring manager will know that you can talk well and aren’t afraid to say what you think.
- To find out how well you deal with stress, you can talk about your biggest fear and how you handle it. Your answer shows how you solve other problems at work.
- To find out if you would be a good fit for the role, do the following: Hiring managers also ask this question to see if your skills and personality are a good match for the job. For instance, when looking for a wind turbine technician, they might want someone who doesn’t have a fear of heights.
How to answer, “What are you most afraid of?”
Here are some steps you can take in an interview to answer this question:
1. Be honest
When you write your answer, try to be honest. It’s normal for professionals to have fears, so telling the hiring manager about yours can show that you’re honest. If you admit your fear, you can also give a real answer that shows how you deal with stress.
To be honest, you have to admit that you have fears and say what your biggest fear is. You can give a real answer if you talk about something that is important to you. This method also makes it easy to answer any questions a hiring manager might have about how you handle stress.
2.Tell us what made them scared.
You could start by talking about your fear, what caused it, and when it began. Try to give enough background information so that your answer isn’t just about what you’re afraid of. Most of the time, it’s better to talk about how you handle your fears.
For example, if you’re afraid of public speaking, you could say that you get nervous before talking to big groups. You could also say that this is something you’ve been scared of since college.
3. Show that you’re listening.
Employers often look for people who are aware. For example, if you’re afraid of public speaking, you could say that it used to be hard for you to explain your ideas clearly at work. By talking about how you realized you were scared, you can show that you are willing to see your weaknesses and make changes to get past them.
4. Tell us how you deal with being scared.
How you deal with your fear is one of the most important things you can say in your answer. You can give specific examples of how you overcame your fear so you could do your job.
Someone who is afraid of public speaking might say that they took classes in communication and gave presentations whenever they could. Even though they still get a little nervous before a presentation, they can say that being proactive helped them get their ideas across better.
5. Think about one fear
You probably worry about more than one thing, but try to focus on just one. With this method, you can talk about a professional fear that is related to your job and how you handle it.
For example, if you’re applying for a job that requires you to work on the weekends, you could say that you worry about finding a good balance between work and life. You could say that you want to be productive at work so you can spend time with your family at home.
6. Practice what you will say
People usually feel bad when they have fears, but if you have the right mindset, you can react in a good way. Instead of thinking about how your fear holds you back, try to think about how you deal with it. Your answer shows potential employers how you handle stress so you can do your job.
You can also work on speaking with a steady, sure voice to show that you’re grateful for what your fear has taught you. Also, when you answer, try to move in a way that shows you’re sure of yourself.
Responses to the question, “What is your biggest fear?”
Here are some answers you can use as a starting point for your own:
“Most of the time, I don’t want to fight. I’ve been afraid to talk about problems at work since my first job, even though I know it’s the best way to solve them. At my last job, I didn’t tell my boss that one of my team members didn’t help with a project.
Because I didn’t do enough, our team didn’t do as well as it could have. This taught me to be more direct when it was in the company’s best interest to do so. Even though confrontation still makes me a little nervous, I know that being proactive can make me more productive and boost morale at work.”
“At work, my biggest fear is letting other people down. I really care about my bosses, coworkers, and customers.
I was a perfectionist in college because I was afraid of making a mistake. Over the course of my career, I’ve learned to turn this fear into a drive to do my best. I still give my projects my all, but I don’t stress over every little thing.”
“I got a lot of rejection letters when I was in college and looking for internships. I think this made me afraid of being turned down for the rest of my life. I stopped sending out internship applications at first because I was upset and didn’t think I was good enough.
After I realized that this fear was holding me back in my career, I kept working on my resume and sent out more job applications. I was able to get a job, and when I’m afraid to take risks at work, I think about that. Now I feel like I can try new things and come up with new ideas with more confidence.”