How to answer the interview question, 'What makes you uncomfortable?'

Photo Illustration/Bryce Churchill

If a hiring manager asks you, "What makes you uncomfortable?" in an interview, it can be tempting to respond, "This question."

Though interviews themselves have the potential to make people feel uncomfortable, this question can help hiring managers learn about an applicant's character. It also gives interviewees an opportunity to demonstrate their values and ability to navigate tricky situations.

As part of its 50 Most Common Interview Questions series, Glassdoor spoke with career experts to figure out how applicants can best respond to this question.

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Mary Grace Gardner, a career strategist at The Young Professionista, tells Glassdoor that there are many reasons a hiring manager may pose this question.

"If an employer wants to understand what makes you uncomfortable, they want to better understand your limits, both in terms of how far you are willing to push yourself to grow as well as your ethical boundaries," she says.

No matter what your answer, it's important to avoid saying that an essential function of the position you are applying for makes you uncomfortable. "You don't want to highlight anything that's a key part of the role," says career coach Angela Copeland. "For example, if you're in sales, you don't want to mention that talking to people you don't know makes you uncomfortable."

Instead, Copeland suggests using this question as an opportunity to communicate your strong ethical values.

"Select something that will reflect positively on you — perhaps it makes you uncomfortable when a coworker behaves in an unethical way at work," she says.

By taking this approach, you can make sure you nail your interview and feel comfortable with your performance.

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