Being Positive or Negative in an Interview

Did you ever get the type of question during an interview that asks for your opinion on what that company could do better or what you would change about XYZ product?  As I’ve asked that question to someone i’m interviewing and been asked that question as the person being interviewed I always find it interesting to see whether the answer comes across as positive or negative.

I still debate in my head about which one is better?

Don’t get me wrong, when I’m interviewing someone I don’t want them to be all pie in the sky and disingenuous and say everything is perfect and we should just keep doing what we’re doing (too positive), but when I’m answering the question and going into detail about things I would change I can’t help but feel like I’m being too negative.

A recent way I approached this was when an interviewer from Amazon asked me about how I would change a particular category at Amazon.  Instead of commenting on the actual things that were implemented (both ideal and not ideal) I spoke about what I would change and how I would try to make the category better by describing entirely new services and offerings.  In this case I felt like it was a win-win because it wasn’t necessarily about critiquing something that existed but it was something to improve overall for the consumer.  Wasn’t perfect, but it seemed to work at that moment.

What’s your strategies when answering those types of questions?  What do you prefer to hear when you’re asking those questions?

Matt Kane

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