Think about it. What is your biggest fear? Heights, public speaking, spiders, getting rejected … Everyone has fears, so it’s important to see how you handle them.
Do you let your fears hold you back? Or do you face them head-on? For many people, simply thinking about their fear can be enough to make them feel anxious.
This is why, one of the most common questions asked in the interviews is, “What is your biggest fear?”
It’s an interesting interview question because it can reveal a lot about your personality.
Your biggest fear might even be something abstract, like fear public unknown setbacks or bottlenecks in your life or career.
But it always has a deep connection with your mindset.
Whatever someone’s biggest fear may be, it’s always interesting. Interviewers are curious to know what the candidates are most afraid of.
So if you’re curious to know more, keep reading.
Why do Interviewers ask “What is your biggest fear?”
Interviewers want to get a quick and deep understanding of you.
Let us see how this interview question helps them do that.
Top 6 Reasons why interviewers ask What is Your Greatest Fear
1. Interviewers ask this question to see how you handle stress and pressure.
They want to know if you can think on your feet. It also shows them if you have a healthy perspective on life.
2. Your answer can also reveal a lot about your character.
For example, you may say that your biggest fear is public speaking. The interviewer can guess that you’re shy and introverted. If you say that your biggest fear is spiders, the interviewer will know that you’re afraid of things that are harmful or dangerous.
3. The interviewer may be trying to gauge your self-awareness.
If you can identify and articulate your fears, you are aware of your weaknesses. so there is a chance of overcoming them. This is a quality that all good leaders possess.
4. Interviewers want to know if your fears can affect your work or performance.
There are things that may be beyond your control. If your biggest fear is about such things, they want to see if it could potentially affect your work or cause stress in the office.
By asking this question, the interviewer can see how you react under pressure. And how well you deal with such difficulties.
5. They want to get a feel of your honesty and truthfulness.
Talking about your fears can be daunting. People generally try to hide their fears as it can make them look weak or cowardly.
But, if you are honest and truthful, it shows. It can rather impress the interviewers and make you look genuine. This is also an indicator that in the future they can coach you properly.
6. They want to judge your fitness for the role.
It is possible that your fears may come in the way of your performance for the given role. It is good for you as well as the interviewer if it becomes clear early on during the hiring process.
For example, if you fear uncertainties and you have an innate need for clarity and structure, you will find a job in sales fairly challenging.
By now, you have a fair idea of why interviewers want to know about your fears.
So, What are your biggest fears?
Whether it is to know yourself better,
Or to understand the roadblocks to your career growth
Or to prepare well for the interview question about your biggest fear
Understanding the common biggest fears that hamper countless professionals is the first big step!
We have written a detailed article on this. You will be immensely benefitted in your preparation for this interview question if you spend a few minutes reading it.
In this post, we specifically cover 11 most common and most dangerous fears affecting billions of professionals across the globe. Once you understand them, you will be way ahead of thousands of other candidates in your preparation.
How to prepare your answer for “What is your biggest fear”
When it comes to some interview questions, they are bound to make you squirm a bit. “What is your biggest fear?” is certainly one of them. But don’t let the question catch you off guard. With a little preparation, you can give a carefully crafted answer that will impress your interviewer.
Here are 5 tips on how to Prepare for and Answer this interview question about Fear :
1. Take some time to think about your fears
This may seem like an obvious first step, but it’s important to take the time to think about what scares you. Most find it difficult and need the courage to start this exploration. So, if you have taken this step, you are already way ahead of thousands of other candidates.
Are you afraid of failure? Of not being good enough? Of not being able to meet your goals?
Once you’ve identified your fears, you have figured out a good starting point in your preparation!
2. Focus more on the solution than the problem
This question is an opportunity to show off your positive attitude – so don’t focus on your fears; focus on how you overcome them.
For example, if you’re afraid of failure, talk about how you use that fear to motivate yourself to work harder on your communication skills.
Interviewers are keen to know whether your fears block your action or progress. The ability to take action in moments of anxiety and overwhelm are admirable traits!
3. Remember the golden words – Specific is Terrific
When you’re answering this question, be as specific as possible. Rambling on and on about your fear or your solution both can get the interviewers bored or negative. What they want to see in you is “Balance”!
This is the time to show your poise and calmness. It shows your emotional maturity.
4. Practice, practice, practice
While practicing your answers is critical for any interview preparation, questions about your biggest fears demand even more effort!
It is because this question generally is your real “stress test”. The biggest fear while answering this question to the interviewers will be, “What if this goes wrong?” and cost me this job!
So, if you don’t prepare well, this question can become a fear multiplier for you!
5. Focus on one fear
It’s tempting to address all of your fears in answering this question but resist the urge.
No interviewer will prefer to hire a candidate with multiple big fears! In the question, “What is your biggest fear?” you are asked to talk about just one fear that troubles you the most!
So, focus on one fear and discuss how you deal with it. This will make your answer more focused and powerful.
How to Answer “What is your biggest fear?”
Here are a few pointers on how to answer the interview question “what is your biggest fear”
1. Talk about how you overcame your stated phobia
When interviewers ask about your greatest fear, they’re usually trying to gauge how you handle anxiety and stress. It’s important to remember that everyone gets nervous in interviews, so try to stay calm and remember that the interviewer is just trying to get to know you better.
With that said, there are a few things you can do to prepare for this question. First, think about what your actual greatest fear is. Is it public speaking? Being judged? Spiders? Once you have a good idea of your fear, try to come up with a story about how you overcame it. I think it’s important to emphasize your ability to face your fears head-on. After all, that’s what courage is all about.
You can’t be expected to conquer every challenge that comes your way if you’re running from your fears. So tell the interviewer about a time when you were challenged emotionally or professionally, and talk about how you rose to the occasion. This will show the interviewer that you can stay calm under pressure and persevere in the role.
2. Be confident
Remember, you’re the only one who knows your biggest fear. So be confident in sharing it.
For example- “My biggest fear is something happening to my loved ones. I’m very close with my family and friends, and the thought of anything bad happening to them is scary for me. I do my best to live each day fully and enjoy every moment because you never know what might happen. I also try to stay positive and appreciate all the good in life because that matters most.”
This answer shows the hiring manager your biggest fear and that you are not hesitant to share it.
3. Presence of mind
While it is important, to be honest, you must also present yourself in the best possible light while answering this question. Be confident and poised while responding, and avoid sounding negative. Instead of dwelling on your fear, focus on how you have coped with or overcome it in the past. For example:
“My biggest fear used to be public speaking, but I overcame it by taking a class and practicing regularly. Now I really enjoy it!”
4. Be honest and open
When you are asked about your fear, be honest and open. Don’t sugarcoat it or make it seem like no big deal because that will only make the interviewer think you’re not being truthful.
Instead, focus on how you face your fears and what steps you take to overcome them. This will show that you’re capable of handling difficult situations.
Tips for answering – What is your biggest fear in an interview
- Be honest with yourself: Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of, and be honest in your answer. Honesty is key in tackling your fears head-on.
- Be specific: Vagueness will only breed more anxiety and make it harder to address your fears effectively. Get specific about what it is that scares you and why.
- Don’t try to downplay your fears or pretend they don’t exist. Acknowledging them is an important first step in addressing them. Denying or minimizing your fears will only worsen in the long run.
- Educate yourself about your fear: If you’re afraid of public speaking, for example, learn as much as you can about the process and what goes into giving a great speech. The more you know, the less fearful you’ll be.
- Break your fear down into smaller pieces: If the thought of speaking in front of a large group is too daunting, start with something smaller, like giving a presentation to your team at work. Then build up from there.
- Face your fears head-on: The more you expose yourself to your fears, the less power they’ll have over you. So if you’re afraid of public speaking, force yourself to do it as often as possible. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
- Embrace being vulnerable: It takes a lot of courage to share something we’re afraid of. By being vulnerable, you show that you trust the person you’re talking to.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to conquering your biggest fear. Remember, it’s important to take things one step at a time and not try to do too much all at once. Baby steps will get you there eventually.
Examples of What is your biggest fear Answer
1. Sample Answer for Fear of Disappointing Others
“I think one of my biggest fears is disappointing others. Whether it’s our families, friends, or colleagues, we don’t want to let them down. We want to make them proud and be seen as someone who can be counted on. It’s a fear that often keeps us from taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zones.”
2. Sample Answer for Fear of Not Being Good Enough
“My biggest fear is that I am not good enough. I worry that I’ll never be able to measure up to other people’s expectations or achieve the things I want to in life. This fear can sometimes hold me back from taking risks or trying new things because I’m afraid of failing.”
3. Sample Answer for Fear of Failure
“Personally, I’m most afraid of failure in the workplace. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my career, and I don’t want to let myself or my team down if things don’t go well. I also fear heights, so that doesn’t help either.”
4. Sample Answer for Fear of Change
“I have a fear of change in the workplace. For me, change means uncertainty and a lack of control. I worry about what will happen to me if the company restructures or downsizes or if my role is eliminated.”
5. Sample Answer for Fear of Being Judged
“One of my biggest fears is being judged. I feel like we all have a fear of being judged to some extent, but for me, it’s something that holds me back in life. I’m always worried about what others think of me and whether or not they judge me harshly. It can be tough to go through life constantly worrying about what other people think, but unfortunately, that’s just the way it is for me. I’m working on overcoming this fear, though, and slowly but surely, I’m getting there.”
6. Sample Answer for Fear of Losing Control
“One of my biggest fears is that I’ll become so overwhelmed with stress that I won’t be able to fulfill my job duties or responsibilities. It’s scary when I think about the possibility of not being able to handle everything that’s thrown my way. I try to manage my stress by staying organized, setting achievable goals, and taking time for myself every day.”
7. Sample Answer for Fear of Being Wrong
“I also have a fear of being wrong. I’m very conscientious and want to make sure that I do everything perfectly. This can sometimes lead to doubt and concern about making the “wrong decision.” I also agonize over not having all of the information before deciding.”
8. Sample Answer for Fear of Missing Out
“My biggest fear is the fear of missing out. I worry about not being able to experience all the great things life has to offer. I also worry that I’ll miss out on important opportunities because I didn’t know they were available. This fear often keeps me up at night, which motivates me to stay active and constantly explore new possibilities.”
Mistakes to avoid while answering “What is your biggest fear?”
When discussing our biggest fears, there are a few key mistakes that we should avoid.
- We shouldn’t try to downplay our fears or make them seem less than they are.
- Disclosing too much personal information.
- Sharing a fear that is easily fixed or not fear at all.
- Revealing a fear that is embarrassing or unpopular.
- Talking about fear in a way that makes it sound like you’re bragging about it or trying to make others feel bad.
- Our greatest fears are often based on real, rational concerns, and making light of them can cause us to dismiss their importance.
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The Bottom Line
While this may seem like a straightforward question, it can be difficult to answer. The best way to approach this question is to think about your biggest fear about the job you are interviewing for.
For example, if you are interviewing for a position that involves public speaking, your fear of public speaking would be a good answer. If you don’t have an answer that immediately comes to mind, try thinking about things that make you anxious or uncomfortable and go from there.
Avoid giving cliché answers such as “I am not afraid of anything” or “I am scared of heights/spiders/the dark” no matter what you do. These answers will make you come across as insincere.
That said, If you’re looking for more tips on how to answer tough interview questions, be sure to check out our other blog posts.
We have a range of advice, from dealing with difficult questions about your weaknesses to what to do if you don’t have any experience in the industry you’re interviewing for.