How to Demonstrate You’re a Positive Person and Not a Pushover During a Job Interview
Updated: Jan 4
What does it really mean to have a positive mindset when it comes to work? To project a positive
attitude to a potential employer, you can demonstrate speaking positively to others, such as never using
profanity with coworkers or criticizing people in public. It’s important to have a positive attitude
because it reduces your stress and helps you get ahead at work. And, you’re more likely to be
considered for a promotion. How could a positive outlook ever be a negative? When you’re seen as a
pushover. Here are a few signs that you may be seen as pushover at work and not just simply a nice
person so that you can explain that to an interviewer.
You can’t say no. People-pleasing is a condition many individuals struggle with. When “you try to do too
much in order to please everyone, it won’t ultimately turn out well,” according to the Insider. Positivity
isn’t about enabling other people at work to maintain their bad habits. If you’re going overboard with
niceness, you’ll likely burn yourself out and eventually undermine your own performance. In order to
not be seen as a pushover when you answer interview questions, talk about how you judged which
situations made sense for you to agree to instead of saying “yes” simply because you’re being asked for
You’re too apologetic. Having the character to say you’re sorry is a great quality. But when you apologize
all the time and even for trivial things, you undermine your ultimate positivity. A perfect example of a
time you might apologize is when someone invites you to be part of a work committee and you’re too
busy to join. Since you are flattered, the first thing you may want to do as a positive person is saying
you’re sorry you’ll have to pass. Tell a story of how, instead of saying “yes,” you said, “thank you.”
Explain you offered thanks for the invite and then explained you can’t participate because you have too
many other commitments, but you didn’t say you were sorry. This shows an employer you are able to
reframe a situation like this in a positive way.
You avoid giving your opinion. You might have slipped into being a pushover rather than positive if you
feel like you can’t give your opinion or you might upset a coworker. When you’re worried about
upsetting someone all the time, your positivity slips into squashing your own viewpoints. Only giving
positive feedback when asked for your opinion also falls into this category. You’re being more of a
pushover than a kind person if you sugarcoat everything you tell your coworkers. So instead, tell the
interviewer about the productive ways you’ve found of giving your opinion on matters rather than
constantly holding back or outright criticizing others.
Ultimately, the best solution to avoid looking like a pushover is setting appropriate boundaries at work.
Before you head to an interview, think about stories that show you know how you set these boundaries
without being a jerk. Being kind is ultimately about being good to other people, but it’s not constantly
doing what other people want you to do. In that case, you’re not being kind to yourself, which is what
setting boundaries is about. If you can adequately demonstrate to a potential employer that you are
kind without being a pushover, they might find you’re the perfect person for their job opening.
Maybe for the last week in July, I’d like to explain the difference between having a positive
mindset and being labeled as a pushover.