6 Interview Questions About Your Work History (With Sample Answers)
Employers use interviews to find out more about a job candidate’s character, experience, and goals by asking direct, in-depth questions. Interviewers often want to know about your past jobs, such as what you learned, what skills you gained, who you met, and why you decided to move on to another job. If you want to look for a new job, practicing answers to common questions about your work history can help you seem confident and calm during your interview.
In this article, we talk about six interview questions about your work history and show you how to answer them.
Questions about your past jobs and examples of how to answer them
Interviewers should ask you about your past jobs because it tells them a lot about how you work. For example, if an employer wants to know what it would be like to work with you if you got the job, they might ask you a number of questions about your relationships with past bosses and coworkers. Interviewees can talk in detail about their past experiences and successes when asked about their work history. This can help them stand out to a potential employer.
When you go in for a job interview, these are some common questions that employers may ask about your past jobs:
1. Tell me about your past jobs.
This question is meant to be vague so that you can give more details about your previous jobs. You can talk about your past jobs in more detail than what’s on your resume by answering this question. When answering this kind of question, try to give specific names, dates, and stories that show what you did at your past jobs.
Example: “I got my first job at a department store when I was 17 and still in high school. I sold perfume. During the holidays, I worked as a seasonal worker. The constant flow of people made me realize that I loved helping others. Then, from 2015 to 2018, I worked for Vida Wireless as a customer service representative while I was in college. Six months into the job, I was made a junior supervisor, and after two years, I was made an assistant regional manager. I enjoyed helping my coworkers reach their goals and rewarding them for their hard work.
I got a new job as the lead customer service manager at Boom, a growing cosmetics company, after I graduated from college and moved out of the town where I went to school. Over the past three years, I’ve been able to lead my team to victory by having the highest customer satisfaction rate in the Southwest region of the country. This is still one of the things I’m most proud of having done at work.”
What is the most important thing you’ve done in your career?
An employer may ask you about the thing you’re most proud of, whether it’s something you’ve done or something you’ve been through. This lets them know how you’re going to judge success. You might want to explain why this particular accomplishment was so important to you when you answer this question. For instance, you can tell the interviewer why you’re proud of yourself if you solved a problem that kept coming up, made your boss happy, or reached a personal goal.
Example: “I’ve been lucky to have great experiences at all of my jobs, but the one that stands out the most is when a campaign based on my idea helped our client make record-breaking profits. During my time at Frontend Advertising, I worked on a lot of advertising campaigns for clients in fields like cosmetics, sports equipment, and animal welfare. But our campaign for Simple Water was the one that did the best.
I thought of putting up billboards and posters of the Simple Water bottle with a single line of text that said “Keep it simple.” After just one month, the start of the campaign was directly linked to the client’s profits going up by almost 30%. My team and I got a bonus from corporate and praise from our CEO, which was really cool.”
Which of your jobs in the past taught you the most, and why?
This is a question an interviewer might ask to find out more about your past jobs and what you look for in a job. Think about the parts of your last job that helped you improve as a worker when you answer this question. Tell how these things made you better at what you do and how they will help you in the future.
Example: “I would say that every job I’ve had has taught me something, but being a production assistant for TGS cable news was the one that helped me grow the most. I did a lot of different jobs and tasks while I was at the network. When our first guest got the flu an hour before we went live, I had to find someone else to fill in. Another time, I had to run all over the city to find the right props for a holiday shopping segment that was added to the show’s schedule the morning of the airing.
During my time at TGS, I learned a lot about what it means to work on-call in the entertainment industry. I learned to always be ready for the unexpected and how important it is to manage my time well and talk to my coworkers well. I also learned a lot about how to talk to famous people and government officials, which will help me in my job as a producer for the Hello USA morning show.”
4. What do you want to find here that you didn’t find at your last job?
During your job interview, your potential boss may ask you what you liked about your last job and what you’re looking for in the job they’re offering. Your answer to this question tells the employer not only what you want from the job, but also what you liked about your previous jobs and what you hope to find in this one.
Example: “During the three years I worked as an art director for Lavish magazine, I was able to build friendships with my coworkers that I’m sure will last a lifetime. Lavish had a strong company culture in which building teams and getting people to trust each other were very important. Once a week, we had group meetings where everyone could talk about their ideas, questions, concerns, and good things to say about their coworkers.
Our manager also set up a monthly get-together for everyone in the creative department to play kickball or dodge ball as a team. During my time at Lavish, I met some of my best friends and built strong working relationships. I know it’s time to move on to something new and more difficult, but I hope that all of my future jobs will have some of the same qualities.”
5. Why did you leave your last job?
This is another common question that an employer might ask about your work history during an interview. The interviewer wants to know why you are looking for a new job and if you are leaving your old job for reasons that might be interesting to them. When you answer this question, make sure to be honest and keep a good mood.
Example: “During my five years at Trust Banking, I learned a lot about the world of finance and how to be a good financial consultant, but I could see that the company didn’t have much room to grow. I was hired as a junior financial advisor and worked with top clients for two years on the senior consulting team before I was given a raise. I learned a lot about investment banking, talking to clients, and keeping up with market trends while I was on Trust’s financial consulting team.
Even with all of this, I knew I didn’t have much room to grow because the only higher position I could move up to was a corporate role, which I didn’t necessarily want to do. I decided to find out what my options were, which is how I ended up at Hibiscus Investment Corp. today.”
6. How will your past work experience help you do well at this job?
An employer might ask you to show how you can use what you’ve learned from past jobs in the job you’re applying for. They do this to find out what you can bring to their business or organization and how they can use your unique skills and experiences to their benefit.
Example: “My past jobs as a teacher have definitely helped me get ready for my current job as a Spanish teacher at Kings Hill Elementary, and for the jobs I will have in the future. As an assistant to the Spanish teacher at Faulkner Elementary, I worked one-on-one with students who were having trouble learning Spanish and helped them with the things they were having trouble with.
Brittany was a student who was very shy and didn’t like speaking Spanish in front of other students because she thought it was embarrassing. I told Brittany to practice speaking Spanish with me and Winston, one of my strongest and most caring students, for 15 minutes every class period. By the end of the school year, Brittany and Winston were best friends, and she had learned a lot more Spanish. This and other similar experiences have prepared me to work with students of all skill and confidence levels, which I’m excited to do here at Kings Hill.”
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