When did you feel the most satisfied with your job?
During job interviews, it’s common for interviewers to ask candidates about their past jobs. They may also ask you about times when you were happy, satisfied, or excited about your work. You can improve your chances of getting the job if you think about these questions and prepare answers ahead of time. This article gives tips and examples for how to answer the common interview question, “When were you most happy at work?”
Why your bosses want to know when you were happiest at work
Interviewers and hiring managers can find out more about your attitude, work ethic, and what kinds of tasks or environments you do best in based on how you answer this question. How happy an employee is at work can show what motivates them, how productive they are, and whether they are likely to stay at their job or look for something else. Talking about when you were happiest at a previous job can also show your analytical skills, your ability to self-evaluate, and how you define success in a role.
How to answer the question, “When at work were you happiest?”
You can get ready for an interview question about the job that gave you the most satisfaction by following these three steps:
1. Explain what’s going on in a clear and brief way.
When you answer this interview question, it’s best to talk about a certain time or situation. Your answer should only be two to four sentences long and easy to understand. Here are some ideas to help you remember when you were happiest at work:
- Think about a time when you directly and positively helped a project, team member, manager, or company.
- Think of a time when you had to deal with a problem and solved it.
- Ask yourself what makes you happy or excited about your job.
2. Think about what team members or managers might do.
Talk about how your coworkers made you like your job, if you can. This could be a time when you helped someone or did something with them. Mentioning other people can show the interviewer that you are humble and know how important it is to work as a team.
3. Relate the situation to the company or job opening
When you answer “When were you most happy at work?” your answer should be related to the job you’re applying for. Tell them how what makes you happy can help them make money with their business. For example, if you were most happy when you planned and carried out a project well, you can talk about how you plan to use your organizational and project management skills at the new job.
More tips on how to talk about job satisfaction in an interview.
Here are a few more things you can try to say when asked about how happy you are with your job:
- Talk about something that’s not on your resume or cover letter: You can show a different side of yourself or talk more about something you’ve done in an interview. Choose an answer or detail that you haven’t already shared in your application materials so the interviewer can learn more about you.
- Don’t say too much about yourself. It’s good to be positive, but don’t talk too much about how great your old job or employer was. It could make the interviewer wonder if you’re ready to move on and commit to a new job.
- Be honest. You can show off your skills, talents, and other good things at a job interview. Don’t boast, but say what you’ve done well.
- Be positive. If you used to have a hard job, it’s better to talk about a small thing that went well than to say bad things about your old boss. For example, you could talk about how happy you were to learn a new skill or how good it felt to finish all your work at the end of each day.
- Pay attention to what you’re doing. If you’re asked in an interview how happy you were at your last job, you should talk about what you did that made you happy, not about the perks or benefits your employer gave you.
How to answer the question, “When are you happiest at work?”
These answers to the question “When were you happiest at work?” can help you come up with your own:
“I was very happy when I felt like I was helping the team. We were going to miss a deadline on a big project once, but I came up with a different plan that helped everyone finish their part on time. It was a huge success and brought us a lot of new customers. I was proud of my work and that I could make a difference.”
“When I make something new, I’m happiest. When I worked as a graphic designer for a software company, I had a few opportunities to make website logos and themes. I liked using my skills to make the company’s products more visible and easier to sell.
“When I managed a store, I liked it best when both the employees and the customers were having a good time. I remember when a cashier made a mistake and a customer needed help. I was able to fix the mistake and show the employee how to use the system properly, which made the customer happy. Both of them thanked me for helping, and I was happy to find a solution.
“At one point, I was having trouble meeting my sales goals, so I asked everyone else in the sales department what helped them the most. I changed a few things about how I did things, and in a short amount of time, I was able to go above and beyond my goals. When I’m at work, I’m happy when I know I’m meeting or exceeding my manager’s expectations, and I’m driven to keep looking for ways to improve until I do.”