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Tell me about your last job


Disciplines > Job-finding > Interview questions > Tell me about your last job

The question | What they are looking for | How to answer | See also


The question

Tell me about your last job

Tell me about job X that you did

What have you achieved over the past few years?

What they are looking for

A summary of the past job is in your résumé/CV -- they are not looking for a repeat of this.

They may just be looking for more detail about the work that you have done.

They may also look at the areas where you focus -- and not focus. If they are seeking teamwork and you talk about the things you achieved alone, then you will be marked down.

They will notice how positive or negative you are about the company and the people who work there. They will notice how you talk about yourself and other people. And they may draw significant conclusions about who you are as a person and how you might fit into the target job (or not).

How to answer

This is an opportunity to highlight the successes you have achieved.  You can talk a bit about the company and its goals, but do this only to frame what you have been doing and achieving.

Take the requirements of the target job and show how, in the previous job, you demonstrated many of the skills and knowledge that are being sought now.

I found that it was very important to work with people not only in the team but across other departments.

Tell them about what you did that added value to the job. Explain briefly the needs of the role, in terms of what is required. Then show, with examples, how you fulfilled this.

The job was basically to manage the whole acquisition process for facilities areas. The first thing I did to make this happen was agree the process we would use across each key area.

Do not go on at length. Keep your answer reasonably short and balanced.

You can make your answer seem more balanced and honest by talking about some down-sides. Talk about something that did not work, but make this a relatively minor thing by which they will not mark you down.

See also

Alignment principle, Evidence principle, Framing principle

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