Job Experience Questions

In most interviews, you will be directly or indirectly asked about your past job experience. Questions about your job experience are particularly common in behavioral interviews but should be expected in any type of interview. This page gives you some guidelines on how to deal with questions about your job experience.

Figure Out What Job Experience Matters, and What Doesn't

Unless you are just starting your career, you probably have a fair amount of job experience that you would like to talk about in your interview. Given the format of a typical interview however (usually less than 1 hour) you need to be selective about which job experience you choose to talk about.

The job description can help you focus on the right job experience.

The worst thing you can do in an interview setting is walk in there and talk about things that the interviewer doesn't care about. There is no point in focusing on your job experience as an educator if the interviewer is looking for someone who has strong skills fixing cars. This is an extreme example, but the key is to look at the job description for clues as to what experience the interviewer is looking for, and then focus on that job experience in your interview.

Focus On What You Learned From Your Experience

If your interviewer could get all the information they needed just by reading your resume, then you wouldn't need an interview in the first place. It's not enough just to 'bullet point' your job experience in verbal format in an interview, you need to help the interviewer understand what you learned from that experience.

Depending on the type of job you are applying for it could be that you will call out specific technical skills that you learned in a previous job (learning to build web pages for example) Your goal should be to make the interviewer aware of the specific abilities (relevant to the role that you are applying for) that you acquired from your previous job experience.

An interview is your chance to provide the story behind your resume!

What If You Don't Have Great Job Experience

It's the classic job seekers dilemma. To get a job you need experience. To get experience you need a job. We've all been through it many times in our careers. You are likely going to find yourself in a situation where you are interviewing for a job where you don't have as much experience or qualifications as you would like. How do you handle this?

Sell your ability to learn

When you are in a situation where there is a gap between what the job requires, and the skills you have, you need to convince the interviewer that you can quickly fill that gap. You should highlight examples in your job experience where you have had to learn new skills quickly, to show the interviewer that you are capable of doing so. If possible you should also specify how you would go out filling any identified gaps in your skill set. (Taking a training course, mentoring etc.)