Job Interview Advice: Job Performance

What's on this Page?

  • Job interview advice for questions related to job performance
  • Sample Questions related to job performance
  • My comments on each question
  • Two example answers for each question

Here is some job interview advice related to job performance. Your interviewer will want to know about your previous job performance. She will ask you about your experiences in the previous job and how you handled both good and bad situations you encountered there. Here are some possible interview questions you might encounter related to job performance and some possible answers to them.

What kinds of people do you find most difficult to work with? How did you handle it in your previous jobs?

My Comments: Here's some good job interview advice. It's a good idea for employers to ask questions about your personal experiences in the past rather than asking what you think about something. Your actions from the past will tell her much more about you than anything you say in the interview. Think what kind of person from your past was challenging to work with and how you dealt with that person.

My Example #1: In my last job I worked with a person who wasn't a very good communicator. He often forgot to tell me important details about a project or forgot to give me important messages. I solved this problem by creating a message pad that was just for me and him to use. Every morning I would go to his desk and ask him if he had anything to share with me from the notepad. Then I went to him again after lunch. If there was a particularly important project deadline coming up I might go consult him and his notepad several times a day. This seemed to work well for him. He knew to expect me to come and he always had a special place to relay information to me.

My Example #2: The last dentist's office I worked in I discovered that in order to hire me the dentist actually cut the other hygienist's work by two extra days. She hated me the minute I walked in the door. At first I just tried to stay out of her way, as well as offering small gestures of friendship like a smile or a friendly hello. She was unresponsive. Finally, I offered to take her out to lunch. I talked to her about the situation tactfully and frankly. She never really warmed to me completely, but at least most of the tension and hostility was gone from the office from then on.

What kinds of pressures did you work with in your previous job? How did you handle them?

My Comments: More job interview advice. This question is very similar to the last one. It tells your interviewer more about you based on your experience, not just what you say.

My Example #1: At my last job I was working as a nurse for a convalescent home. Although I am a person of small build, I was expected to lift grown men from their beds, in and out of a bathtub, or to and from the toilet. It was very challenging for me to be able to perform my job in such a way that afforded the patients with as much dignity as possible. I often found myself explaining the situation to the patient and if I grunted from lifting or needed to take a rest halfway to the bathtub I would try to make a joke about my inferior size to lighten the atmosphere. Most patients would laugh with me (if they were able), and that seemed to diffuse the awkward situation. I also started frequenting the gym more regularly. I practiced lifting with my legs and I also worked out my arms. It did help a little. Mostly though, I think I need a job where that kind of heavy lifting isn't a regular part of my work.

My Example #2: My last job as the office manager of a busy physical therapy school required me to wear many hats. I was the event planner, the class scheduler, the equipment supervisor, the contract teacher go-between, the faculty and student go-to person, the mail supervisor, the purchasing and billing coordinator, and a number of other smaller jobs. Because of my varied responsibilities I had many deadlines of varying urgency to keep track of. I created an electronic calendar with notifications that would alert me to any upcoming deadline or remind me of pending projects. I also carried a notebook with me at all times so I could jot down ideas or responsibilities anytime my boss or my co-workers asked me to remember something or gave me a new responsibility. Because of that system I was able to meet my deadlines on time and reduce the amount of stress I felt in the office.

How do you react to criticism?

My Comments: Here's your job interview advice. For this question there are pretty much only variations on ONE answer. I hope you are the kind of person who can answer this question honestly.

My Example #1: Of course no one likes criticism. However, I do believe that constructive criticism, or someone tactfully speaking to me about something I can improve upon would be welcome in an ideal work environment. I would like to think that I could be trusted by my co-workers to be the kind of person who wouldn't take helpful suggestions personally and would use them to find ways to improve myself.

My Example #2: I have to admit that if you had asked me this question 7 years ago I might have had to tell you that I don't react well to criticism. However, in the last 7 years I have grown quite a lot. Where I used to take criticism personally, now I use it to make myself a better person. I have learned how to use that slight "sting" I feel from the criticism to spur me on to improve that area of my life.

Have you ever been told, or discovered for yourself, a problem in your job performance?

My Comments: More job interview advice. This is a great question because, unlike the last question, it gives your employer an example of your ability to react to criticism or your own discovery of your own failings in your job performance. And this is good job interview advice: this is another great opportunity to use the "greatest strength/greatest weakness" card.

My Example #1: At my job as a cashier at Sizzler my favorite part of the job was the customers. I loved to joke around with them and see if I could make their day brighter. However, at peak times when the restaurant was really busy my lighthearted attitude caused the other customers in line to get impatient. My boss pointed this out to me and at first I didn't want to sacrifice my fun with the customers, but when I tried to go faster I discovered that the customers were actually much happier because they didn't have to wait in line for so long. I was able to smile and enjoy the customers and still work quickly to move the line along.

My Example #2: I am a very analytical person. I see the world in numbers and logical sequences. This makes me an excellent Tax Consultant because I understand the tax laws better than most people, but it also makes human behavior often confusing for me. At my last job I discovered that two of my clients requested other consultants to help them with their taxes. At first I was baffled because I was clearly better at my job, and more experienced then the man they requested. But the other tax consultant had charm and charisma. The day I discovered that was the day I began doing research into human behavior. I consciously smiled more at clients, I asked them non-tax-related questions about their day. I made small jokes. To my surprise, my clients seemed happier and more at-ease with me. They were more loyal too. You might never call me a charismatic man, but I have certainly come a long way.

I hope this job interview advice for job performance questions were helpful for you. If you would like to see job interview advice for the Career Goals section then click here.

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