Job Interview Questions Related to Work History

What's on this page?

  • Several job interview questions related to work history
  • My personal comments about each question
  • Two example answers for each question

Before we begin...

Before we begin talking about job interview questions, it's a good idea to say this one important thing. These answers are suggestions only to get you thinking. Please PLEASE do not simply memorize the answers. You need to change these answers so they apply to you. NEVER LIE to an employer in an interview, or on your resume or on your cover letter. Or better yet, never lie to anyone! It's a bad habit. Now we may begin with the job interview questions.

Here are some job interview questions your employer might ask you related to your previous work history.

What did you like most about your last job, and what did you like least?

What I liked least

My Comments: Try to think of something you disliked about your previous job that both makes you look good and isn't likely to be repeated in this job. Think about things employers don't like about a work environment and try to come up with something from your previous job that would correspond.

My Example #1: At my last job the office was always a mess. There was a lot of disorganization and it was difficult to find papers or information when I needed it. This problem slowed down the productivity and efficiency of the office environment.

My Example #2: At my last job people seemed to have trouble communicating with each other. Customers were shuffled around from department to department but the departments weren't communicating with each other which caused great frustration for the customer as well as the staff.

What I liked most

My Comments: Try to think of something that highlights your skills.

My Example #1: At my last job there was a very friendly atmosphere among the staff members. We liked each other and it helped boost productivity and make a safe comfortable environment for everyone to offer ideas or be creative with their work.

My Example #2: At my last job I was given the responsibility to oversee several other employees. At first I was intimidated by the task, but I learned many valuable leadership skills and I learned to really enjoy that aspect of my job.

What special aspects of your previous job has prepared you for this job?

My Comments: Try to think of similarities between your last job and the one you are applying for. What things did you learn there that could apply here?

My Example #1: My previous job required sales skills and customer service skills. I was paid on commission so I really needed to acquire the charisma and people skills needed to convince people to want to buy.

My Example #2: At my last job I had quite a few varied responsibilities. I had to have some way to organize them because they were all important and I couldn't let any of them slip through my fingers. I developed an organizational system that helped me keep many balls in the air at once and still come through with all my deadlines.

What qualities do you possess that make you an ideal candidate?

My Comments: Think of qualities you have that are related to the job you're applying for. Take a peek at the skills section from your resume. What skills do you have that make you perfect for the job? Also, you might have a skill for this specific job that you wouldn't think to put in a resume (like in example #2)

My Example #1: People often joke that hairstylists are substitutes for psychiatry. Being a hairstylist requires not only technical skill in cutting and styling hair, but also in relating to and connecting with people. I have a particular skill in this area and that would make me perfect for this job.

My Example #2: I have many skills as a home care nurse, but one thing I see that you need here is someone with a lot of physical strength to lift your grandfather out of bed, and take care of his various needs. Because I am male and in good shape, I know that I could take on the physical challenges of this job with no problems.

What is important to you in a workplace? What do you look for?

My Comments: Think about both what is important to you, and what might be important for your employer. Nearly all employers want a well functioning team with good communication and efficiency. They want the workplace to be safe physically and emotionally, and to be relatively clean (depending on what job it is). If you are a normal person, these things should be important to you too. These are just suggestions, think about what else might be important to you. Just don't say that it's important to you to have your teddy bear "Mr. Snuggles" on your desk at all times, or that you will only accept memos on green paper with smiley faces on them. Hopefully that's not what these job interview questions are going to reveal about you.

My Example #1: It is important for me to be comfortable with my co-workers. I am very sensitive to the emotional climate of the place I work and it makes me an excellent therapist, but it also adds a lot of stress if I don't feel that I can trust or rely on my colleagues.

My Example #2: It is important to me to feel that the company hasn't cut any corners on safety regulations. Construction can be dangerous work if the equipment or materials aren't up to code and I won't risk myself or my crew by using sub-par equipment.

Well that's the end of the job interview questions related to work history. The next category is Job performance.

Also, make sure to check out the job interview tips page.

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