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Typical Interview Questions About Your Previous Job

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Prepare for typical interview questions. Use the answer guidelines to draft your own winning interview answers.

There are certain questions that pop up in almost every job
interview. These include questions about:

  • what you liked and what you
    disliked about your previous jobs
  • your working relationships with
    your previous supervisor and co-workers

Be ready for these questions and stand out as an excellent candidate for the job.

What do you like about your current or last job?

The interviewer wants to evaluate your compatibility with the position
you are interviewing for. Make your answer relevant to the job
requirements.

General reasons such as:

  • new challenges
  • interacting with people
  • growth and learning opportunities
  • using your
    initiative
  • working as part of a team
  • meeting set objectives and
    goals

are usually applicable to most job opportunities.

Highlight the reason and make it more specific by quoting an example.

“I
enjoyed having to use my initiative. I have implemented and improved a
number of the systems including the order processing system.”

What do you dislike about your current or last job?

With
typical interview questions like this be careful that the dislikes you
talk about do not refer to specific characteristics of the job
opportunity you are interviewing for.

  • stay away from reasons such as
    overtime and salary
  • avoid criticism of your boss, management or
    co-workers
  • keep it general and refer to the lack of or absence of what you
    seek in a job or work environment

For example:

“There
was very little opportunity for me to use my initiative. I regard this
as one of my strengths and found it frustrating that I was unable to get
past the bureaucracy of such a big company to implement any
improvements. That is why I am enthusiastic about working for a smaller
company like this which I know encourages employees to use their
initiative.”

Another example of a good interview answer to this questions is:

“There
was a lack of growth opportunities in such as small company. One of the
reasons I am so interested in your company is that it is a much larger
organization with formal career planning structures in place.”

This
way you emphasize why you are a suitable candidate for this job and
company as well as turning it into a compliment to the company you are
interviewing with.

Find sales interview answers to the interview question “What do you like and dislike about the sales job?”

How would you describe your previous manager?

When
answering typical interview questions about previous managers avoid
saying anything that can be interpreted as negative. It sends up a red
flag about your attitude to authority and supervision.

Even if there is something truly negative about your boss rather try to find something positive to focus on. The answer you give should be fact-based and not just your opinion.

For example:

“My manager was very experienced, he had
managed a number of big call centers over the past 12 years. He liked
his staff to be able to work independently and I had to learn quickly to
become independent about analyzing problems and finding solutions.”

In this answer you are:

  • stating a positive fact about your boss, his
    amount of experience
  • you are also turning a possible negative about
    your boss, his lack of support, into a positive about you

You have not
criticized your boss and you have taken the opportunity to highlight
your ability to be proactive and deal with a situation.

Quick links to typical interview questions

How to answer the most common interview questions

How to answer tough interview questions

Find job interview answers to those tough interview questions about salary, gaps in employment and lay offs.

How to answer hard interview questions that can really test you.

Behavioral interviews

Prepare for typical interview questions that explore your competencies. Know how to handle behavioral interview questions.

Behavioral Interview Answers

Preparing good interview answers and practicing before your
interview is the most effective way of gaining confidence and ensuring
job interview success.

10 tried and tested interview tips

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