Your work experience is one of the most important factors that can land you a job interview.
Imagine you’re interviewing for the role of sales associate for a well-established consumer goods organization. You probably have a year or two years of work experience. The interviewer will most likely ask you to talk about what you’ve done in the past, what you’ve learned and why you want to change jobs.
Regardless of the number of years you’ve worked, your response has to be tailored to the role you’re applying for. Let’s understand how you can answer work experience interview questions to make an impact.
How To Answer The Work Experience Interview Question
If you’ve been invited for a job interview, it’s most likely that the interview has already reviewed your work experience. The purpose of the work experience question is to explain why your background and experience would be a good fit for this job.
Consider it a chance to elaborate on transferrable skills and industry knowledge that align with the new role. For instance, say you’re interviewing for the role of ‘Associate Manager, Strategy’. If you worked as a consultant in strategy, you can discuss client relationships, research and development and ideas that led to revenue-generating outcomes.
Here’s a list of things to help you understand how to explain work experience in an interview:
Focus on tasks that highlight key skills required for the job you’re applying for. It can be teamwork, collaboration, communication, leadership or decision-making.
Talk about what you accomplished in your previous role such as monthly targets, key wins and employee rewards.
Avoid giving a chronological narration of your work experience. The interviewer has already examined your resume.
You can discuss interpersonal relationships—with your manager or supervisor—highlighting how you helped them achieve collective goals.
Remember to add numbers or data wherever possible to substantiate your answers. This solidifies your experience even more.
Your work experience sets you apart only if you know how to leverage it. There may be others who’ve worked as associates in the same function or department. But what differentiates you is what you contributed to your team, your achievements and aspirations.
Tips On Preparing Your Answers
Before you go for your interview, you should make a note of how you’re going to answer the work experience interview question. Here are some helpful tips for you to prepare an informed, purposeful and persuasive answer.
Be Thorough With Your Work Experience
There are cases where the candidate isn’t able to recall their work experience. If you created your resume some time ago, it’s likely you don’t exactly remember everything. Especially if you’ve applied to multiple places. Read your resume or CV thoroughly before you go for your interview. You have to be well-versed with your experience, skills and other activities so you can answer to the best of your ability.
Write Down Key Accomplishments
Study your work experience and write down key accomplishments or achievements—that you’re particularly proud of. You can map your experience to your wins, which makes it easier to talk about them.
Evaluate Strengths And Weaknesses
The purpose of the work experience interview question is to assess whether your work aligns with the job requirements. Also, the employer wants to see how well you’re able to articulate your tasks and responsibilities. Highlighting strengths and weaknesses will emphasize your self-awareness of your work experience.
Sample Answer For Tell Me About Your Work Experience
For the best answer, you have to tie in the past, present and future—what you did, your learnings and what you plan to do. Let’s look at examples of how to explain work experience in an interview:
I have previously worked as a product associate, responsible for handling operations and logistics. I’ve worked closely with our marketing and sales teams to roll out critical marketing campaigns like the #BeOneBeAll campaign. The customer response was phenomenal and we were able to increase sales by 15%.
As a senior in our international function, I was responsible for converting leads to expand operations in Asia-Pacific. Communicating across time zones and accommodating requests across borders taught me the importance of collaboration. To keep up with my Indonesian clients, I even learned Bahasa for effective communication.
These examples shed light on what the candidates accomplished during their employment. Depending on the job requirements, you should try to focus on things that are in line with what you’ll be doing in your new role.
Impress The Interview With What You Know
Prepare engaging and creative answers to the “tell me about your prior experience” interview question.
Harappa’s Ace The Interview course will teach you the ideal way to prepare answers to questions on the spot. With frameworks like the PAM (Purpose-Audience-Message) and the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) method, you’ll learn how to frame powerful responses to questions. Learn directly from our expert faculty—who bring years of experience, knowledge and insight to help you crack your interview. Enroll today to get one step closer to your goals!
Explore topics such as General HR Interview Questions, What are the Common Questions to Ask an Interviewer, How to Reply to “Why Should We Hire you for Freshers“, “Why Do You Want to Work Here” & “What are Your Salary Expectations“ from Harappa Diaries and crack your next interview.
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