Interview Tips

How to Answer: Tell me About Your Last Job

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By: Caroline Forrest
Apr 10, 2020 • 2 min read

Ready to interview? Tell me about your last job!

Continuing with our interview question blog, today we will share with your how to answer the following question: tell me about your last job.

This is a question that can bring up some awkward conversation, depending on what your last job was like. In this post, we will teach you to navigate this question like a professional. To start – you should be prepared for this question to come up in any interview, so keep that in mind.

Think about your last job.

Let’s stop for a moment and really think about your last job. What did you like? What did you dislike? How long did you work there? Why did you leave? You should be able to answer each of these questions with ease, and confidence. Remember, it is okay if your last job wasn’t perfect, so be open about your experience.

Example (you don’t need to share each of these answers verbatim, this is just a thought exercise): I worked most recently as a barista for a coffee shop. I really enjoyed working with customers, but the hours were sometimes difficult for me to manage. I worked there for about 8 months and decided to leave because I moved, and the commute was too far.

Navigate the awkward parts.

This question is designed to figure out more about who you are as an employee, and what your potential boss can expect of you as such. That being said, it is important to frame your previous experience in as positive a light as possible.

Try a sandwich – like this!

Something positive: What did you enjoy about your last job?

Something not-so-positive (and honest): What were some difficult parts?

One more positive: Summarize with what you learned from the experience.

Example: I recently left my job as a cashier for a grocery store. I love using my customer service skills, and making someone’s day by going above and beyond what expected of me. The most difficult part of this job was that I was doing the same thing each and every day, without much variety. I learned that I enjoy trying out new things and learning new skills, which is why I decided that I should explore new options for my career plan.

Never slander your last position.

Let’s say that your last job was horrible. For whatever reason, it was not a good fit for you, and you had a very negative experience. How do you talk about your last job in a positive way?

It is very important to note that you should never speak poorly about the employer or the company that you previously worked at. Even if they were the worst people you have ever met, there are ways for you to frame it in a positive way! Here are some phrases that you can use:

  • My last job was a great learning experience for me. I learned that I have some skills that I should work on, and some that I’m good at.
  • In my last position, I figured out what I really need in a manager, and how I thrive as an employee.
  • We all know it can be difficult to work with other people sometimes. At my last job, I learned a lot of new skills on how to deal with all different kinds of people!

What if I was fired?

When a potential employer asks “tell me about your last job,” it is important to note that you are not required to tell them that you were fired. However, it very well may come up as a follow-up question. They may ask you if you have ever been fired from a job, and if so, you should be prepared to answer honestly. It may be difficult, but your honesty will be rewarded! Make sure to include what you learned from the experience, and what you could have done better in the situation. It will help to frame the situation in a positive way. Do not blame it on the employer, as this will actually reflect poorly on you!

Example: Yes, I was fired from one job before. At that time in my life, I was still learning about how to be a good employee. I should have asked for help and made sure I understood the rules before jumping into things. I continue to grow my skills and learn more with each job that I have.

We hope that this is helpful during your next interview! Let us know if you land the job, and follow us on social media for more tips!

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