Common Interview Question: Tell Me About the Work You Did at Your Last Job
There are a lot of interview questions that arise that make it difficult to discuss why you are such a good candidate for the job. For example, when someone asks “what didn’t you like about your last supervisor,” it is difficult to integrate reasons the company should hire you into your answer. With those kinds of questions, you are simply trying to avoid making any mistakes.
There are other questions that are the exact opposite. They give you the best set-up you can ask for to sell yourself to the company. They are giving you the alley-oop to give them a million different reasons to hire you. Your goal is to take advantage of it.
How to Answer
When asked what you did at your last job, this is a great opportunity to explain what makes you great. Focus on the tasks you did that will impress this employer, either by being relevant or showing that you have a considerable amount of intelligence. Do not gloss over this question.
“Most of the time I spent working with my supervisor. We processed legal claims, contacted clients, and took phone calls when needed. I worked with Word, Excel and Access quite a bit, and I also helped create some organizational spreadsheets.”
This is not taking advantage of the opportunity. This is listing a few random tasks.
“In the beginning I spent much of my time researching case law and establishing procedural guidelines. Later, I would help the lead attorney draft pleadings and craft summarization documents. I spent several hours a week attending court hearings and compiling thoughts for the lead prosecutor of possible legal actions they could take with regard to witness testimony. Recently I have also had an opportunity to prepare clients for court hearings and work directly with complainants. I was often working independently on creating legal claims, and was in charge of outsourcing information gathering expeditions with contractors.”
This answer is much more in depth and (presumably) informs the employer of a broad range of experiences necessary to do the job, in this case as a paralegal. While you should not craft an answer directly for the job description, it is always a good idea to know what is important to the employer, and mention those tasks in your answer.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Take advantage of this question.
- Tailor your answers to fit the company.