Classic Interview Questions and Answers
How did you get your last job?
Alternative and related questions:
How did you locate your last job?
The meaning behind the question:
This is a surprisingly popular question among interviewers. The reason is that, while seemingly a very simple little question, your answer can give the interviewer insight into numerous different areas. It can help them to assess how much initiative you have, how determined and tenacious you are, how driven you are and how much you plan and control your own career.
You need to realize that there are two different ways of interpreting this question – and you need to make sure you cover both bases. First of all is the question of how you actually managed to locate your last job (recruitment agency, network contact, speculative application, head-hunted, etc.) Then there is the question of how you went about securing the job – how you convinced the employer that you were the right person for the job. You need to aim to portray an image of somebody in control of their own destiny – not someone who just goes with the flow.
It was actually quite complicated. I was keen for a new challenge and had already started looking around when I saw in the local newspaper that they were opening a new branch in the area. I sent in a speculative application to the HR department at their head office and they wrote back to say that they would only be recruiting through their preferred recruitment agency. So I called them up immediately and, having run through a few key points on my resume, managed to persuade them to at least interview me. They also interviewed a spread of candidates from the recruitment agency but, after a second interview and then a third interview with the Marketing Director herself, I was ultimately offered the job.
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More classic interview questions and answers
How would you describe yourself? / How would your boss/colleagues/team/family/friends describe you?
In what ways are you a team player?
Do you work well on your own initiative?
What techniques do you use to get things done?
What motivates you?
Are you proactive?
Are you creative?
Are you a risk-taker?
How do you handle pressure and stress?
Can you tell me about a time when you have failed to achieve a goal?
What's the worst mistake you've made at work and how did you deal with it?
How would you handle the following situation?
Can you tell me about a major project you have successfully completed?
Can you tell me about a major problem at work that you've had to deal with?
We have a problem with x. How would you resolve that?
What do you do when you disagree with your line manager?
How would you describe yourself as a manager?
Can you give me an example of when you have successfully coached a member of your team?
What is your customer service philosophy?
How did you get your last job?
What does your current job involve on a day-to-day basis?
What contribution do you make to the department in which you work?
What changes have you made to your current job role since you started?
What have you learned in your last job?
Can you tell me about your last appraisal?
How would you describe your current boss?
Why did you leave that job?
Which of your jobs was the best?
Why is there a gap in your resume/CV?
What do you know about us as an organization?
What do you know about our products/services?
What do you think are our organization's greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
What do you know about the vacancy for which you are applying?
How do your skills and experience match the job description/person specification?
What appeals to you most about this vacancy?
Why have you chosen this line of work?
Are there any other organizations to which you are applying?
How does this job compare to others for which you are applying?
Can you describe your ideal employer to me?
What sort of person would you most like to work for?
In what ways is your degree relevant to the work you are now doing?
What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?
What sports are you/have you been involved in?
Do you know what the current headline news is?
How quickly can you adapt to a new work environment?
Would it be a problem if we asked you to work overtime/evenings/weekends?
What is your current salary package?
What salary package are you expecting for this role?
When would you be available to start?
Do you mind if we contact your current employer for a reference?
Author: James Innes