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Classic Interview Questions and Answers

What have you learned in your last job?

Alternative and related questions:

What have you learned in each of your previous roles?

The meaning behind the question:

The interviewer could have asked, “What have you learned in your last job which will be of use to you in this job?” because that is what they’re driving at. They’re not asking you to talk about your duties, responsibilities or achievements. They’re specifically asking in what ways you have developed professionally while working in your last job (or any particular job of their choice).

Your answer:

It’s vital that your answer should cite one or more examples which are directly relevant to the role for which you are now applying. There’s no point in discussing something which isn’t going to be of obvious value to you – or, more specifically, your employer – in your next job.

The chances are that your previous role(s) will have prepared you in various ways to meet the challenge of your next job. Try to ascertain what is likely to be most of interest to the interviewer. What are the key requirements of this vacancy? What have you learned that will ensure you meet those requirements? Select at least one – if not two or three – ideas and turn them into strong selling points.

There’s no need to highlight how this relates to the role you’re applying for. It should be self-evident and, if you make a point of it, there is a risk the interviewer might think you’re just telling them what they want to hear.

Example:

My last job was an excellent learning opportunity and I developed my skills and experience in numerous different ways. While I already had strong IT skills, I didn’t have any previous experience of Microsoft Access. When my employer introduced a new order management system which used Access they gave me the opportunity to undertake additional training so as to be able to work effectively with this. I was then able to put this training into practice on a day-to-day basis and I am now extremely adept at using the package. I also learned a great deal about handling customers. My previous roles were not customer-facing so it was great to have the chance to develop this area of my experience.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

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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?

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