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Classic Interview Questions and Answers

What have you learned and how have you developed over the last year/five years?

Alternative and related questions:

What have you learned in your last job?
What have you learned in each of your previous roles?

The meaning behind the question:

Ongoing personal and professional development is vital in many different lines of work. The interviewer will be looking for:

  • Evidence that you are someone who takes your continuing development seriously
  • Details of how you have developed in ways which will be useful to your next job

Your answer:

This question is similar to Question 24, “What have you learned in your last job?” but is sufficiently different for us to handle it separately. Yes, the interviewer will be interested in what you have learned in your last job but this a broader question and requires a broader answer – particularly if the interviewer has asked about the past five years instead of just the last 12 months.

You may have developed in numerous ways during the past five years but you should endeavour to select examples which are directly relevant to the role for which you are now applying. Talk about general ways in which you’ve developed as an individual, talk about specific training you have undertaken – and above all make it clear that you have been the driving force behind your development, not your employers.


Over the course of the past five years, I have made an effort to develop my skills and experience in numerous different ways. I have matured as an individual and my experience of working with others – both colleagues and customers – has contributed a lot to my interpersonal skills. I am also better able to see the bigger picture and how my role relates to the overall goals of the organization. Having built up a broad range of experience, I am now much more productive in my role – and much better equipped to handle unusual or difficult situations. In terms of training, I have learned a range of new IT skills, including Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Access. I have also undertaken an evening course in business administration which has helped to shape the way I work and has given a formal structure to many of the skills I was already developing on a practical basis. I am also now a qualified First Aider.

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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?