More Interview Questions and Answers
What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
Alternative and related questions:
If you were just starting out in your career again, what would you do differently?
How do you feel about your career path to date?
The meaning behind the question:
The interviewer is very simply looking for evidence of mistakes, failings and regrets – because any such issues will inevitably tell them a lot about you and, in particular, a lot of very useful negative information!
Everyone has loose threads – untidy parts of their life that they would like to remove. But if you were able to pull on one of those threads you could find it unravels the tapestry of your life. So, assuming you're happy with the current path of your career, it's therefore pointless having any regrets about the past – and even more pointless to admit such regrets to your interviewer!
Don't be tempted to bare your heart. You're sitting opposite an interviewer, not a psychotherapist. You have nothing to gain – and plenty to lose – from confessing to any disappointments. Conversely, just saying that there's nothing you would like to have been different will sound empty and portray you as lacking in imagination.
The secret to this question is to seize upon something which would not have lead you down a different path but which would have led to your arriving at your current position more quickly than you have otherwise done – and then explaining why it simply wasn't possible!
An alternative approach is to shift the emphasis of the question by explaining that you're happy with your career path to date but recognize that it's now time to make a move and that it would be a mistake to carry on in your current job. The choice is yours, although I personally prefer the former strategy.
I'm very pleased with the path my career has taken to date. I've made a series of conscious decisions that have led me to where I am and to be sitting before you today. If there was any aspect of my career path that I would like to have been different then it would probably be to have embarked on my MBA a little earlier. However, that's easy to say now but, at the time, with the workload I had to manage, it simply wasn't physically possible for me to take on my MBA any earlier – and attempting to do so would most likely have been detrimental both to my MBA and to my ability to perform my job.
Word of warning:
Don't criticize others – other individuals or other organizations – when talking about your career path. Avoid any negativity full stop.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organization?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organization for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organization for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes