A common interview question that seems deceptively simple: Can you describe your current or most recent position?
Most people feel pretty comfortable with describing their current responsibilities, or their most recent position if the candidate is currently between jobs.
This question is often asked because it is so straightforward. Candidates are likely to be comfortable answering the question, so they will usually relax and open up a bit.
While it may be easy to answer this question adequately, you will want to deliver a great answer -- one that clearly demonstrates why you are a fantastic fit for the job.
Why Interviewers Ask This
Some candidates think this is a silly question to ask. After all, didn't you work hard to craft those resume bullet points? Shouldn't your interviewer be able to get this information from a quick read-through of your resume? Well, someone obviously read your resume and determined that you were qualified enough to call in for an interview.
However, the person who ends up interviewing you may not have had time for a full review, or You may get this question even if your interviewer is intimately familiar with your resume. It's a good question for a couple of reasons:
1) It can put the candidate at ease. This question is much easier to answer than the most common interview opener, "Tell me about yourself." It is a specific question about current or very recent events, so the details should be easy to recall and articulate.
Interviewers want to make candidates feel comfortable because they know you will be more likely to open up and show them what they're really like.
2) It can help the interviewer clarify and expand upon the resume. There's only so much a resume can communicate, even a great resume that's written by a pro. Your resume obviously got someone's attention.
However, your future boss will want more details and context to determine if you're the best person for the job.
3) It can help the hiring manager validate that the resume isn't B.S. People have been known to lie on their resumes. Shocking, but true. Your interviewer will want to make sure that all of those impressive bullet points are true.
In general, your most recent position is always going to be the most relevant for your interviewer. What have you been doing lately?
Your description of your current responsibilities will provide a good idea of the work that you're capable of doing at this point in your career.
How to Answer: Describe Your Current Position
Here are some guidelines for wowing your interviewer with the answer to this question:
1. Focus on results. Many candidates make the mistake of just listing their job duties. They make this mistake in the job interview and also on their resumes. If you want to impress your interviewer, focus on how you performed and how you went above and beyond the job description.
Stress any impressive achievements (a promotion, an award), statistics (#1 sales person, 26 people managed), numbers (revenue generated, expenses reduced), or other details.
2. Customise for the position. You can develop a standard approach to this question. Again, don't try to memorise a script. You just want an outline of the bullet points that you want to cover.
Once you have a standard approach in mind, be prepared to customise it for each new job opportunity. For some positions, your standard description may work perfectly. For other roles, it may make sense to add an extra line or detail if the firm is looking for specific expertise that you don't always highlight.
Analyse the job description and think about how you can show that your current position has prepared you to master the new role's responsibilities.
3. Be concise. Don't try to describe absolutely everything that you do. Nobody wants to hear about the nitty gritty. Focus on the highlights that this particular interviewer will care about. Don't feel obligated to explain details that could be confusing or lead you off on a tangent.
Stick to the most relevant and impressive aspects of your job. If the interviewer wants to dive into the details later, he will ask for more information.
Once you feel comfortable with how to describe your current or most recent position, take some time to think about how to describe all of the other positions on your resume.
Apply the same approach described in this post. You should have a compelling, big-picture description of every past role.
Focus on the most recent jobs but be ready to talk about any position listed on your resume. In fact, going through this process may help you to spruce up your resume and make it more compelling. That will mean more interviews for you and more opportunities to describe your current position.
What did you like best and least about your previous job?
DISCUSSION: This question reveals a lot about you. You want to indicate that what you liked best about your last job are things that will appeal to the interviewer.
Show that your last job allowed you to demonstrate many of the positive and desirable Behavioural Competencies that are discussed in earlier sections. Give specific examples of how your last job allowed you to flex your skills and show your maturity. Never make statements like "I like that my last company gave me a lot of time off for personal reasons," or something similar. When answering about what you liked least, keep it short and do not be negative.
"What I liked about my last job was the fact that there was good on the job training. I was able to really develop my "X" skills, which I know will help me succeed here if I’m fortunate enough to be able to join your team.
What are the qualities and skills of the people who have been most successful at this company?"
"I've got some of those skills as well. I think that's something that could benefit your department, isn't it?"
"One thing I liked about my last job was that it allowed me to develop my leadership skills. FOR EXAMPLE, I was put in charge of a project where I had to earn the "buy-in" of people from multiple different departments — including Marketing, IT, Product Development, and even HR.
I held all the responsibility for getting this project completed on time, even though I had no real authority over my teammates since they did not report to me. I was able to create a project vision that the team agreed on, and then day-to-day I made sure that each team member completed their work on time. I did this in most cases by appealing to my teammates' own self-interests. FOR EXAMPLE ... "
"Did I answer that question to your satisfaction?"
"What I liked least about my last job was that the management style was pretty hands off, and this was fine for me because I am self-motivated and work hard to achieve. But the lack of structure sometimes allowed some of my teammates to slack off from time to time — and I often ended up having to pick up the extra work.
I would not mind that SOMETIMES, but it got common place after a while. I had to constructively approach my manager and let her know what was going on WITHOUT creating any friction between me and the slacker teammates, who I actually liked as people. In the end, it worked out well, because I was pro-active. Have you ever run into that type of situation as a manager?"
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