When an interviewer asks you “how your work experience prepared you for this position”, it’s not a vague question.
Be specific and make a clear connection between a relevant past experience and something you know about this job.
Unless the new job is identical to the last, don’t make this up on the spot.
The more unlike your last job this one is, the more challenging this question will be, the more likely it will be asked and the more important a great response will be.
Tell a Great story For a Memorable Answer
If any interview question calls for a story, this one does. But not just any hastily-formed story. A story that connects, that you can’t wait to share with your prospective employer.
By telling one of the stories that you have prepared carefully, you start with energy and enthusiasm and vivid details that make the story come alive.
Given the interviewer’s limited space for notes, they will only capture a small portion of whatever answer you give them. But if the story is memorable, they will easily remember every idea you want to leave behind.
The simple situation/problem/action/result structure (SPAR) is easy to follow and to connect to the specific job at hand. See more about SPAR in this post.
Key Elements for an Effective Response
- Highlight this experience on your resume and cover letter. If it’s key but it’s not there, the interviewer is puzzled.
- Including knowledge from your relevant education reveals your engagement as a student and desire to learn.
- Reference to lessons learned from this experience shows maturity.
- Barriers overcome make otherwise trivial accomplishments more impressive.
- Unsuccessful initiatives teach us valuable lessons that never forget. A story that’s didn’t turn out as you hoped conveys credibility and honesty.
- Know the needs of this employer for this position at this times , by talking to someone within the firm, and tailor this story accordingly.
Tell How Your Work Experience Prepared You for This Position
- If you’re in sales, you know that inability to close a sale trips up many otherwise competent salespersons. Dismiss this concern by letting them know that it’s your strength.
- If you’re in accounting, reporting deadlines are a constant challenge. Let them know that you take deadlines very seriously.
- In customer service, the story you tell may connect to handling difficult or disgruntled customers, retaining their loyalty by seeking a creative solution.
- What’s a scarce and valuable competency in your field? Target those in your response to this question.
When you enthusiastically deliver your carefully prepared response, your listener will be engaged.
Remember that all of the candidates who will be interviewed for this position will answer the same questions as you. Try to provide the best answer for this question to make your application stand out.
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Watch for all Fifty Job Interview Questions
This is number four in a series of fifty presentations on specific job interview questions that you’re likely to encounter. Don’t miss one. Subscribe now!