Answering "What Did You Like Most About Your Last Job?"
When asked, “What did you like most about your previous job?” you might be thinking, well, this should be easy! And for the most part, you’re right. This is an easier interview question than most. But there are some caveats you want to avoid.
Mistakes can be made when answering this interview question. The first thing that you could mistakenly do is answer with, “Nothing.” If you were unhappy with your previous position (which is highly likely), you’d have difficulty answering this question.
Let’s dig into how you can answer this interview question effectively. And in a fashion that will make your interviewer respect the way you conduct yourself regarding your previous work experience.
Bad Answers To “What Did You Like Most About Your Previous Job?”
A bad answer generally contains very bleak responses. For example, if you didn’t like your last job, you might answer with, “It’s hard for me to say something positive about that position.”
That would be a bad way to answer this question. Ideally, you want to find a function within the role vs. the company itself that you appreciated. And highlight that.
, For example, another bad answer would be, “I didn’t enjoy my time with this company, so there’s nothing I really liked about my previous job.”
That would be taking this as an opportunity to speak negatively about your previous employer, and that’s not going to look well for you when speaking to your new employer.
What You Want The Interviewer To Think
When you answer this question, you want the interviewer to think a few things. The first is that you are a constructive and positive person. If you are going to take this positive question as an opportunity to say something negative, how will it make you look? It’s going to look poorly. Answering constructive bullet points about what you enjoyed the most regarding the position itself, that’s going to look like you are prepared and experienced to handle the position you applied for.
The second thing you want the interviewer to think is that the things you liked most about your previous job are also the things that the new job can provide you. In this way, you tell the interviewer or hiring manager that you are a perfect fit for the job.
An example of that would be if you were applying for a customer support role, and you said that your most enjoyable parts of your previous job were that you had the opportunity to interact with customers. As you can see, that makes a perfect fit!
What If They Ask What You Like The Least
When the interviewer asks you what you like the least about your last job, recognize that this is a different interview question. The answer will be structured in an entirely different way. Often, these two questions are confused as the same. And when interviewees answer them, they perform poorly because they aren't meeting the criteria that the interviewer is searching for. It is recommended that you read the guide here.
5 Best Answers To “What Did You Like Most About Your Previous Job?”
If you are stumped on how you might answer this question, there are a few positives you can always say which will fit for nearly every job function you are applying for. This could be for the marketing department, product department, sales department, customer support department, or operational/leadership roles as well.
I loved how I was challenged every day in my last position. While I wasn’t solving the world's problems, I was allowed to step outside of my comfort zone and take on new business challenges.
I was very appreciative of the fact that I was able to interact with our customers. Even having the opportunity to see customer support emails was enough for me. I’m a people person; I love thinking about how our customers are real people with real problems. That was fulfilling for me.
I’m a very collaborative person. I believe in the idea that when groups of people get together and try to solve problems, magic happens. I loved that our team was very collaborative. And I look forward to either encouraging or having collaboration with more team members in the future.
Our team was very data-driven at [X company]. I loved that because it gave our team some sense of accountability. I’m a proponent of accountability and responsibility. It feels good to me. I look forward to one day having an increased level of responsibility.
I loved the fact that my previous manager was willing to listen to us. And think about ways that we can better the company through our ideas. Sure, not every idea was something we worked on. Rightfully so, we don’t want to sidetrack the company from the annual goals. But the ideas we executed were ones that followed the tenants of our leadership team. That was a fantastic experience.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
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