According to a survey conducted by Everest College as reported by GlobalNewswire, 92% of people are stressed by at least one thing about the job interview process.
Interviews are stressful because job applicants don’t always know what to expect. That’s where Answering the Interview Question comes in. The posts shared in this series detail how to handle the toughest interview questions to relieve some of that stress. If you missed the series, here’s a recap of some of our favorite pieces.
Your answer will vary depending on your own reasons for leaving your last or current job, but these answers are a good starting point.
- “There weren’t many opportunities for advancement at XYZ company, and I’m ready to move on to the next phase of my career.”
You might be tempted to say something like “they wouldn’t ever give me a promotion so I quit,” but that doesn’t reflect very well on you as an employee. Keep things simple and avoid complaining about your current position.
- “There was a bit of a cultural mismatch between myself and the company. I just realized I wasn’t a good fit.”
This is a polite, kind way of saying you didn’t get along with your boss or coworkers, or weren’t a fan of the direction the company was headed. If you’re prompted to explain further, focus on how the company you’re interviewing with is a great cultural fit for you, rather than whatever went wrong at your old job.
- “I wasn’t doing the type of work I want to do, and I’m incredibly excited for the possibilities with this job at XYZ company.”
This answer is for those of you contemplating a career shift. Focus on how your skills make you a brilliant candidate for this type of work.
It’s hard to describe yourself in three minutes or less, but that’s basically what this question wants you to do. Keep calm and keep these things in mind:
- This is an interview, not a first date
If you were on a date, you’d probably keep your answer pretty casual: likes, dislikes, life experiences, etc. But your interview answer should be professional and relevant to the job you’re applying for.
- Mention specific accomplishments
Structure your answer with specific accomplishments. Start off with your background (education, time in the industry), then list your individual experiences at specific companies, quantifying with specifics when possible.
- Show your personality
While you need to be professional, don’t forget to be yourself. Showing your personality will help show how you are a great fit for the company’s culture.
Your answer can tell your interviewer about your drive, your desire to keep working at their company, and where you think this position fits into your career and overall life.
- Focus on Upward Movement
Most employers want an employee who plans on improving over time. In your answer, aim for a management position, just not the position your possible manager has (you don’t want to seem like you’re gunning for their job). Find a specific position if you can (___supervisor, ___manager, etc.), not just “a management position.”
- Show Your Passion for Learning
In five years, you want to still be learning, still honing your skills. Share with your interviewer about any plans to continue learning to grow your expertise, whether it be online training, obtaining a certification, or even earning a degree.
- Show Your Desire to Stay At the Company
Employers are looking for people who are in it for the long haul. When they ask about where you want to be in five years, make sure their company is included in your answer. Mention a project you’ve read about online that’s coming up in the future you’d like to be a part of, or a future product you want to help create.
This is only the tip of the interview question iceberg. If you want more info on answering the questions outlined here, or if you’d like help with other questions like “What’s your most impressive accomplishment?” or “Why should I hire you?” check out the Answering the Interview Question eBook. We go a bit more in-depth with ten of the most popular interview questions.
Any more interview questions you want help with? Let us know in the comments section below!