Talking about your previous jobs during an interview is unavoidable but can be especially difficult if you’ve had bad work experiences. When an interviewer asks about this they are looking for two things, how your jobs have shaped you and how much you’re willing to share about your past employers. It’s nerve-wracking to figure out what to say and what not to say. To help relax those fears, we have three tips that will make this question much easier to navigate.
The best thing you can do when talking about your employment history is to focus on yourself and what you did. If you stick to this strategy, it limits your likelihood of drifting off and discussing negative feelings you might have, whether it be with a job assignment, co-workers or management.
Before you go into the interview, you should have a few talking points you’ll want to bring up when they undoubtedly ask about your work experience. These talking points should follow a facts-only policy.
Regardless of whether you liked your past job or not, by bringing up your daily duties and major accomplishments, you’ll give them what they need to know to determine if the role is a good fit for you.
While ideally the conversation will stay on objective topics, it’s possible the interviewer may ask about your preferred work environment or management style. From here, it can be easy to talk about your previous experience in a negative light. However, even if you’ve had bad management or the company culture wasn’t a fit, don’t talk down about it.
You should discuss the topic on how it relates to you and what you like about a specific work environment or management style. By phrasing your experiences in a positive way, it’ll make you look good and improve your prospect of landing the job.
Some employers will take it a step further beyond simply asking about your previous jobs; they may ask why you left them. Similar to questions about management styles or work environments, the answer you provide will be subjective and can quickly turn into bad mouthing your former employer if you aren’t careful.
When answering this question, keep it broad. While it is still important to be honest, it isn’t necessary to go into every single detail about why you’re leaving.
Another thing you can do is tie the reasons that you left into what you hope to find at this new company. This response will give the interviewer some valuable information while avoiding too much focus on the past. For example, if at your previous job you left because there was too much repetition in your tasks, mention that you’re looking for more challenges at this new job.
Once again, relating all your experiences back to you and your current situation is the way to go.
Want more interview tips? Check out our previous blogs on the subject here!