The interview process is always daunting, whether it’s your first graduate job, or you’re applying for a CEO job, the nerves are there. A very common interview question revolves around a candidate’s experience. Like all interview questions, there is a purpose for this. Interviewers want to know more about your skill-set and whether your past work-related experiences are transferrable to the job role you have applied for. In past interviews you may have been asked this question, but it may have been phrased differently in ways such as:
- How do you think you are qualified for this position?
- How does your experience prepare you for this role?
- How do you think your experience matches the needs of the job?
Although the questions are phrased slightly differently, they focus on the same thing…your experience, so, you should answer them similarly. Here I have a few tips to put your mind at ease for future interviews:
- Preparation is key: You need to know what you’re going to discuss before you get to that interview. An answer you used for a previous interview may be irrelevant to the job you are being interviewed for now.
- Write a list: Before you applied for the job you will have read a job description which will be what enticed you to apply, now it’s time to fit your experiences to the job itself. Look at the job criteria and write down what you have done in the past that evidences you would be the perfect candidate for that role. Writing it all down will provide clarity as you can see step by step what the job entails, and how you can fulfil the criteria.
- Pick the top 3: One job can encompass an abundance of responsibilities, but you need to decide a couple of relevant experiences that highlight your abilities. Having a couple of experiences clear in your mind will make you feel more prepared for the interview process.
- Practise: Like the well-known saying ‘practise makes perfect’ and although interviews will never go exactly how you want them to, practising your answer will make you feel less nervous. Practise anywhere you can, in the car or in the mirror, it will seriously help you when it comes down to your interview.
So, how do you answer this question? It’s difficult to generalise because all jobs require different relevant experiences. I’ve taken a couple of examples from the balance in relation to a marketing role. Take a look at the items mentioned which you will be able to tailor to suit your employment needs:
- “My years of experience have prepared me well for this marketing role. You mentioned that customer service is a big part of this job; I spent three years working in a high-volume call centre, answering customer calls and identifying solutions.”
- “I have developed extensive skills in working with customers, even when they were distressed. I’m excellent at de-escalating situations and finding a way to make the customer happy. Our customer satisfaction rating rose 10 percent during my tenure at my previous employer.”
Remaining positive when focusing on your experiences is extremely important, interviewers want to know what great things you have been up to before that interview.
I hope that these tips have put your mind at ease for future job interviews. Don’t forget to look out for the next blog in the series that will focus on another common interview question.
Do you have any more tips that would be relevant for this interview question? Leave a comment below!