How to Answer Experience-Related Questions at Job Interviews
Employers want to hire experienced workers who will continue to learn and grow to the benefit of their company. Experience-related questions in job interviews may include: What are your qualifications? Based on your experience, what problems do team-focused companies face?
When answering experience-related questions, focus not only on your experience, but also on how your efforts served the changing needs of your previous employer.
What are your qualifications?
Connect your close fit between the job’s requirements and your qualifications.
Ask what specific projects or problems you may be expected to deal with and which have the highest priority.
Identify the projects you’ve accomplished in the past that qualify you to work successfully on the projects the interviewer mentioned.
How did you resolve a tense situation with a coworker? Have you ever had to fire someone?
Give a specific example of a difficulty that you’ve dealt with (conflict resolution or discipline), focusing on how you used your analytical skills to effectively solve the problem.
Illustrate how you go about collecting information, stating the steps you took to help the fired person improve and save his or her job before making a termination decision.
Emphasize that you follow company policy and that you’re fair and tactful in dealing with employee problems.
Based on your experience, what problems do team-focused companies face?
Document, with storytelling, that your experience includes being a successful leader or member of teams.
Discuss teams as an overall positive factor in the work world of the 21st century.
Discuss a minor negative aspect of teams and show how that negative aspect can be overcome.
Describe a time that you had to work without direct supervision. Have you ever had to make department decisions when your supervisor was not available?
Discuss your decision-making process. You don’t rattle easily.
Show that you’re self-directed and self-motivated, but still willing to follow others’ directions or to ask for assistance when needed.
Storytell: Discuss a specific example of a time you had to make a decision without supervision. Preferably, discuss a time that you anticipated company needs and finished a project ahead of time or made a beneficial decision.
Have you ever misjudged something? How could you have prevented the mistake?
Briefly discuss a specific — but minor — example.
Briefly discuss what the mistake taught you and how it led you to improve your system for making decisions or solving problems.
After talking about your example and what you learned from it, refocus the discussion on your accomplishments.
Has a supervisor ever challenged one of your decisions? How did you respond?
Discuss an example of being challenged where you listened politely but supported your decision with research or analytical data and you prevailed.
Add that even though you supported your decision, you were open to suggestions or comments. You’re confident in your abilities but not closed-minded or foolishly stubborn.
Your experience doesn’t exactly match our needs right now, does it?
Don’t agree. Instead, say that you see your fit with the job through a rosier lens. Your skills are cross-functional. Speak the language of transferable skills and focus on how you can easily transfer your experience in other areas to learning this new job.
Stress that you’re dedicated to learning the new job quickly. Give two true examples of how you learned a job skill much faster than usual.