Interview Question: Tell me about your previous employment
Interviewers expect candidates to be able to explain and discuss their work history in detail at interview. Be prepared to discuss the companies you worked for (and their competitors), the rough dates you started and finished at each employer, how much you earned and what your job entailed.
Most importantly, you should be able to explain in detail:
- Why you wanted to work for each employer
- Why you wanted experience in each industry (if you have worked in various industries)
- What you gained from each role (e.g. experience, skills, qualifications, personal development, financing for a Gap Year or travelling, etc)
- Why you think your previous roles are useful for the role you are now applying for (i.e. what transferable skills have you picked up that you can offer the new employer)
- Why you left your previous employers (never give a negative reason)
It is always a good idea to refresh yourself with your work experience before interview. It is important to be able to answer questions immediately, and not to waste to thinking back and working our old salaries or start dates.
You must sound confident and enthusiastic when referring to your old employers. Even if you did not enjoy certain jobs or industries do not mention this at interview. You must be positive, and should aim to talk about what you learnt and how you improved in each period of employment.
Never refer to disliking old bosses or managers and never reveal if you left a company or industry because you did not like it - this only reflects badly on you and your decision making process.
It may be useful to take a copy of your CV with you to interviews, so that you have all your work experience information available to you. Having your CV with you means that even under pressure, you will be able to remember key facts about your work history, and will also have exactly the same information to hand as your interviewer.
If you do decide to take your CV with you to an interview, carry it in a black, leather, A4 size document wallet.
For further information, see common interview questions.