Tough Interview Question - What did you like or dislike about your previous job?

What did you like or dislike about your previous job?

Similar interview questions:
Tell me about what worked well and what did not work well in your prior role.
What were the best and worst things about your last employer?
How would you describe the highlights and lowlights of your current work life?
Give me an example of how you supported what you liked or tried to change what you didn’t like in your last job.

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
This question provides the interviewer with two important pieces of information: 1) your overall perspective (positive or negative) of your prior role; and 2) your approach to what you liked (or didn’t like) about that aspect of your role. This gives the interviewer further insight into how well you may fit into the role for which you are interviewing.

The best approach to answering this question:
You should ignore the negative side of this question completely. Focus only on the positive, yet choose a positive that correlates well with the work environment of the employer for whom you are interviewing. And make it a substantial part of the role, not a sideline, such as free coffee or even a free lunch. Focus on the work itself.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"One of the things that I liked the most about my previous job is that I was challenged in my work projects and there was a real emphasis on being world class in the delivery of our work. An example of this would be…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"What I liked the most about my recent internship is that we were given the opportunity to work with several cutting edge tools on our project. These are tools I had worked with in school, but this was the first time to use them in a practical way to deliver project work. In fact, several of these tools are part of your technology stack as well. As an example, we worked with…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Well, I don’t usually like to gripe, but there were several things wrong with my last job, which is why I’m no longer there. They had really strict delivery schedules, which drove me crazy, because I wanted to just get stuff done on my own time and schedule without some arbitrary deadline hanging over me…"

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these 100 Common Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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