Best Answers for Interview Questions About Work Experience

Smiling business colleagues communicating on the meeting.
skynesher / Getty Images

When you are applying for an entry-level position, a typical job interview question is "Tell me about your work experience? How has it prepared you for a career?”

What Employers Want to Know

Hiring managers and employers ask this question to get a better understanding of your background and work experience. Your previous experience serves as an indicator of whether or not you will be a valuable asset to the company.

Interviewers inquire to hear more about what you did for past organizations, and not just where you worked and the duration of stay listed on your resume. 

Describing your former work experience effectively will help you stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Providing specific, quantifiable proof of your accomplishments, work ethic, and knowledge will show employers that you have directly transferable experience to bring to your next workplace.

Tips for Responding

Consider tailoring your answer to highlight the strengths and requirements necessary for each position you apply for. Different elements of your work experience may be more important for different jobs, depending on the needs of the company.

You should never lie or embellish your background, but you should emphasize and advocate for the strengths and skills you acquired through your education, past employment and experience.

Employers appreciate confidence and pride in the work experience you have gained, and your excitement to transfer your skills to your next position.

Examples of the Best Answers

Here are sample interview answers which you can edit to fit your personal experiences and background:

  • I've had a job every summer since I was 16 years old. My primary reason to work was to have some extra spending money, but what I didn't realize was that I was actually sampling careers to see where I fit in. I worked as a kennel assistant at a local animal hospital during the summer before my freshman year of college. It was then that I discovered what I wanted to do for my career. I decided I would to go to college and focus on becoming a small animal veterinarian and that's what I did. I have been working at the same animal hospital ever since.
  • I have not had much paid work experience as a teacher. I have spent most of my time outside of college and graduate school doing volunteer work at a private elementary school in my town. Because the summers are so short, and I was working to complete my certification, I wanted to gain hands-on experience without worrying about finding a school that would hire me. Now that I am certified, finished my master's degree program, and have all those volunteer hours under my belt, I feel well prepared to apply for a full-time teaching position.
  • My work experience has been nothing but top notch. When I completed my accounting degree, I went right to the best firm in the city and was hired as an intern. I was able to use the internship time towards my MBA, which I just complete this past spring. Working with the best of the best has made me an asset to any company that will hire me.

Entry Level Interview Questions and Answers
More entry level interview questions and sample answers.

College Job Interview Questions
When you are a college student or recent graduate, it's important to relate your college education, extracurricular activities, and experiences to the job for which you are applying.

Related Articles: Interview Questions and Answers | Interview Tips for College Students | Top 15 Job Search Tips for College Seniors