Job Interview Questions About Your Responsibilities

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When, during a job interview, you are asked questions related to your current or previous positions, it's important for your response to include a few detailed specifics about what you did in your previous position(s). Keep your answer positive — it's a good idea to bring up improvements or accomplishments, but best to stay away from mentioning frustrations or disagreements with co-workers.

Since this is a very common interview question, make sure to prepare for it ahead of time, and have a good sense of how you would summarize your responsibilities for each of your positions.

Generally, the focus will be on your current or most recent role.

How to Answer Interview Questions About Your Responsibilities

The best way to respond to this question is to describe your responsibilities in detail and to connect them to the job you are interviewing for. This means that, prior to your interview, you should carefully review the job description for the new position. Almost every job description you will encounter will provide a list of the skillsets and work experience an employer is seeking in their next employee. For each requirement, ask yourself:

  1. Why do I think I know how to do this function?
  2. When have I actually had to use these skills?
  3. How effective was I in performing this part of the job? What examples can I use to prove my aptitude in this job task?

For example, if the job description requires that you have a solid knowledge of technology like Microsoft Office Suite or Adobe Creative Suite, be prepared to describe how you’ve used these programs in your previous job.

If it requires that you have excellent customer service skills, be ready to cite a few occasions when you successfully handled sticky client relations issues.

Then, tie your responsibilities at your current or previous positions in with those listed in that job description. By doing this, the employer will see that you have the qualifications necessary to do the job you are interviewing for with his or her organization.

Focus most on your responsibilities that are directly related to the new job's requirements. For instance, if you are interviewing for a role that requires management skills, emphasize projects you've led, events you've planned, and people you've managed. If you are trying to land a job in a creative field like graphic design or marketing, bring along a portfolio of designs you’ve created for significant project assignments.

Be descriptive and engaging in your summary of responsibilities — most likely, the interviewer has a copy of your resume available and is looking for you to go beyond the information listed on that document. This is your opportunity to provide the personal “story” that will advance you from being a name on the page to being a strong image in your interviewer’s mind.

However, avoid going too granular on the details: company-specific jargon can overwhelm an interviewer. It can be a difficult balance, but strive to give a thorough description of your responsibilities, and use different language from what's on your resume.

Mention any specific instances where you benefited the company, solved a problem, or had a major accomplishment.

Results-oriented answers are beneficial here.

You can say things like "I created a schedule that stopped late delivery, earning the company's award for best team player" or "On a day-to-day basis, I was the primary point of contact with clients, working to ensure that their needs were met, while escalating urgent matters to my supervisors." 

While you want to frame your responsibilities in a positive light, it's also important to be honest. Don't embellish your job title or duties, because you don't know who the hiring manager will be checking with when they check your references.

More Job Interview Questions and Answers

The best way to conquer any nervous anticipatory anxiety before a job interview is to be prepared.

Have a look at the interview questions (and possible answers) in the links below. These will help to ensure that you’re able to catch and field any curve ball that’s thrown your way during your interview.

Interview Questions and Answers
Use these typical job interview questions and sample answers to “role-play” your responses before you walk into an important interview.

Interview Questions to Ask
It’s wise to remember that you are interviewing your potential employer at the same time that they are interviewing you – and that they will be interested in how you respond to the standard question, “Are there any questions you have for us about this job or our company?” Here are very common questions for candidates for employment to ask the interviewer.

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