Work History Interview Questions and Best Answers

Work History Questions to Expect at a Job Interview

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During a job interview, you will be expected to provide the details of your work history. You should come prepared with your full resume that includes details of each job you have had. Include the starting and ending dates of employment, compensation, positions held, names and addresses of companies you worked for, supervisor names, and other pertinent details. You may be asked for reasons for any breaks in employment.

Beyond the bare facts and figures, you should look through your list for answers to common work history interview questions. Set aside some time to think through each of the questions and how they pertain to the jobs on your work history. Having a good answer to a question can make a difference in how you will rate among the other candidates for the position. It will show the skills you developed at your previous jobs, how you interacted with co-workers and customers, and how you faced challenges.

How to Prepare to Answer

You'd be surprised how many job applicants fumble when asked about prior employment. Don't be one of them! Refresh your memory prior to the interview by reviewing your resume, so you can speak about your prior work history in detail and accurately. If you don't have a resume, make sure what you tell the interviewer matches what you filled out on your job application.

The best way to prepare is to download a sample job application ahead of time.

Complete the sample application and bring it with you when you are applying for employment. This way you will be able to copy the information rather than having to remember dates and other employment information.

Review these common interview questions about your work history and the information you will be expected to provide during a job interview.

Work History Interview Questions

  • Name of company, position title and description, dates of employment. - Best Answers
    Sometimes they will request addresses, supervisor names and more, so bring them if you have them.
  • What were your starting and final levels of compensation? - Best Answers
  • What experience do you have?  Best Answers
    Besides hard skills and credentials, think also of the soft skills and experience you gained that might not be obvious from a job title.
  • What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them? - Best Answers
    This question is often one you'll dread. If you can come prepared with an example from one or more of your previous jobs that show problem-solving and resilience, it can be a big plus.
  • What did you like or dislike about your previous job? - Best Answers
    This can be another potential minefield, so be prepared with a good answer, trying to focus on the positive and avoid saying you disliked something that is likely to be part of the new job.
  • Which was most / least rewarding? - Best Answers
    Think of the job that gave you the best sense of accomplishment, which often goes beyond how much you were paid. Avoid negatives.
  • What was the biggest accomplishment / failure in this position? - Best Answers
    If possible, show how you helped your employer meet an important goal or deadline. Also, be ready with a minor failure and how you worked to overcome the challenge.
  • Questions about your supervisors and co-workers. - Best Answers
    These questions often ask you to explain a difficult time with co-workers and your supervisor, to show how you would perform on a team. You will be happy if you can come up with examples that show how you resolved a conflict or promoted team cooperation.
  • What are you looking for in your next job? What is important to you? - Best Answers

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