How to Discuss Past Employment During an Interview

August 2nd, 2018

When you land an interview, there are bound to be some tough questions that you must answer. For many interviewees, one especially touchy subject hinges around past employment. You’ll inevitably be asked about past jobs that you’ve had, and it can be hard to know exactly how to answer.

The good news is, by keeping some basic rules of thumb in mind, you can provide a solid response to any query about past employment that doesn’t jeopardize your future career. Some of the key things to keep in mind include:

  • Always staying positive. No matter how bad your past experiences may have been with an employer, you want to ensure you do not say anything negative about the job or the company. The hiring manager has no way of knowing whether you or the business was the problem, and if you are bad-mouthing your past employers they are likely to think you’ll also bad-mouth them in the future. This is a major turnoff and is often a deal breaker.
  • Highlighting how much you’ve learned. Employers want to know you have developed skills on the job and you have practical experience. When you discuss any past employer, use the opportunity to talk up how much professional development was available to you. You can provide specific details about how you helped the company to succeed and what you learned while on the job if you want to truly impress the hiring manager you’re interviewing with.
  • Avoiding disclosing confidential details. While you want to provide specifics about the successes you’ve had with past employers, it’s important you don’t share any business information you aren’t supposed to. If you provide details that are supposed to remain confidential or are trade secrets of the company you worked for, this could make a potential employer nervous about what information you’d later share about their organization.

By following these basic tips about discussing your past work, you can maximize your chances of landing a great new position. Of course, you need to get an interview first. SmartTalent can help you land interview opportunities with great employers hiring people with your skills. Give us a call today to learn more.

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