Today’s question is one that is extremely common to have asked, “What were your responsibilities at your last job?”. What seems like a simple check on what you’ve done in the past may be nothing more than that. However, answering in the correct way can win you points, and answering wrong can hurt you. There’s a few important things to keep in mind when answering, but before we move on, let’s discuss a process to make answering this question a breeze.
Tracking Your Skills
Whenever you’re in a position working, it’s good to do a ‘skills check’. What this means is take some time out of your day to sit down and make a list of all your responsibilities as well as skills you’ve been developing. For this list, include everything you do, tasks from the job description, menial tasks, things you’ve taken up doing, etc. Making an exhaustive list of responsibilities and saving it somewhere keeps you from struggling to recall everything in the future when you need to remember it most. It will do you wonders in your current position. Having everything laid out before you makes it difficult to forget anything and ensure that you are on task. Now when you’re asked this question in an interview, you are prepared!
While having a list of everything is great for you to reference, you don’t want to necessarily bring up all of those responsibilities in the interview. Don’t focus on tasks that are menial. Saying that you were in charge of the morning drink run only scores you points with your coworkers, not interviewers. In the interview, focus on responsibilities from past jobs that overlap with what is demanded in the new position. It’s crucial to only do this if there is overlap, don’t stretch the relevance of past roles to fit the new one.
Quantifying Your Qualifications
Most importantly, be honest and make sure you don’t embellish your responsibilities. If you are able to give answers that show results, this is a great time to do so. Saying that you, “concentrated marketing efforts where you invested in magazine ads increased company market share 5%” is much more impressive than only saying that you, “coordinated ad buys”. If you took it upon yourself to go above and beyond in your job, make sure you mention what it is you did that wasn’t in your job description. If you have a relevant unique skill set that you think may set you apart from other candidates, mention how you used it in your last position and how it benefited your company. We hope you find this approach useful whether or not it’s for an interview. We’ll be back with another question next week!