Tough Interview Questions: Could You Have Done Better in Your Last Job?

This is a goofy question just like many of them but you have to take it seriously.  What they are trying to find out is whether you will go into, “true confessions,” talking in detail about how your psyche works, how you made terrible mistakes that will disqualify you from consideration in this job.

So, what you want to be doing is not going into a lengthy explanation.  What you want to do is, very simply, respond by saying, “Huh, interesting question (break contact with their eyes as you speak).”  This gives the impression that you are thinking about their answer.  Speak slowly and deliberately, as you continue your answer.    

“Huh, interesting question. In retrospect, I’m sure there are some things I could have done better but I can’t think of anything of major consequence that I could have done any better.”  From there, you might go into some of the bigger achievements that you had.  You can list some of your bigger successes now and say like you are pondering the question in a theatrical kind of voice.

“Huh, interesting question.  I can’t think of a major nature I could have done better.  I’m sure there are some things I could have.  What I did and at my last firm is I outsold all the other salespeople (or was number 2 in sales)” or “I supported one of the largest accounts that we had,” or “I helped develop this incredibly successful system,” or “I always delivered everything on time and within budget.”  You talk about some of your successes there.

Then go on by saying, “I’m sure there is some meeting I attended that, maybe, I wasn’t as prepared for, as I could’ve been.  But, in terms of the things that were major, I had a great track record there.  My references will back me up in that statement.”  

Do you notice what you’re doing?  You’re turning your answer into the appearance of reflection but you are well prepared for it.  In this way, you can talk about some of your successes while appearing to be pondering some of the awkward things you might have contended with.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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