Interview questions: part 2 of 3

In: Job & Career Tips

4 Dec 2009

QUESTION: What were your responsibilities?

When answering this question, try to present yourself in a broad, general way. During your interview preparation, you should have identified about six responsibilities from your current or former position, which you should then summarize during the interview. Do not give in to the temptation to go into great detail about what you did. Talk about what you were responsible for.

You might want to begin your answer by saying:

“I was/am responsible for the management of the accounting department at ABC Company, supervising personnel and processes in order to accomplish corporate objectives, etc.”

Keep your answer at a high level–no details are needed at this point. Another way to answer this question:

“I was responsible for providing administrative support to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the sales department. I ensured the timely preparation of presentation materials, proposals, and all related documents. I was also responsible for maintaining travel schedules for the sales and marketing personnel in the department.”

A recent college graduate might answer this question in the following manner:

“I held various jobs during my four years of college. While working at ABC Company as a summer intern, I worked in the marketing department helping the director create new marketing materials for the sales department. This included coordinating the work of the copy writers and the artists to ensure that the marketing materials were done on time.”

QUESTION: What are you looking for?

This question should receive a fairly general answer. Try to limit your answer to one (but no more than two) sentences. Use a summary of the attributes you identified during your preparation sessions. Be prepared to discuss your short-term (1-3 years) and long-term (3-5 years) goals. You may want to say something that is vague yet satisfying to the interviewer, such as:

“I am looking for a position that will allow me to use my experience in the ______ field, including xxx and xxx. I am also ready to take on increased responsibilities in a management capacity when the opportunity arises. I am eager to work in a company that can provide the opportunity for professional growth.”

NOTE: Think about what you mean when you say ‘professional growth’; a good interviewer will ask what you believe is the next logical level for you to move to. And please, don’t say “a management position” unless you can provide specifics…we’ve asked candidates in the past what they wanted to manage, and they were truly stumped. If you’ve taken management classes in school, that’s great, but do not expect to be hired out of the gate as a manager! OR

“I am looking for the opportunity to take on new and challenging assignments that offer the potential for growth within an organization such as yours. I had been an administrative assistant for seven years and am ready to move to the next level.”

NOTE: What is ‘the next level’ for you? Be prepared to articulate this. OR

“I’m looking for a company that will look at my studies and part-time work as the basis for hiring me as an entry-level employee. I’m hoping to further develop my skills in the marketing field with the hopes of moving through the ranks of the organization.”

A good interviewer will ask follow-up questions. Regardless of your answer, be prepared to state what you’re looking for. If you say you’re ready to move on to the next level, be prepared to describe that next level.


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This is the company blog of the Salam Business Club, the first worldwide Internet-based business network for the Arab, Asian and Muslim world, with members from over 180 countries.

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