Explaining Your Responsibilities in an Interview
August 16, 2012 Leave a comment
It goes without saying that most job interviews are structured around questions. If you’ve ever looked into interview coaching, you’ll know that one of the most common initial questions you’ll be asked is: “What were your responsibilities in your last role?” Many of you are perhaps wondering, why are they asking me this? Your responsibilities, after all, are already listed in your professional resume. So what’s the real intention behind this question and more importantly, how do you respond?
Keep Your Answers Relevant
An employer will be interested in your job responsibilities in general – but they will be most interested in any responsibilities that relate directly to the job you’re interviewing for. Focus on these responsibilities in your answers and keep in mind what’s really relevant for the employer. Following on from this you need to expand into what your successes were and how you achieved them. For example, if you’re a manager, you probably have dozens of responsibilities – but if you know this new role will be a step up for you, you may want to concentrate on your leadership and decision-making responsibilities and successes, which will also reinforce your suitability for the role.
There’s nothing worse for an interviewer than asking a candidate about his or her responsibilities and then getting a one-sentence answer. As a candidate, you need to be thorough and meticulous in your responses. Ensure that you describe your relevant responsibilities in detail, giving specific examples related to the successes within these responsibilities that matter most. A good way of beginning your answer is to say, “my responsibilities included” or “in my current position, my responsibilities involve…”
You should always be honest in an interview – and honest in all of your responses. While you don’t want to highlight your weaknesses, indulging in bent truths or embellishments may end you up in hot water. So, explain your relevant responsibilities, but also keep your answers truthful and straightforward.
Don’t Look At Your Resume
The employer will usually have a copy of your resume in front of them and you should have a spare copy, too. However, it’s important that you don’t refer to your resume when talking about your past positions. You should be experienced and familiar enough with your jobs so that you can talk about them openly, without notes or prompts. If you are not confident, you may need to polish up your interview skills and seek help from an interview coach.
How you answer questions in an interview also gives employers an indication of your verbal skills. From your responses, they can gauge how well you communicate, and how your demeanour and personality come across to others. Great experience means nothing, for instance, if you’re a mumbler. The more passion, detail and skill you put into your answers, the better chance you’ll have of impressing the interviewer.
Do you sometimes feel that you don’t come across clearly and confidently in interviews? Our interview coaching packages can help refine your interview skills, teach you how to construct your answers and put you on the path to interview success!