Questions About Your Application

These questions are related to your resume or personal statement, and are often asked because of some inconsistency between them and something you have said. That is why it is important to keep copies of everything you send as part of the application process.

Sometimes these questions may result from the organization having received information that gives them cause for concern. Questions include:

What did you dislike about your last job?
The best way to answer this question is to say there are always aspects of any job that are mundane or routine but you give them the same level of dedication as the more rewarding and challenging aspects.

Ideally, you want to reassure the interviewer that you are not running away from some part of your previous job that you found disagreeable.

Why have you been unemployed for such a long time?
The definition of 'long' varies between different occupations and industries. For a highly specialized role in a niche industry a 3-6 month gap between jobs may be perfectly normal. Whatever your circumstances it is important to honestly minimize the 'gap.' You can achieve this by talking about:

1) Recent or current professional studies
2) Charity or voluntary work
3) Consultancy work
4) Part-time work.

Questions About Your Application

Suitable roles, such as the one you are being interviewed for are rare, resulting in frequent gaps between contracts. Your aspirations are to remain in this specialist field, reflecting the considerable investment you have made in acquiring your knowledge and skills.

Why aren't you earning more at this stage of your career?
The interviewer may be implying that you lack ambition. You can answer this by saying:

'Experiences I have gained were too valuable to miss, so I focused on knowledge rather than rewards.'

'Personal circumstances prevented me - partner's commitments, unable to move location, young family, elderly parent, etc.'

The interviewer could also be asking this to assess your real level of interest in accepting the position. Organizations only want to go through the recruiting process once so when they make an offer they want to be 100% certain it will be accepted.

Why have you changed jobs so frequently?
You should be honest but structured in your reply giving sound explanations for the number of changes. You should also show that you maximized the opportunities each change presented. It is not unrealistic for some of those reasons to have been out of your control, such as:
1. Your role ceased to exist following a merger or acquisition.
2. Closure or relocation of the organization.
3. An organizational restructure left you in a stagnant or unchallenging role you weren't willing to accept.

It is better to avoid this potential question by ensuring that you application items and in particular your personal statement have removed the concern behind it.

Carrer change questions

Why were you made redundant?
Just give a short explanation of the circumstances that led to the redundancies - for example, downsizing, outsourcing, offshoring, or restructuring, and why your particular role or department was affected. This is not something to be ashamed of: it is a common occurrence in today's economic environment.

What happened to result in your dismissal?
If you have been dismissed, then you need to give an honest and objective answer explaining the circumstances.

Avoid blaming your previous manager or organization, as this will make you appear disloyal. The way you present the situation is key and will demonstrate your attitude towards your responsibilities and accountability.
NOTE: If you are facing an unfair dismissal or sacking it is best to negotiate a fair or standard reference from the organization before you leave to avoid this appearing on your resume.

You may also be interested in:
Interview Questions | Interview Behavior | Capability Questions | Commitment Questions | Compatibility Questions | Questions About Your Self-Image | Questions About Your Application | Questions You Should Ask.

Key Points

  • These questions can indicate an inconsistency between your application and something that you have said.
  • The interviewer may also be concerned about something and is looking for reassurance.
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