Best Responses to Common Interview Questions

Bill writes:
What would be your best answers to the interview questions below?

  1. Why did you quit your last job?
  2. May I contact your current employer?
  3. How long will you stay with us?


The Career Doctor responds:
Before I get to your questions let me state something I have mentioned previously in
this blog. Job-seekers must always view the job interview as a sales call. You are
a salesperson selling your unique mix of talents skills and accomplishments to a
prospective employer. The employer is doing a little selling as well but the burden
is on you to make yourself look like the best candidate for the position.
With that idea in mind here you go:

  1. It doesn’t really matter why you left your last job; you must answer the
    question positively keeping the focus on your accomplishments (but not whining
    about it) such as: “I had reached a point within my job where I had achieved both
    my and my employer’s goals and mastered all the skills for the position. And while
    I would have enjoyed staying with the company there was unfortunately no room for
    advancement with someone with my skills and abilities and they did not have the
    resources to create a new position.”
  2. It really depends on how you feel about it and whether your current employer
    knows your conducting a job search. One way: “While my employer will vouch for
    everything I’ve stated and accomplished the company does not know I am currently
    looking and I would rather wait until I have a firm offer to give proper notice rather than
    having a prospective employer do it for me. You are more than welcome of course to
    contact any of my references.”
  3. This question is often asked of job-seekers with a number of short job stints
    on their resumes. Of course no one ever knows how long s/he is going to stay on a
    job but the employer wants reassurance. You could say: “I plan on staying for as
    long as I can continue making a positive impact on the future growth of this organization
    while being compensated fairly and gaining increasing levels of responsibility and for as
    long as the organization wants me here.”

Don’t forget that there are LOTS of job interviewing resources available at –
for free to all job-seekers. One of the best resources is the job interview question database where we
list the most common interview questions posed to experienced job-seekers and new college
grads. Check out all of our interviewing resources.
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