An interviewer who asks you this question is likely trying to determine your priorities in the workplace. For example, if you were to respond that the best job you’ve had was at a candy store because you have a sweet tooth, it might not bode well if you’re applying to work as an administrative professional.
However, stating that you enjoyed working in the candy store for the variety of responsibilities, the interaction with people, and the steady schedule can mean a whole lot more to a prospective employer. Be honest, but tie in some relevant job-related characteristics in your description.
Points to Emphasize
Remember you’re discussing the best job you’ve had, not necessarily your favorite. They might be one in the same, but don’t confuse the two.
- Enthusiasm is good; discussing the best job you’ve had with little emotion sounds disingenuous or unengaged.
- Talk about what made the job great: the people, the location, the company, etc.
- Focus on what you learned from the work experience in addition to what you enjoyed about it.
- Discuss the challenges as well as the enjoyable aspects of the job.
Showing the interviewer that you value a job for reasons other than personal interest or enjoyment is definitely recommended.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
It’s easy to have a little too much fun answering a question like this, so be sure to keep yourself focused. Avoid these potential pitfalls:
- Be genuinely positive—don’t convey that your best job was simply the one you disliked the least.
- Focus on work-related items; if your best job was the one with longest lunch breaks, your interviewer will not be impressed.
- Don’t compare against jobs that you didn’t care for as much. Avoid negativity in general.
- Find similarities between your best job and the one you’re interviewing for. Don’t talk about loving a job that let you sleep in late when applying for one that starts at 6 A.M.
Overall, have some fun but make sure to keep your response professional and focused.
When asked to detail the best job you have worked, consider submitting an answer along these lines:
The best job I’ve had was working at the local Humane Society two years ago. I enjoy working with animals, and helping them find loving homes was very gratifying. There were plenty of different types of job duties to keep things interesting and I also had the chance to work with some great people.
The above response would be acceptable regardless of whether the applicant was seeking a job in animal care specifically, as it still touches on general job elements even while highlighting an important personal priority.