You might be asked this question during your job interview. It’s a common interview question and it can be tricky to answer. Let’s look at how to answer this question so that you can sound like a confident and well-prepared candidate.
The question: “How much experience do you have?”
Your answer: “How much experience do I have? I just graduated from business school two months ago and, as a senior, I’ve been running my own business for the past two years. So, I guess that makes me the perfect candidate for this position. Actually, I’ve prepared a few responses to this question and I thought you might find them interesting.”
If you’re answering this question during your job interview, what will your recruiter/hiring manager be thinking?
First, they’ll be thinking you’re a confident and well-prepared candidate. You’re giving the impression that you’ve got this question answered already and you’re not going to flounder when it comes up during the interview. They might even be a little bit impressed with your answer.
Another good answer to this question would be: “I’ve been working in the field for eight years now. Before that, I worked in operations for a Fortune 500 company and, before that, I was an office junior. I have ample experience and I’m confident I can add great value to the organization.”
Notice that these are both good answers. But the truth is that you’ve only got one chance to impress your recruiter/hiring manager and, so far, you’re not doing a great job. You need to nail this question and give a powerful answer.
Here’s where preparation comes in. You need to study the question and, quite honestly, come up with the best possible answer. There is no mistake in answering this question with “I have three years of industry experience.” But if you’re saying that in a lackluster way, it won’t sound powerful. It might even sound a bit arrogant. Do you want to sound arrogant? Because it’s quite possible that you do. Believe it or not, your recruiter/hiring manager isn’t as impressed as you’d like them to be. The purpose of this question is for your recruiter/hiring manager to determine how much experience you have. Not how much you could learn from the position.
Do you see how crucial it is to prepare the perfect answer to this question? You’ll sound like a confident and well-prepared candidate, and quite honestly, that’s what you want your recruiter/hiring manager to believe. Don’t worry; we’ve all been there. Most importantly, make sure that you’re not lying to them. If you’re embellishing your resume a little bit, they’ll be able to tell. Believe it or not, a recruiter’s instinct is to disbelieve you. If they don’t believe you, you won’t get the job.
So, how are you going to answer this question?
There are three basic steps to answering this question successfully.
Step one: Look at the question from the perspective of a potential employer.
You need to take the perspective of a potential employer and consider their needs. From their point of view, what do they want to know?
Start by taking a quick look at the question itself. What does it mean? Is it an open-ended or a closed-ended question? Take a few moments to think about this. Is it a fair question? Does it make sense to you?
Most importantly, from the perspective of a potential employer, consider their needs. What do they want to know about you? What are they looking for?
Step two: Identify your strongest skills and areas of expertise.
Now that you have the question in mind, it’s time to identify your strongest skills and areas of expertise. This is where you would normally put down your professional experience. Remember: they’re not going to see your resume. This is something that is only uncovered during the interview process. It’s your chance to showcase your abilities. So, take your time and consider what you would say if the question was asked to you during an interview. Start by listing your strongest skills.
For example, if you’re an operations manager who has a need for administrative support, an answer like: “I’m strong in administration and planning. I’ve got a strong mathematical background and I’m very detail-oriented. So, I’d say that my skills are strong in administration, planning and mathematical analysis.”
If you’re referring to more than one skill, use parallel sentences. For example: “I’m strong in administration and planning. I’ve also got a strong mathematical background and am detail-oriented. So, I’d say that my skills are strong in administration, planning and mathematical analysis.”
Step three: Back it up with examples.
Finally, you need to back up your claims with examples. So, if you’ve got strong skills in administration, planning and mathematical analysis, why not show them off? To do this, simply cite specific examples from your work history. If you’re unable to provide any specific examples, you can always say something like: “I’m confident that with my skills and experience, I can do any task that comes my way.”
Hopefully, you’ve gotten the idea by now. You need to study the question carefully and come up with the best possible answer. Don’t worry; this isn’t as difficult as it seems. Take your time and do it right. You’ll sound like a confident and well-prepared candidate.