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Whether it is during an initial phone screen or the actual interview, you will probably be asked the question “what are/were your responsibilities at your current/previous position?” How you answer this question will play a critical role in how the rest of the interview will flow.

First, why are you being asked this question? There are a couple of reasons this question is still one of the most popular questions among recruiters/hiring managers. One it is a way to find out where you are going in your career; are you searching for a more challenging position or is it a lateral move in which you just want to change companies or try a different industry. Secondly, it is important because it will show the person interviewing you how your experience translates into the position you applied for. 

Below are tips on how to answer this question:

  • We established that the interviewer wants to see how your previous experience translates into their position, so make sure you connect the two positions by emphasizing similar skills of their position.


  • When discussing your responsibilities, highlight your past responsibilities that relate to the main requirements of the position you are interviewing for. Tailor your answers so you can show without a doubt that you have the qualifications and can be successful in the position you are interviewing for.


  • Only talk about responsibilities relevant to the position. If you begin talking about past responsibilities that have nothing to do with the position you are interviewing for, you will sound like you are rambling. This will make no sense and be a negative with the interviewer.


  • If you were promoted or handled extra responsibilities within your previous position, you can discuss how your position evolved.


  • Don’t memorize your resume, they already reviewed the information on your resume. This question is asked for you to go into more detail and connect the dots for the interviewer about your responsibilities and accomplishments. Your answer should have them envisioning you in their position.


  • Always speak positive about your current or previous position. Regardless of the reason of why you are leaving, you never want to bad mouth another employer in an interview.


Avoid these Mistakes

You can get carried away with this question, so use the tips below to avoid problem areas.

  • Don’t give too much information. Tell them what you are going to tell them and stop talking. You do not need to go into details about your job move.  Only focus on the position you are interviewing for.  If the interviewer would like more information, they will ask follow up questions.
  • Don’t job duty dump. What I mean is don’t list every job duty that you did at your past position, everyone has menial work that they have to do within their position. Don’t focus on that past experience; you should only focus on the particular responsibilities that relate to the position you are interviewing for.
  • Showcase your accomplishments. In an interview, people get nervous or don’t want to come off as bragging so they minimize what they have accomplished. You need to state your accomplishments, just don’t become repetitive.


You will need to be prepared to answer this question, more in likely a recruiter/hiring manager will ask this question to determine if you would be a good fit for the job opening.  This is your chance to show that you are the perfect candidate for the position and stand out from the other job candidates.

If you need help with answering this question and other questions, Click Here for a Mock Interview with one of our Career Specialists, plus get sample answers to this question as it relates to your previous experience. You have one chance to get the job; being prepared is how you will ace the interview!