There are a myriad of ways the employer can explore your preference
for certain types of work in an effort to determine your motivation
to perform the job for which you are being interviewed. The
following presents a good smattering of interview questions
typically used by the interviewer to thoroughly explore this
- From the standpoint of content, which of your past jobs
have you enjoyed most? Why?
- As far as content is concerned, which of your
past jobs did
you least enjoy? Why?
- What type of work do you find rewarding and stimulating?
- What type of work do you
find least rewarding and stimulating?
- Which of your past jobs provided the
most interesting challenges?
What were these challenges? What made them interesting?
- Which of your past jobs did
you find least challenging? Why?
What did you find unchallenging? What factors influenced your
- How would you describe the type of work you
most like to
- How would you characterize the type
of work that you least
- How would you compare the type of work you did at Berringer
Corporation with the job content of your position at Weston
Company? Which did you like better? Why? Which did you like
- In which of your past positions were you
and productive? What work factors accounted for your motivation?
Which of these most affected your positive feelings? The absence
of what factors also contributed to your positive outlook?
- Describe the type of work you would find
from a professional standpoint.
- Describe the type of work you would find least satisfying
from a professional standpoint.
- What are some of the criteria you are using to determine
whether or not a given job will be of interest to you?
- What has past work experience taught you about the type
of work you most enjoy doing?
- What has such experience taught you about the kind of work
you least like doing?
- What aspects of your current position do you find
- What aspects of your current position do you find least
- With what aspects of your past job at the XX Company were
you most comfortable?
- With what aspects of this same position were you most uncomfortable?
- From the standpoint of job content, what factors most influence
your level of job satisfaction? Which enhance satisfaction?
Which diminish satisfaction?
- From the standpoint of job content, how would you describe
your "ideal job"?
The Classic Answers
The following can serve as examples
of ways this series of questions might be answered effectively:
1. "Actually, Barbara, I have enjoyed certain aspects of
all of the positions I have held. It is difficult to pick
one that I enjoyed least. I suppose in drawing a fine
line of distinction between the positions, I would have
to choose the position at Hawthorne Company. Although
I generally liked this job, it was fairly well-defined
and there did not appear to be as much flexibility to
bring about changes as some of the other positions I have
held. I suppose this was a drawback, but certainly not
a serious one."
2. "Jobs that I find most rewarding and stimulating are those
where I have the opportunity to use a combination of analytical
and creative skills. My psychological profile rates me
particularly strong in both categories. I tend to thrive
in those jobs offering the opportunity to tackle major,
long-standing problems that the employer has a strong
desire to solve. This tends to challenge and stimulate
(Note: This answer assumes that the job for which the
candidate is interviewing provides these kinds of challenges.)"
3. "Of the positions I have held, the job that I most liked
was Manager of Technical Employment for Jones Chemical
Corporation. Jones was doubling its size in two years,
requiring me to recruit better than 200 engineers to support
I tend to like jobs that are demanding and require get-
ting a lot of work done in a fairly short timeframe. I
like the problem-solving challenge of figuring out creative
ways to get the job done, even when it would appear to
be an all-but-impossible task. By the way, I was able
to fill all 200 positions in the time required to meet
the project deadlines."
Notice, in these answers, how the candidate tended to emphasize
the positive and reemphasize the negative when discussing "least
liked" positions. Care was taken to avoid saying he or
she disliked the job. Instead, the candidate presented a more
balanced view, stating that there were certain aspects of the
job that he or she liked as well.
You will also notice, when describing most-liked jobs, how the
candidates in these examples took this opportunity to further
market particular skills and assets that related to the aspects
of the job that he or she most enjoyed.