How to answer the interview question: ‘What will you miss about your last job?’
Don’t be too sentimental in your response to this job interview Q. Remember: You’re applying for a new job.
Like most questions in a job interview, the question, “What will you miss about your last job?” is really about you, not your previous employer.
Interviewers ask this question to learn about your professionalism, your attitude and to get a sense of whether you will be a cultural fit for the job, says Lori Scherwin, founder of the New York City-based career coaching business Strategize That. Also, interviewers are always looking for creative ways to ask why you left your last job or are looking to leave your current job, says Ahmed Elsayyad, CEO of health care consultants Elsayyad Medical Group in Baltimore, Maryland. This question can be another way for an interviewer to find out more about why you want out.
Remember to keep your answer positive. If you hated your last job, don’t blurt out that you won’t miss anything about it! Use the following approach to answer this question in a way that will help your candidacy.
Mention skills that will transfer easily
When discussing what you’ll miss about your last job, try to incorporate skills or challenges that you can apply to the position you’re interviewing for, Scherwin says. Choose something that you learned that will help you in a new role. Say you’ll miss applying the specific management training and experience you got at your prior job. Then mention that you look forward to carrying that skill set over in your new position, she suggests.
“Hard as it may be if the wounds are fresh from a job you couldn’t stand, try to recall what first excited you about that role and talk to that experience,” Scherwin says. “If you simply cannot recall anything positive about working there, consider what you learned about the experience of hating your job and reframe it into a positive, i.e. ‘My role at ABC company gave me a lot of opportunity to balance challenges and taught me about problem solving.’”
You say: “I learned how to project manage at my last job, and I’ll miss handling that on a day-to-day basis at [name of company].”
Mention a person or people you will miss
Discussing people that you grew to admire or became professionally close to and will stay in touch with can help show that you’re not difficult to get along with, says April Masini, relationship, etiquette and career expert for the New York City-based AskApril.com. Even if you weren’t especially fond of your direct co-workers, there should be someone from your former job you can talk positively about.
“You don’t have to let on that that person was the janitor or company cafeteria worker,” she says. “What’s important is that you show you can establish relationships and create continuity beyond the confines of a particular job parameter.”
You say: “Also, I will miss the morning team meeting with my co-workers each day. I was motivated by their energy, and by that process. Maybe I could bring that to this role.”
Mention the office’s culture
Go into your interview knowing a little something about the culture at the company you’re applying to. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to make positive comparisons between your old company and the one you’re applying to. For example, if the new company has an open-office environment, you can say that you’ll miss the privacy of your cubicle, but you’ve always wanted to work in an open-office layout.
If you’re moving on for a pay raise, don’t talk about the skimpy paychecks that you won’t miss or you’ll just sound greedy, Masini says. Instead, tell the interviewer you’ll miss the startup feel of your last job, but that you’re ready to move on to something bigger.
You say: “That morning meeting got us out of our cubes, but since your office is open I don’t foresee that being an issue. It seems the culture is already pretty great here.”
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