So what is this one question?
It’s slightly different for every person—and every position. But one thing about this question is the same… it starts out like this:
Do you have experience doing … (insert whatever responsibility, duty, etc. that the employer is looking to find in someone).
Employers want to know that you have the experience and the ability to perform the essential functions of the job.
And you can usually tell where their biggest “hurts” are by the questions they ask during the interview. If they need someone with special expertise or experience in a given area, they’re going to make sure they ask you about that experience. So how do you answer this all-important question in the best way possible?
Tell Them About a Time When …
The first way that you can respond to the ‘experience question’ is to use an example from your past experience about a time when you did XYZ—and of course … the successful turnout that resulted. This is the best-case scenario when answering the ‘experience question’. But what do you do if you don’t have the experience they’re asking about? Then how do you answer?
Tell Them You’re Confident
Just because you’ve never done something doesn’t mean you can’t do it. And it surely doesn’t mean you can’t excel at it. If you’re asked a question about prior experience regarding something you’ve never done, the best way to answer isn’t to say “No, I’ve never done that.” Or, “No, I don’t have experience in that area.”
The best way to handle the question is to say something along these lines: While I have not had any direct experience in XYZ, I am a fast learner, and I am confident that I could (do, manage, direct, handle, etc.) XYZ successfully and exceed your expectations. And an effective way to enhance your previous confident response would be to share with the hiring manager about a time when you did do something very similar—or something that could in some way relate to the experience they are asking you about.
However, no matter how you approach the question, be sure to emphasize that you’re confident you can do whatever it is they’re asking you about.
It makes a potential employer feel better to know that you’re confident in your abilities and talents—and it’s also a far better alternative than just telling them, “No, I don’t know how to do that,” and possibly excluding yourself from consideration. As I mentioned earlier, just because you haven’t done something previously doesn’t mean you can’t do it … or never will be able to … And who knows? With time, you may even do it very well!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Great Resumes Fast!
About the Author: A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. With more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, she has developed innovative and proven resume development, and personal branding strategies to generate powerful results for clients. As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted on CNN.com, Monster.com, Job Talk America radio, SmartBrief, International Business Times, and more. Jessica has her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of North Florida. Contact Jessica on Twitter!