21 answers

How do you reply to a interview question that is best answered if you have prior experience? (First job interview)

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I have a upcoming Lenovo internship and I am currently preparing for the interview. #computer-science #computer-software #engineering #career #information-technology #job-application

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21 answers

Cody’s Answer

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As a general rule for interview questions; be honest, be yourself, and do your best to answer the questions. A big part of interviews is getting a feel for how you respond to questions, as much as it is your answers to those questions. I could give you a better answer if I knew what question in particular you are thinking of. However, for the general case, let your interviewer know that you don't have industry experience, but then go on to answer the question to the best of your ability - and be sure to let them know why you think that way.


Also, don't hesitate to use experiences at school, on personal projects, or at other jobs (outside industry) to answer questions like these. Your experience working on a group project at school for example might be just as valuable to the interviewer as industry experience, at least for determining things like how you work with others, are you a leader or a loyal follower, do you take instruction well, and do you learn from you experiences.


Hope that helps at least a little bit.

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Sandra’s Answer

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Hi Alex! I agree wholeheartedly with Cody's response above. A lot of people limit themselves to only using "work" experience when experiences from school, volunteering, church, etc are just as good! First be sure you clearly understand what the interviewing is asking and remember that it is perfectly fine to take some time to quickly think through all of your experiences so you can provide the most relevant example. And definitely don't apologize if your response isn't from a paid position. Be confident that the experiences you've gained from a variety of circumstances have all led you to get the interview!


Best of luck!
Sandra

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Christian’s Answer

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Great question! We've all faced this situation at some point(s) in our life and career.

As several people have mentioned before me, everyone have some sort of experience. It may not be as a professional but try to turn their question into a situation you've experience in life, how you solved a problem or situation and how that impacted other people around you.

If you are being called to an interview, the recruiter already know that you don't have experience in various areas and in many cases they are looking to see how you are reacting and responding to the question.

Honesty may be your most important asset. Recruiter and other professionals will see through most lies and it can only damage your possibility of getting the job not being honest.


Christian recommends the following next steps:

  • Be confident! You are you and you were called to the interview for that exact reason
  • Be honest, can't stress this enough! Lies won't give you that job, being you will.
  • Be prepared! Prepare a couple of life events you know have affected you and use them as examples for questions like these.
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Jason’s Answer

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Interviewers have a good sense of your experience level coming into the interview, based on your resume. That question is used to hear you speak about your background and how you relate that background to the job for which you are interviewing. Maybe two things to think about when presented with that question: 1) how can you relate your experiences with the skills needed for the job? If "project management" is required, can you talk about examples where you organized and led a project from beginning to completion. What went well? What didn't go well? 2) tell a story with examples. Keep it crisp and to the point

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Bill’s Answer

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Look to see if you have had a similar job or experience. For example, if the interviewer asks how well you did as a waiter, tell them that you were never a waiter but you were a bank teller and you loved serving people and solving fulfilling their requests.

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Kim’s Answer

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You can try to relate the question to something you do have experience with. A lot of interview questions are now situational; “tell me about a time that you....”. You don’t necessarily have to have on the job experience and can use an example from something you do have experience with. For example, if you were asked “tell me about a time that you lead a project”. If you do not have any career experience, you could use an example from school, or a club you were involved in. Remember to always use the STAR method to answer (Situation - what happened, Task - what was your responsibility, Action - what did you do, Results - what was the outcome.) Also, remember the outcome doesn’t always have to be positive. However, if you had an outcome other than what you would have hoped for or expected, what did you learn from the situation and how did it change you may have acted in the future.
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Jen’s Answer

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Hi, I also agree with the comments above. First, be very honest when asked about relavant work experience but be quick to mention any life experiences you have had that relate to the area that they are interested in. It's also important that you provide specific examples of what you did and what the final outcome was of your efforts (achievements). I recommend to my employees who are interviewing for positions, to spend time prior to the interview thinking of these examples and what the impact was. I'm sure that if you give this some careful consideration before the interview, you will find that you can cite examples from team/individual sports, school projects, clubs/organizations, etc. Good luck!
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Stefan’s Answer

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You may not have prior work experience but you do have prior experience whether it be a project or assignment you worked on or some person experience you have had. As others have said be yourself and draw upon your personal experiences. Be honest and do be afraid to explain that you have yet to encounter something but based upon your personal experience you would view it this way...

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Joanne’s Answer

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Hi,


I agree with the responses above too.


Look them in the eye and twist the answer to your advantage.


For example,


Q: "Do you know java programming?"
A: " No, however, I have coded a cost efficient, time saving program in c++"


Your resume got you to the interview.


Now, it's an exercise of people skills and the ability to think on your feet under pressure.


Joanne

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Ranga’s Answer

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You can cite school projects or volunteer projects. Be prepared to explain your specific role and how you contributed to the success of the projects or events

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George’s Answer

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I like your question. If you don't have specific job experience, then you honestly reply by your life experiences.
For example, if the question has to do with handling a budget, you could tell them that you have save money from your lawn mowing or baby siting or other jobs to the point you are ready to get a real job.
I always say to stay calm and relaxed but be dressed good and hair brushed or combed. Be attentive and take a breath before answering.
You cannot lie, if you don't have the experience and cannot relate any life experience to the question, just admit it. Being honest is best.
Pray before you get to the interview and ask for peace and look like your very interested in the job your interviewing for. Don't let your mind wonder.

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Meena’s Answer

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Always be honest in letting them know when you are asked something you have not worked on, while quoting examples of similar work you have done, if any.
Relating to real time examples always helps.


Having sad that, don't let this affect your ability to go through rest of the interview. They know what you did or did not work on and still invited you for an interview!

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Nithin’s Answer

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Be confident in what ever you are answering. Any kind of uncertainty in your answer can lead to a negativity in the minds of the interviewer.
Focus well on the questions and answer accordingly.
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Chris’s Answer

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Life experience is relevant in job interviews, feel free to draw from it. The actual experience itself is less what is important, more the understanding of the experience and learning are relevant to yourself and the position. For example, both a part time job at a grocery store, as well as working in a corporation will have 'critical' moments. Hence you can talk about how you handled a critical situation regardless of the situation, and highlight your learning and performance.

Also if you do not feel you have anything relevant, then highlight it is a shortcoming you are aware of and show your self-awareness. Then highlight how you would like to grow in that area, and plans for doing so.

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Devin’s Answer

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Everyone starts somewhere and in most cases that means there is no prior experience. When faced with a question related to prior experience, it is a good tactic to tie it to a past experience of your own. For instance, talk to your previous job or internship. You can then tie in the fact that while you were in that position, everything was new to you. Despite the fact that you had no experience, you were able to learn the necessary skills to excel in during your time with that company. Painting a picture like this will allow you to avoid saying that you have no prior experience. However, it will allow you to highlight your ability to learn new skills quickly in order to excel in a role that you have no prior experience in.

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Thomas’s Answer

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Best answer to interview question is to answer with examples on what you did to resolve an issue or how you approached new challenges.

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Dawnyale’s Answer

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It's always a good idea to have a few great work or school experiences to pull from that shows your interviewer that you qualified to be successful in the job. Think of any school projects, volunteer activities or work-related projects in which you were instrumental in the success of the assignment. Don't forget to fully describe your input in the situation and how that attributed to the end results. Good luck to you!

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Amanda’s Answer

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I also agree with the previous answers. It does not have to be experience from the industry. Student organizations, class projects, and volunteer work are all experiences you can pull from to answer the questions. If they are interviewing you they know you do not have industry experience. They do not expect your answers to be from industry experience. Be as active as possible to prepare yourself for interviews. Join a student org and actually be an active member. Run for an officer position. Volunteer at a local non-profit. They love someone who can help them with their website, database, or update their computers. Even situations from part-time jobs are great interview answers.

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Kimberly D (Attops)’s Answer

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Being honest is the best answer during any interview. But as some others have stated, if asked about an prior experience, if you don't have the experience, highlight what you do have experience in.

Kimberly D (Attops) recommends the following next steps:

  • Be sure to introduce yourself, shake hands and look them in the eyes.
  • At the end of the interview be sure and thank them for the interview.
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John’s Answer

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I would recommend taking the advice above about being genuine, polite, presentable etc. In addition, I would format your question appropriately to appeal to the interviewer and what they are looking for out of the question. I would start with a standard BAR and/or STAR format of Background (Situation/Task), Action, and Resolution. You can use an example from previous jobs, college etc in this portion of the answer but the KEY is making sure its relevant to the question the interviewer asked even if it's not directly relevant in terms of work experience. Then to make sure the interviewer understands that connection, after you give the resolution to the SPECIFIC example, add in 1. What you learned from this example, experience, situation. 2. How you can apply what you learned to the role you are applying for to add value to the interviewers team.

Understanding what the interviewer values will be part of your prep work for the interview. Do this by reaching out to ask the interviewer, doing market research to understand pain points and trends, and understanding what this role does specifically in the company prior to your interview.

Example: Tell me about where you solved a complex problem? In this example, you talk about a time when you had to figure out a complex computer coding assignment in college (this is simplified to demonstrate the point).
Situation: My teacher gave us a difficult task Task: The task was to solve for this coding error. Actions: The steps you took to solve the error and why (in depth detail needed here) Resolution: I fixed the error.
Then the WHY this example was used>> What I learned was that I need to reach out to peers, and ask for help when I run into an error that I am having issues solving. How I can apply that to your position is that I will be coming in as an entry level technician and I know that there will be more tenured peers I can communicate and collaborate with to ensure I don't get hung up on issues.

Hope this helps! And good luck in your interviews!
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TV’s Answer

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Hello Alex,

Good question! I like your thought process behind asking this question and it is good to see that you are preparing hard for this interview and covering everything (leaving no stone unturned).

In case you don't have any prior experience the only way to approach the interview is being brutally honest and diplomatic to all the questions that are asked to you. Additionally, you should use your life experiences to draw an analogy to answer the question. For instance, if you are asked if you can take ownership of some work or supervise it till it's completion, you can tell the interviewer how you exhibited your leadership skills in school or any other workplace and what were your achievements.

In a nutshell, be confident with your answers and to questions that you can't figure out an answer, reply that "I don't know but I am capable of finding answers to them."

Good luck with all the interviews in your life :)

Regards.

TV recommends the following next steps:

  • Be confident
  • Relate your life experience while answering questions about your non-technical skills (like leadership, honesty, presentation etc)
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