You're interviewing, and the hiring manager asks:

What were your responsibilities at your last position?

This should be straightforward, but you find yourself stumbling over your answer.

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  • Do you bring up how you budgeted a project that one time?

  • Or how you set up Slack when everyone in your tiny office went remote?

  • Or that you ran an icebreaker session for last year's interns?

You want to highlight how your current responsibilities align to this role but do any of these relate to the role you're interviewing for?

Flaticon Icon Ugh! If only you had prepared for this!

Step 1: Research

Research the typical responsibilities of the job you are interviewing for.

What to look at:

  • The job description you applied to

  • Previous people who held the job (you can look for them on LinkedIn or in professional associations)

  • Informational interviews with people who have held similar positions

  • Descriptions for similar jobs

Flaticon Icon With phone and web-based interviews taking precedence, you can keep these notes with you during the interview!

Step 2: Match

Compare the list you made to your current responsibilities.

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What to look for:

  • Identify what responsibilities are the same

  • Identify those that are indirectly related

  • Look for keywords that match, but make sure that the responsibility and description match in intent as well

  • Look for responsibilities that are unique to your current role that would add value to the role you want

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Paz worked as a set designer for her community theater, and she is applying to be an exhibit designer for the local history museum.

Job Description:

  • Read exhibit plans and modify as needed to fit the exhibit space

  • Handle fragile, historically significant museum artifacts of small and medium-size safely during installation, using safe lifting techniques and tools

  • Construct exhibit pieces using various tools and techniques

Help Paz determine the three best aligning responsibilities:

A. Designed the large set pieces for four different plays over the last year, taking into account the different stage needs

B. Built set pieces to plan using a range of power and hand-held tools

C. Maintained the integrity of vintage and antique set pieces (e.g. furniture) using standard theatre best-practices

D. Coordinated the timing and movements of set pieces, including scenery


Which responses should Paz prepare for the interview?


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Kat interned in a robotics engineering lab near eir university, and ey is applying for a full-time, paid position in the same lab.

Job Description:

  • Familiarity with maintaining a high level of sterility in areas with small electronics

  • Report and present research findings

  • Support manufacturing with hardware integration

Help Kat determine the three best aligning responsibilities:

A. Collect questions from the manufacturing team and ask clarifying follow-up questions to draft answers for further review and elaboration by eir mentor

B. Integrate software for sensors used in a new manufacturing logging system designed by eir mentor

C. Clean and maintain tools for microelectronics projects, including confirming that they are free from dust or other contaminants

D. Report results from daily internship tasks, and present an overview at the end of the internship


Which experience best aligns for Kat?

Take Action

Preparing in advance will help you describe your past or current job responsibilities in the context of the requirements of the job you're interviewing for and help you illustrate you have the skills and experience for the job.

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