If you go to a job interview, it’s common for an interviewer to ask ‘what will you miss most about your last job?’. By asking this question, they get a more in-depth insight into what you really liked about your last job. When you’re asked to answer such a specific job interview question, it might catch you off guard. This is why you should practice your answers before the interview. Practice can help you land the job you want.
When the interviewer asks about your previous job, and what you will miss most about it you might get thoughts about how this is relevant about the job you’re applying for. The reason for asking about your previous job is to gain more knowledge about your skills, abilities, and how you prefer to work. Basically, the interviewer asks this to see how your previous job can help you succeed in the job that you’re aiming to get in the company.
Why is the interviewer asking about your previous job experience?
As stated in the intro, this question is not asked to get information about your past employer but to get more information about you. Interviewers want to gain insights into your professionalism, attitude towards work, and whether you’ll be a good cultural fit for their company. In short, asking about what you will miss most about your previous job is a creative way to find out why you left your last job or why you are looking to leave your current job.
Always keep in mind that when you answer such questions that you keep your answer positive. For instance, if you thoroughly disliked your previous job, don’t start rambling on how you won’t miss a thing and that you’re glad that you left the place. Try to incorporate skills that can also be applied to the position that you’re applying for currently. If your answer includes something that you learned that would also benefit you in your new role this will show the interviewer that you thought your job application through.
What points to focus on and what to avoid when discussing what you miss most about your last job
Just like every other job interview question, there are answers that can be recommended, and there are answers and topics that you should avoid.
Points to focus on:
As a rule of thumb, make sure that your answers are short and informative for the interviewer. Highlight positive aspects of your last job that you would like to experience again in a new company. When discussing situations, make sure that you pick the ones out that helped you grow and learn as a professional. Also, describing responsibilities and tasks that you can connect to the new job is always a good element to include.
Mention skills and abilities that are easily transferable
If you connect your old job to the new position that you’re applying for this shows the interviewer that you’re familiar with the requirements asked. Include skills and challenges that will help you in the new role, should you get hired. When mentioning this, you can tell the interviewer that you look forward to carrying the skillset over to the new position. For instance, if you got specific management or coaching training and you implemented this in your team, you can bring up that you miss applying these.
Mention certain persons that you will miss
If you have certain colleagues that you will miss or if you have a mentor in the company, you can mention this. It’s always a good idea to discuss people that you bonded with on a professional level to show that you’re easy to get along with. It also shows that you already have a network of people around you that you could work together with in the future. Even if you did not get along with everybody at your previous job, there is always a (former) colleague that you stay in touch with or who you can talk about positively. It’s a great asset to be able to build relationships, and the interviewer will see this as well.
Discuss the company culture
The culture of the company is also something you can discuss when being asked about what you will miss about your last job. If the company culture of your previous employer is similar to the company that you’re applying to you can compare them and mention what you liked about the previous job that you also see in the new company. For instance, if you used to work in open floor plans or cubicles, you can discuss this.
Prepare for follow-up questions
If you discuss what you miss about your last job, prepare to be asked follow-up questions. There is a good chance that the interviewer will ask about specific details that you mentioned during your answers.
For instance, ‘you told us that you’re always looking to improve processes within a company or team. Can you give an example of a time when you did that in your previous job?’ Make sure that you are able to provide a concise and to-the-point answer in which you discuss the situation, what actions you took, and what the (positive) outcome of your actions was. Do this according to the STAR-method.
What to avoid:
Avoid any answer that may be interpreted as unprofessional. Just like there are many right answers to the question about what you will miss most about your last job, there are also many poor answers. First off, don’t get sentimental when talking about your previous job, especially not since you’re applying to a new job now. It’s also never a good idea to heavily criticize the company and colleagues you used to work with.
What should speak for itself but still is noteworthy to mention: don’t emphasize how you will miss your high salary or that you can’t wait to leave that boring and lowing paying job. These are answers you should avoid at all time because it will give the interviewer the idea that you’re not there for the right reasons.
Sample answers to ‘What Will You Miss Most About Your Last Job?’
Sample answer 1:
‘I was able to work with my colleagues really well, and we build strong relationships in my previous job. By working closely together, we were able to make progress quicker and serve our clients better. Within the company, I was given different opportunities to utilize my skills. Based on the job description, I deduced that your company would give me the same opportunities, which is something that I’m really excited about.’
Sample answer 2:
‘In my previous job, I got to work on my leadership skills, which were new to me at the time, so that was an exciting opportunity. I’ve been with that company for over three years and enjoyed the experience and colleagues that I worked with. However, to take the next step in my career, I feel that I need to join a larger organization to further develop my leadership skills. I enjoyed working on smaller projects but to grow as a professional now is the time to put what I’ve learned into more challenging projects.’
Sample answer 3:
‘During my previous job, I got more responsibilities, and after finishing my MBA, I got to lead a team as a project manager. My colleagues were supportive, and I still talk to most of them. I will miss handling managing projects on a day-to-day basis and the meetings in the morning with my co-workers. I’m highly motivated by energetic people that have similar goals as myself.’
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic