Interview Question

#1 Interview Question You Must Answer Correctly


There are hundreds of questions interviewers can ask potential employees… but there’s one interview question you could be answering in a way that is costing you the job – and you don’t even know it! So, what’s this one question?

Related: How To Answer 7 Of The Most Common Interview Questions

It’s 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. the employer is looking to find in someone)?”

Employers want to know 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 interview question in the best way possible?

Tell Them About A Time When…

The first way 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!

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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How To Answer Tough Interview Questions Effectively
Top 3 Interview Questions You Should Ask
5 Ways To Build Confidence For An Interview

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez | Expert Resume Writer & Personal Branding Strategist

About the author

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at or contact us for more information if you have any questions.

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Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.


  1. The answer format to “Tell me about a time when…” is called the C.A.R. answer…challenge, action, result. Prepare a number of these “CAR” answers before an interview, covering the most important areas of the job, as you understand them. If the question is on something different, then do your best to relate your experience (CAR) to the topic. Interviewers want to hear that “you have done something like this before and can do it again for us here at XYZ Inc.”

  2. Idealogical Article.

    Employers don’t want people, they want unrealistic results. And they don’t know if the person they hire will deliver, usually through much personal sacrifice, until they’re on the job at least 6 months. To suggest an employer can sniff that out in an interview is a delusion.

    • If it’s any consolation, Joe P., I wouldn’t ask you to hire ME because based on your response it wouldn’t be ME you wanted, but rather a warm body with average brain capacity and working digits.

      I live for the day to see you haughty hiring managers bite the dirt while real people rise up to work with one another for the love of their fellows, instead of fear for lack of a paycheck. CAREEREALISM? PLEASE. Your attitude is no more REAL than the beef inside of a McDonalds hamburger.

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