More Interview Questions and Answers
Why did you stay with this organisation for such a long time?
Alternative and related questions:
Why didn't you move on sooner from this organisation?
The meaning behind the question:
There are both good and bad reasons for staying with any one employer for a long time. The interviewer is checking whether they might be able to unearth some of the bad reasons. Their main concern will most likely be that you might have become set in your ways as a result of staying too long with one organisation and will struggle to cope with and adapt to new challenges.
In your answer what you must aim to achieve is to portray the fact that you stayed with that organisation for "such a long time" as a positive thing, as a conscious decision you made. You definitely don't want to give the impression that you lack initiative and just drifted. Maybe you did just stay there because you were happy and secure and quite content with the status quo – but that's not the kind of answer which is going to impress the interviewer.
If you undertook more than one role within that organisation, for example you gained promotion and moved up in the organisation, then that's all you really need to say. However, shouldn't your CV make that quite clear already?
Maybe you did only undertake the one same role for all your time in the organisation but, while your job title may have stayed the same, can you perhaps tell them how your job description evolved over time with new and interesting tasks and challenges?
If your work is largely project-based then you could convey how, with your handling one different project after another, it felt more like a series of different jobs, rather than just the same job, because it was always changing.
Above all, shift the focus onto what you learned and how you developed during your time with that organisation, in particular useful, transferable skills.
I chose to stay within that organisation because my work always remained an interesting challenge. Over the course of the decade, the company grew from a small outfit with just five employees to a much larger organisation with well over 50 employees. It changed so significantly that it didn't actually feel like I was necessarily working for the same organisation. Clearly, the way an organisation with just 5 employees operates is very different to the ways in which one with over 50 employees operates. While my actual job title may not have changed over the years, the actual nature of my work evolved and changed rapidly. The job I was doing when I left the company bore very little resemblance to the job I first took when the company was just starting up. With each new year, I learned new and valuable skills and, from having been there from the beginning, I am fortunate enough to have gained very useful experience in every department, from finance through to marketing, including much experience which is directly relevant to the job for which I am now applying.
The Interview Question & Answer Book
More interview questions and answers
Talking about your current employment
- Can you tell me what you enjoy about your current job?
- What will you remember most about your last job?
- Is this the first time you have made an effort to move away from your current employers?
- How do you feel about the possibility of leaving your current job?
- How would you describe your current employer?
Talking about this vacancy
- Wouldn’t you be better suited to working in a larger/smaller organisation?
- How do you feel this vacancy differs from your current role?
- What reservations do you have about your ability to undertake this job?
- Can you describe your ideal working environment to me?
- How do you feel we compare to our competitors?
- What would you say is our Unique Selling Point?
- What would be your analysis of the current trends in our industry/sector?
Understanding your career path, plans and ambitions
- What aspects of your career path would you like to have been different?
- What are your greatest regrets about the path your career has taken?
- What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career to date?
- What do you think are your main career options for the next five years?
- What exactly does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Addressing problems in your career history
- Why did you only stay with this organisation for such a short time?
- Why did you stay with this organisation for such a long time?
Coping with stress and pressure
- Are you able to multitask?
- Can you juggle a number of different projects simultaneously?
- How do you handle rejection/disappointment/failure?
- How do you deal with interpersonal conflict?
- What does tact and diplomacy mean to you?
- What makes for a successful team?
Management and leadership
- Would you describe yourself as a good manager?
- Do you really think you’re management material?
- What is your attitude to delegation?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you had to lead from the front?
- Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?
- How would you describe your ideal team member?
Personal and professional development
- In what ways do you intend to improve upon your performance?
- How has your current job prepared you for greater challenges/responsibility?
Interests and activities
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- What newspaper do you take?
- Are you interested in current affairs?
The amateur psychiatrist
- If you won the lottery what would you do?
- Can you tell me about the best teacher you ever had?
- If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?
- What are you most afraid of?
Money, money, money
- Why aren’t you earning more?
- How much do you think you are really worth?
- How much does money matter to you?
- Would you still be interested in this job if you current employer offered a pay rise?
- Have you ever had to take a pay cut to keep your job?
- Have you ever asked for but been refused a pay rise?
Author: James Innes