Job Interview Question and Answer: What Have You Been Doing Since Your Last Job? Or Since Graduation?
Why Do Employers Ask This Question?
An interviewer may ask, “What have you been up to since your last job?” if an applicant has gaps in their history. Employers ask this question to see if you used your time away from the workforce to hone new skills that might benefit the company. Your answer will show hiring managers your level of ambition and commitment to your advancement.
Responses for “What Have You Been Doing Since Your Last Job?”
Your response to the question, “What have you been doing while unemployed?” should include constructive activities that show that you are a go-getter. Discuss any experience, training, or education you completed that relate to the job. Some responses may include:
- Job hunting efforts
- Enrolling in classes
- Attending seminars
- Volunteer work
Also, be sure to talk about how these experiences helped you sharpen your skills and mention any recognition you received or credentials you earned during that time.
Answers to Avoid
The worst answer you can give when an employer asks, “What have you done since your last job?” is, “Nothing.” Responses like these can make hiring managers believe that you are lazy or that the skills you need for the required work are no longer up to par.
Examples for Answering “What Have You Been Doing Since You Left Your Previous Job?”
The following sample answers can give you an idea of how to respond when an interviewer says, “Tell me how you spent your time away from the workforce.” Use your own stories and experiences to shape an answer that shows what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown.
Sample Job 1- Housekeeping jobs
“I left my last job to be a stay-at-home mom. For the last two years, I’ve run my household and raised my sons. I also organized carpooling and group outings with some of the other moms in my neighborhood. My role requires me to balance my kids’ schedules, run errands, and keep my home neat and tidy. I think these skills will be useful for this position, especially in homes with children.”
Sample Job 2- Certified nursing assistant
“When the daycare I worked for closed down, I immediately started looking for another job. I filled out applications and went to several job fairs but didn’t have any luck. During that time, I kept my CPR and first aid certifications up to date and started volunteering at a nursing home in my community. I also took the necessary classes to get my CNA credentials and start work in a new industry.
Sample Job 3- Clothing store sales associate
“I planned on taking the summer off after high school, but I decided to apply for an internship with a fashion company instead. As an intern, I got to learn a lot about sales, marketing, and design. When the program was over, I decided to take a few fashion courses at my local community college. I know my education will come in handy when helping customers pick out stylish clothes in your store.
Your response to the question, “What have you been doing since your last job?” should account for your time away from the workforce and prove that you spent that time wisely. The answer you give should show interviewers that, despite the gap in your work history, your determination and skills can still make you an asset to the company.