Interview Questions (and Answers) for Career Changers

Some Are Tricky, So Be Prepared

Interview Questions (and Answers) for Career Changers

By the Monster Career Coach

Thinking of changing careers? For those of you seeking work that better suits your needs, sometimes a brand new type of job can be just what the doctor ordered to boost your motivation and give you an increased sense of satisfaction.

There are, of course, certain challenges that accompany a shift in occupations. Among them are the questions you may be asked in job interviews about your altered direction.

Below you will find some of the typical question an employer might ask a career changer during an interview. A few potential responses for each query are listed in bullet-point style. See which answers best apply to you personally. If you choose to use one of the suggested replies, be sure to customizing it to your own specific situation.

Here are a few easy questions you might encounter.

Question: Since you are making a shift in careers, how can you be certain that you will enjoy this new role and will be motivated to do well in it?

Possible Answers:


  • I have extensively researched this new occupation, including speaking directly with people who have been successful for many years in this field.


  • I have done volunteer work in this new field and found it to truly suit my style.
  • I am enrolled in a certificate course for this type of job and am excelling.

Question: What assurance can you give me that you are qualified to do well in this new role?

Possible Answers:


  • I have references from where I did volunteer work in this area who will vouch for me.


  • I recently obtained my certification in this field.

Question: Why do you prefer this new type of occupation to the one you were doing before?

Possible Answers:


  • I am much better suited to doing this new type of work as it truly matches my skills, interests, experience and qualifications.


  • I am much happier and far more motivated doing what I love to do instead of taking just any old type of job.

Here a few more challenging questions you might be asked.

Question: How do I know you won’t try to find another job elsewhere if it takes you more time than you say it will to become proficient in this new role?

Possible Answers:


  • I have already dedicated a good deal of time researching, volunteering or studying for this new type of job and I am fully committed to making it work for both of us.


  • I did not enjoy my previous work very much and doing what I love here at your organization is what I am totally determined to do.

Question: What took you so long to find out what kind of work you actually enjoy doing?

Possible Answers:


  • I devoted time to working steadily in several different kinds of jobs, precisely in order to determine what I most want to do.


  • I do not believe in making hasty decisions. This is why before making this career shift I did extensive research, upgraded my education and did related volunteer work.

Question: Why were you a failure in your previous career?

Possible Answers:


  • I was actually very successful in my previous work. It’s just that it didn’t motivate or challenge me anywhere near like the job you’ve advertised does.


  • I prefer to look at it as having learned many valuable lessons that I can now apply directly, to your benefit, in this new role.

Don’t Wait Until Interview Day To Prepare

Anticipating these types of questions and preparing possible answers is your best way of coming across confidently and knowledgeably. Try to take some time and rehearse your answers so that they sound natural. Always customize your replies to the type of job and interviews you are pursuing.

Moving from one type of job to another can be exciting and fulfilling. Making sure that you can answer the questions interviewers might ask you will go a long way in getting you closer to employment that genuinely suits you.