Answers for Interview Questions About Reliving Your Life

Mature businesswoman interviewing candidate at boardroom table
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It doesn't happen that often, but sometimes a hiring manager finishes all the standard interview questions and then asks you a question about reliving your life. There are different ways to answer such a question, both personal and non-personal and it’s good to be prepared so you’re not caught off guard.

What the hiring manger asks about how you would relive your life, what he or she really wants to know is, "Would you do anything differently if you had to do it all over again?" Because this is usually not a top-of-mind issue, you should be prepared to address this question should it come up during the interview process.

Often, when an interviewer asks you a question about whether or not you would want to relive your life, he or she is looking for a flaw in your interview. In other words, they're trying to trip you up. It's a tough job market out there and it's their job to weed out the bad seeds.

Always remember, your goal during the first few interviews is to get invited back for the next interview. For the interviewer, the goal is to weed out as many applicants as possible, so don't take it personally.

Here are some possible personal and non-personal answers to the question of whether or not you would want to relive your life.

If You Want to Use a Personal Answer

  • I lost my mother to Alzheimer's. I wish I'd known more about the disease to help me through that difficult time. That’s something I’d change.
  • I turned down an opportunity to live abroad for a year. In retrospect, I feel that I would have benefited from the experience because it would have exposed me to other cultures and different kinds of art and architecture.

What to Say If You Prefer a Non-Personal Answer

  • Really, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I've learned from each experience I've had.
  • I am actually very satisfied with the career I’ve chosen, and how it has progressed. I have learned important things at every stage, and from the people, I have worked with.
  • I have had people ask me in the past if I would have been happier if I had started out in my current career of academia instead of beginning in the business world.
  • I am very glad that I experienced the business world. I think it gives me unique insight and a perspective that I otherwise wouldn’t have. Even though I love what I do now, I wouldn’t change how I got here.

    Basic, But Important, Job Interview Tips

    Conduct research on the employer as well as the person you will be meeting with. You should have a solid foundation of knowledge about the company, its mission, it's corporate culture, and its products and/or services.

    In addition to being prepared to answer questions about reliving your life, you should review other common interview questions such as what your strongest and weakest attributes are and where you see yourself in five years.

    Also, your interviewer will expect you to have some questions to ask about the company or the job. If you’re not good at thinking of questions to ask, review this list of questions to ask the interview.

    Practice, practice, practice. Determine the best answers for a variety of potential interview questions and answer them out loud. If you can, find a friend or family member willing to act as the interviewer. He or she can ask you each question and you can answer. By practicing this way, you’ll feel more confident during your real interview.

    Check ahead to confirm your appointment time and place the morning of the interview. You don’t want to be late or feel frazzled or frustrated because you forgot the time of the interview. Give yourself plenty of travel time so you don’t have to rush in the door. You’ll want to have a few minutes to compose yourself.

    You’ll want to make a good first impression with everyone you meet. Dress appropriately – that means the more professional the better. Keep accessories and jewelry to a minimum and make sure clothes are clean and not too tight fitting.