Gone are the days when you could prepare for an interview by simply memorizing answers to stock questions like, “What is your greatest weakness?”
Hiring managers these days are more focused on asking ‘behavioral questions’ that have no perfect answer. These questions ask about times when you showed professional qualities like leadership or compassion. They are meant to figure out what each candidate might be like to work with and how they fit into the team’s culture.
These questions raise the stakes, which means job seekers can truly wow they interviewers with great answers. Therefore, you need to prepare a number of personal anecdotes that show off your best qualities as a professional. Having a few stories ready to go can reduce the risk that you’ll sit there in awkward silence.
List Key Situations From Your Past
While you can’t predict every possible question an interviewer will ask, you can prepare a list of examples to reference. By doing this, you can go over potential answers in your head and figure out which fits the question best. Also, you’ll discover you can modify your stories to fit more than one behavioral question.
For example, let’s say one of your prepared stories is about receiving bad feedback from a manager. A story about how you successfully handled the situation can answer questions about “a time you had to have a challenging conversation,” and “a time when you felt like you failed.”
Categorize Your Stories
When assembling your list, place your examples into three different categories: difficult times, highlights, and working with others.
“Difficult times” should include anecdotes about making mistakes and overcoming adversity. “Highlights” should include any victories, big or small. The “Working with others” group should include navigating interpersonal issues, your capacity collaborate, and anything related to leadership.
For each group, jot down three or four examples. This will not only allow you to organize your thoughts as you come up with examples, but it’s also beneficial when selecting a response. If the question is about a negative situation, you can quickly go to your tough times tales, as opposed to mentally going over your entire list.
Use the STAR Method
STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a framework you can use to develop tight, impactful stories for an interview:
Situation – Set up the problem or challenge you faced.
Task – Outline what you had to go to resolve the situation.
Action – Describe what you did.
Result – Reveal the results of your actions and ultimate outcome of the situation.
While you want to make yourself look good with these stories, it’s also important to balance out your story to avoid coming off as pompous. For instance, maybe you missed an important deadline with a client, but we’re able to negotiate a unique resolution and learned a valuable time-management lesson in the process.
At Superior Resource Group, we help job seekers get ready for challenging job interviews. If you’re currently looking for your next job opportunity, please contact us today.