I frequently see content on LinkedIn and other social channels with people asking about strategies to make a positive impression in interviews. They ask about attire, follow-up, posting, and résumés, but rarely about the actual interview preparation and strategies to tell your story.
Interviews can be very stressful, and cause sleepless nights for many. Most people are extremely nervous and uncomfortable in interview settings for a variety of natural reasons. I’ve been there! The good news is, you don’t have to be this way!
Nobody knows you better than yourself, and how you prepare to tell your story counts. You can, in fact, take control of an interviewin order to communicate your strengths in a powerful set of planned illustrations of your skills.
A well-prepared interviewee is ready with STARs…stories you can share about situations where you impacted your personal or professional life, that demonstrate your leadership aptitude, teamwork, conflict resolution skills, relationship building, business acumen, ability to execute a plan, or how you play in the “sandbox.”
It starts with identifying at least 10 different diverse situations that you are proud of your accomplishments or learnings. We call these examples STARs because you will articulate the:
- Situation you were faced with
- Tactics you developed
- Actions you took
- Results you achieved
If the interviewer asks “situational interview” types of questions like, “Give me an example of a time you resolved a conflict using your interpersonal skills,” you will be prepared! This line of questioning is ideal for the candidate who has prepared a portfolio of STARs! You may be asked 10 or more of these requests for examples that show you’ve handled situations that may come up in the day-to-day role of the position you are interviewing for.
I would like to add the following 5 pieces of advice as you prepare for your interview:
- Develop a list of 10 or more STARs that are your best examples to demonstrate actions you took and results you achieved. Write or type them on one page.
- Do one or more mock interviews with a friend or co-worker to practice your answers.
- Listen closely to questions that are asked, so your answer demonstrates the type of skill being probed for.
- Carry your one page of STARs in a leather or vinyl portfolio to the meeting (or phone interview), and refer to the page for reminders of the STARs you could use, based on the question.
- Prepare 2 or 3 questions about the company or job you are interviewing for, that you can ask at the end of your interview—ensure they are intriguing in nature, and not fluff. This is a great way to leave a strong last impression.
Not all interviews include “situational” interview questions, but if you are prepared for them, you can blend them into your responses. If you do have an interviewer that asks for specific examples of a variety of your skills, then you control the story that you tell. That is a powerful interview technique, that will make you stand out from the crowd,and generate job offers!
For more information on STAR interview preparation or career coaching, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- In News