Today’s interviews are often competency-based, “behavioral” interviews. Employers want to know how you have behaved in specific situations so that they can evaluate not only how well you could do the job, but how you would fit into the work team and corporate culture. The best preparation for a behavioral interview is developing personal stories that illustrate past accomplishments.
Ultimately, the bottom-line question that employers need you to answer in an interview is whether you can produce desired results for them. To be ready to prove your value to a prospective employer, spend time prior to the interview preparing several brief stories (30 to 90 seconds each) that enable the employer to see your job-specific skills.
Seven Key Areas to Showcase Your Abilities
You can start getting ready for a behavioral interview by identifying examples of what you have accomplished in the past. Take the best examples, and work on adding details so that you create compelling narratives that help the employer picture how your past actions have prepared you to excel in this new position. Here are seven areas to consider for creating your personal stories:
- Times when you took the initiative to either save money or make more moneyfor the company.
- Examples of how you took the lead in getting something (a process, procedure, system, machine, etc.) to function more efficiently or effectively.
A setback or failure in your job or personal life, and how you overcame it.
Times when you provided leadership or guidance that made a difference for an individual, a group or the organization.
Situations in which you had to deal with challenge, stress, and/or uncertainty.
Examples of how you functioned as a valuable team member.
Times in which your skills, character traits and/or knowledge enabled you to makea key contribution in your work.
Well-constructed examples will enable you to prove your potential worth to the employer. Good stories are memorable, and will help you to stand out from other job candidates when the hiring decision is made.