On their journey to find their next opportunity, a jobseeker will answer a multitude of interview questions from a variety of interviewers. These are important conversations that make or break the chance of moving forward for a job opportunity. Read on for tips to ensure success. Often, Recruiters and interviewers ask specific questions with ideal answers in mind from their candidates. One of the best pieces of advice I can give to those preparing to interview is to formulate a handful of ‘STAR’ stories that aid in exemplifying your skillset, contribution, and experience. Candidates sometimes tend to beat around the bush while indirectly answering the interviewer’s questions due to a lack of structure in their answers. However, a Recruiter is your ticket to a next-step meeting with a hiring manager. It is important to be clear in the stories and attributes conveyed during initial interviews. Indirect answers could cause the recruiter’s submittal notes to reflect less than the candidate’s full potential, resulting in the creation of a roadblock to the new job opportunity. So, what are STAR Stories, you say? STAR Stories
Situation: What happened? Set the stage while providing context and background.
Task: What were the challenges or problems faced?
Action: What did you (INDIVIDUALLY) do and how did you react?
Result: To round out your answer, state the benefits, savings, and/or rewards that occurred.
The benefits of STAR stories, and structured interview answers in general, are numerous. Primarily, it sets the interview conversation up to go increasingly smoother for both parties involved. When the interviewer isn’t getting the type of answer they’re looking for, it forces them to get more creative with asking probing follow-up questions, which takes time away from talking more about your accomplishments and the opportunity at hand.
Further, once you’ve prepared that handful of STAR stories to store in your back packet, interview preparation will become much less of a time commitment. Assuming you’re applying and interested in a similar pool of jobs, you’ll be able to recycle those STAR stories in each interview process. Choose and build your stories off your proudest and most representative achievements. When an interviewer asks to provide an example the next time, you’ll be excited to share.
It seems straightforward, but another meaningful tidbit of advice for those interviewing is to ANSWER THE QUESTIONS. Listen to what these interviewers are asking for in their questions so that your responses can be puzzle pieces to their inquiries. I’ve seen many candidates, unfortunately, be rejected based on their conversation topics of choice. These might include negative feelings about past employers or simply indirect answers to questions. Interviews are a candidate’s time to shine; Get out there and sell yourself!
We all go through interview processes. Preparing for interviews through methods such as STAR stories increases the efficiency and effectiveness for both ourselves and the interviewers. An interview should be a conversation for the interviewer to get to know the candidate as much as the candidate to get to know the interviewer. It shouldn’t only be the responsibility of those interviewing to stay on task and be prepared for the interview. As an interviewee, implement efficiency into the process by preparing for your interviews with STAR stories.
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