“Tell me about a time…”
When you hear that in an interview, you know it is a prompt for a behavioral interview question. By exploring your past behaviors, interviewers can learn a great deal about how you may behave or perform in the future. Are you prepared with interview stories that answer what they need to know or will you just ramble on without a purpose?
In her The Muse blog post, Kat Boogaard shared “5 Steps to Turn Any Interview Answer into a Memorable Story.”
- Start your story with a concise, one-sentence response before elaborating on details. In other words, give the answer first.
- Once you’ve given the brief answer, expand and provide background information or context for the situation. Hone in on what is really important and provide clarity to the situation. Do not get bogged down in the details.
- Emphasize the role YOU played. Remember that the interviewer wants to know how you -not others on your team- handle certain situations. If prompted to discuss a failure or conflict, keep in mind that you should not shift blame or make excuses.
- What happened in the end? Tie everything together and share the outcome or results.
In the Career Management Center, we often refer to this approach as the S-T-A-R method. Our coaches advise you to prepare several S-T-A-R stories in advance and have them ready to use when invited to interview. If you need assistance creating effective S-T-A-R stories, make an appointment with one of our career coaches.