Interviewers want proof of what you’ve accomplished or failed to accomplishment. You can prove your assertions by delivering a well crafted story. You’ve probably heard of the STAR formula. You’ll use this formula to guide yourself through telling your story.
The four-letter acronym stands for.
S: situation faced at work.
T: your task in the situation.
A: actions you took to solve the situation.
R: the final result/s.
However, there is one component of your story that will bring your story round circle. Can you guess what it is?
The letter to remember is“L” which stands for what you learned from the situation. This letter is an important component in your story because, as mentioned above, it wraps up your answer.
In an interview you’re asked the common behavioral-based question, “What has been you toughest challenge thus far in your career?” Here is an abbreviated answer you might give.
S: The university needed consistent branding across departments.
T: My task was to oversee the process; a process that took a year to complete.
A: The actions I took were to:
- assign a task force to help make this process happen;
- decide on consistent colors and fonts for signage, the university website, and peripheral materials;
- ensure all of this met the board of directors expectations.
R: It was a long process, but the president of the school and the board of directors were extremely impressed. All was completed on time and under budget.
Ending your story with what you learned
As said earlier, your story isn’t complete. The interviewer wants to know what you learned from the experience. This is a time which will require self-reflection, not a trite answer because you’re happy with your success story.
Your learning statement should be relevant to the STAR story and company’s needs. It should also be brief. Here is an example of how you might, bring the story round circle.
“What I learned from this experience are threefold. First, I can lead a large project with a large number of pieces.
“Second, I learned that I can be an effective leader of many departments. I know this is an important part of this role.
“Third, attention to detail is imperative, especially when thousands of banners, business cards, pen and other swag are being produced. I made this a top priority.”
Every area of this answer adds value to the candidate. It shows the ability to lead, attend to details, communicate between departments, organize and set priorities, among other skills. In other words, it gives you the opportunity to add more value to your story.
Using the STAR formula is a great way to show proof of what you assert, but to really hammer your answer home, you should tell interviewers what you learned from the situation faced at work.
Photo: Flickr, Jenna