Interviews can be nerve-wracking and let me tell you something that 16 years old me didn’t know- those nerves don’t go away no matter what age you get to.
So why do we get nervous in interviews? Because we want the job! It’s that simple but in order to show that we are capable of doing the role, we need to really think about how to best show our skills and personality before the questions fly at us.
I have attended many interviews all in different formats and I’ve also interviewed many others and the one thing that I have seen many people fail at is not using examples. This can be normal for two main reasons.
1.) People assume that we know them and their role. This is definitely the case more often with internal interviewees who assume as an interviewer that I know what they are talking about. Not giving context and using the STAR (a situation, task, action, result) means the interviewer is left wanting to know more and can’t give them a high score as their example either wasn’t clear or detailed enough.
2.) Younger people or those new to working life feel their examples aren’t good enough. This is not the case! You can use examples from school, college, university, volunteering, scouts, guides or anything where you can give detail on how you helped in a situation. It’s much better to use the example!
So why are examples so powerful? Interviewers want to really understand you as a person and by telling a story and explaining your input in that story, the interviewer can almost picture you doing it. They allow the interviewer to ask further questions and examples give weight to what you’re saying. Anyone can say they are a team player, giving an example of when you were one will put you in a much better position.
Quick rules around examples in interviews:
- Don’t lie or exaggerate. This will catch you out either during the interview or if you’re offered the job. Be yourself, tell the truth and be confident in your own abilities.
- Have some examples ready in your mind. Think about what the interviewer may ask you and what role you’re applying for. That way, when you’re asked questions, you will feel more prepared and won’t dread any long pauses.
- Always explain what YOU did in the example. Using ‘we’ won’t give the interviewer a clear picture of your role in the situation and will take away from the impact of the story told.
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