One key to successful interviewing is preparation. Think through and practice how you’ll respond to frequently asked questions, such as:
“Tell me about yourself” and “What is one of your growing edges?”
It is important to practice responses to these anticipated questions — not to simply memorize your replies, but in order to respond comfortably, easily, confidently, and thoroughly.
In addition to preparing for and practicing your responses to Frequently Asked Questions, you’ll likely be asked a number of behavioral interview questions:
“Tell me about the most difficult…”
“Describe a situation in which…”
“In the past, how have you typically handled…?”
Respond to these questions using the CART Story format:
Circumstance – Specifically, what did you encounter? Where and when did this happen? If possible, quantify who and what was involved.
Action – What particular action(s) did you take to respond to and resolve the issue, or to overcome the challenge? If other people were involved, what interaction did you have with them? You may even include a description of your thoughts and/or decision making process.
Result – What outcome was achieved? Think bigger than how you alone were impacted; think about how others (e.g., boss, other staff, and the patient) were impacted. If the outcome was a “crash and burn” experience, what positive lessons were learned? You may compare your performance to a common metric where it places you in positive light.
Tie-In – Use a statement or question to apply the CART story to important competencies or experiences that the hiring organization is seeking. For example:
• “My manager said I provide a calming presence for others in stressful circumstances.”
• “How does my story fit with similar situations you’ve experienced here?”
It’s impossible to anticipate every interview question that may be asked. Prepare and practice. Enlist the support of your professional connections to help you with your research. Ask hiring authorities:
“What are the Top 5 most challenging questions that you ask candidates applying for this sort of position?”
These questions may be about the position or the industry.
Now it’s your turn!
Develop five to six CART stories. (If more come to mind, go ahead and write them down. You may also be able to use them when networking or writing your resume.) Develop stories going back 5-7 years with an emphasis on the last one or two employers.
One thing is fairly certain—under the stress of the interview, you’re much less likely to come up with your best stories to illustrate your capabilities and contributions.
Prepare yourself now, and you will be ready then.