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How to Tell Stories About Yourself to Show You’re the Best Fit for the Job

How to Tell Stories About Yourself to Show You’re the Best Fit for the Job

Prepare well for an interview and you have a great chance of showing off what you’re really made of. But preparation can be tricky when there are so many different kinds of questions that could potentially come up.

Behavioral interview questions are one such type and the way you answer them could be crucial to getting that perfect job.

What’s the Intention of Asking Behavioral Interview Questions?

These types of questions aren’t designed to test how you behave in an interview but are incorporated to allow the interviewer to assess how you would handle a certain situation.

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In other words, behavioral questions are used because your past experiences and successes are a positive indicator for your success in the future. Employers want to know if your approach to a situation – either positive or negative – will fit well in their team and company as a whole. It will show your ability to adapt, your relationships with co-workers, time-management skills, client skills, together with your motivation and values.

Examples of Behavioral Interview Questions

There are many different types of behavioral interview questions:

  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  • Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. Describe the situation and how you dealt with it?
  • Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?
  • Give me an example of a time you had to manage numerous responsibilities at once. How did you handle that?

These can be the most tricky questions because you aren’t relying on your qualifications or your immaculate employment record. Instead you’re essentially being tested on how you would act in the job.

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But don’t let this intimidate you. There is a great strategy to follow in order to answer these types of questions in a structured and thorough manner.

Using the STAR Technique Can Help You Give a Well-Organized Answer

STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. It’s a good way of remembering the structure of answering a behavioral question which usually requires an active example of a past situation or experience.

SITUATION: This is where you describe the situation or event that took place. It isn’t necessary to go into too much detail, keep it concise and include the important facts.

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TASK: Here you describe the task that you were asked to complete. This is where you will mention any difficulties and challenges.

ACTION: Explain what you did to solve the problem or complete the task.

RESULT: This is where you’re telling the interviewer how the situation turned out according to the actions you took. It’s important to focus on the outcome being a positive for either yourself, your team or the company as a whole.

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Steps You Should Go Through to Answer Behavioral Questions

There are some key things you can do to respond to these types of questions with confidence and show off your abilities in a positive way.

Preparation: This is an obvious one but behavioral questions are ones that can cause us to get stuck if we haven’t spent some time thinking about various past scenarios and situations. Spend time researching common behavioral interview questions and make sure you have a few different examples that can be adapted for different questions.

Pause before you answer: Even the most confident of us can get nervous when being interviewed. We often think blurting out our answer will hide our nervousness but it can go against us if we haven’t formulated the right answer in our mind first. Don’t be afraid to pause and take a sip of water to give yourself some time to think of your best prepared anecdote for the question asked.

Remember the STAR technique: If you answer with the STAR technique in mind, then you are guaranteed to formulate a well-structured answer that covers all bases.

Focus on the positive: The reason we may find behavioral questions hard to answer is because in many cases, we’re asked to describe a difficult or challenging situation. It’s really important to focus on turning this into a positive – talk about what you learned from the experience or how you fixed it – don’t dwell too much on the negativity of the event.

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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