There’s an easy way to answer job interview questions with more impact. Treat each answer as if you’re telling a story.
A story has a clearly defined beginning, middle, and end with a defined conclusion. You can mimic this formula to answer interview questions by following the pattern of scenario, solution, resolution.
Following this three-step formula will not only help you make a positive impression on the hiring manager, but also ensure that you’re answering every question with as much detail as possible.
Beginning – The Scenario
The scenario sets up the base of your story, and can either outline a challenge, an opportunity, or a situation. The way you start your story is just as compelling as how you end it, so be sure to start it off on a strong note. You want to begin your answer by providing context so that the hiring manager immediately knows the main point of your story.
Give enough details to set the stage, but keep this part of your answer concise. The meat and bones of the story comes in the solution. If you take too long explaining the scenario, you run the risk of losing the hiring manager’s interest.
Middle – The Solution
The solution is just that, a solution. This is the part of the story where you explain how you planned to solve a challenge, made some kind of improvement, or took advantage of an opportunity. It’s where you should spend the most time speaking.
For this part of your answer you want to provide as much detail as possible. This is the time for you to really dive deep into explaining the execution of your solution. Explain how you came up with the idea, your thought process that led you to the solution, and why you did things a certain way.
Fill in all relevant details needed to round out the story.
End – The Resolution
The resolution ties up the end of your story and talks about results. If your answer was about a challenge, explain how you and/or your solution got it resolved. If your answer was about an opportunity or a situation, talk about how it ended or what it led to.
Try to keep this part of your answer fairly short. The more concisely you can wrap up your story, the more of an impact it will have. Think about the last two words that appear at the end of most children’s books – the end. That’s it.
Compare these two examples for impact:
By implementing a career pathways program, I was able to increase employee retention by 19% over a period of six months.
When I implemented a career pathways program, it really made an impact. Data showed that employees were considering staying longer at the company and were overall more engaged in their work. The atmosphere seemed to improve as well. In six months, I was able to increase retention by 19%.
The shorter answer is direct and to the point, and clearly states the outcome. The point gets a bit muddled in the longer answer, as there are a few statistics that could be focused on. This is the last thing the hiring manager will hear, so make it count.
Now you know how to easily answer almost any job interview question by following a simple three-step formula, and that’s the end of this story.
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