It’s an easy mistake to make, and I’ve even done it myself. But if you’re aware and prepared, you can ace your interviews.
Interviewers often ask about how you demonstrated a skill or handled a particular situation. In answering these Behavioral Based questions, the biggest mistake people make is not being specific enough.
We tend to reflect back on our experience and can think of multiple instances we could reference, so we lump them all together and talk very generally about what we did.
Or, sometimes because the instance demonstrates a skill we have, we don’t recognize the full significance of what we did, so we downplay it and miss an opportunity to showcase how we can help.
The problem in either case, is that there are details in our minds that we don’t share. And those details make the answer not only more clear, but also more believable and more impactful.
The more details you provide and the more specific you are in your answer, the more your interviewer will learn about you and your capabilities, which is exactly what they need to know to make you an offer.
Think about answering interview questions like telling a story. Paint a clear picture of the situation, tell what happened in detail, and wrap it up with a conclusion to show the results you achieved.
The best way to tell great stories in your interviews is to prepare them beforehand.
Now, of course, you don’t know exactly what questions they will ask, but you can think of times when you demonstrated your top skills, and create stories around those that can be used as examples for many questions.
You can also think of stories about times when you overcame difficult circumstances that demonstrate your ability to meet future challenges.
Recalling and retelling details in the moment and under pressure in an interview is difficult, so make sure you’re prepared with detailed stories beforehand.