How to Prepare for an Interview - Creating Success Stories

How to Prepare for an Interview

Success Stories Will Set You Apart

As we move into September of 2009 the job market remains very competitive. The unemployment rate jumped to 9.7%. There are currently more job candidates than there are jobs available. According to Michael Neece, CEO of Interview Mastery, during periods of rising unemployment it takes 17 job interviews to get an offer. This compares with a ratio of 6 to 1 in times of full employment. These numbers reinforce the need to learn How to Prepare for an Interview. Since most candidates don't put much effort into interview preparation those that do will have a competitive edge. It is the candidate who best convinces the hiring manager of their capabilities who get the job offers, not necessarily the most qualified person.

One way to sway the interviewer's opinion in your favor is to have a portfolio of success stories that you can tell in an interview to reinforce your capabilities. Let's examine the three components of an effective success story.

  1. The situation or opportunity. Describe a situation or opportunity that arose during a previous job. The scenario that you describe needs to have been meaningful to the organization. It could involve solving a customer satisfaction issue, making a significant sale, or reducing expenses.
  2. What actions did you take. Describe in detail the specific action steps that you took in the positive outcome of the situation or opportunity that you described. You need to be specific so you paint a clear picture of what you did in causing the outcome.
  3. What were the results. You need to describe the results in quantifiable terms. If you are describing a situation in which expenses were being reduced for example, you need to state by how much, in real dollars or as a percentage. By being specific you are lending more credence to the story.


Take the time to review your accomplishments from past positions. Plan to create a portfolio of success stories that best reinforce your capabilities. The ones you use in an interview will vary depending on the situation. As you do research into a company and job position you will be able to determine which stories may have the most impact. Also, during the interview, as you learn about priorities, you can position yourself as the being the best candidate by telling a success story that solved a similar need. You can also steer the conversation through the use of prepared questions to give you the opportunity to tell a success story that you feel is important.

Most candidates talk in generalities about their previous job responsibilities and skills. You can set yourself apart by relating the specific results that you have achieved. If you do this effectively your job offers will come more frequently. It pays to educate yourself on how to prepare for an interview.

Comments 1 comment

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 6 years ago from Northam Western Australia

Good hub with practical information. thanks for sharing

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