Have you ever wondered how many people applied for the same job that you do? And does the interviewer ask the same set of questions to every single candidate?
Yes, they do ask the same set of questions. Although the specific questions may differ from candidate to candidate, the skills, and characteristics that the interviewer is looking for in each candidate stays the same. Therefore, the interviewer asks more or less similar questions to ensure consistency, objectivity and for comparison sake.
Then how do you stand out from the crowd?
First, you need to understand that going to an interview is like going to a story telling contest. Everyone has a story to tell. So make sure your story is the best that you can give. And in order to tell a good and convincing story, you can use one of the following methods.
The CAR approach to answering job interview questions is – Context, Action, Result. It is about describing the circumstances, the actions you took and the result you achieved.
Context is about describing the situation in such details that the interviewer is able to visualize what you are saying. The situation is preferably one that is able to clearly demonstrate the quality or skill that the interviewer is looking for.
Action is about explaining what action you took. Outline and explain every single step and rationale as well as the possible consequences you might face. Show the interviewer how you analyzed the situation and your decision-making process.
Result is about the result of your action. As much as possible, provide figures and numbers to support your claim. If the result is not as desired, what have you learned and possibly change for a better result?
The STAR approach is also very similar to the CAR approach to answering interview questions. STAR refers to Situation, Task, Action and Result. It means breaking down your answer into segments of describing the situation, the task you were to accomplish, the action you took and the result you achieved.
SHARE refers Situation, Hindrance, Action, Result and Evaluate. The SHARE approach adds in a hindrance section to elaborate on the difficulties of the situation. This allows the interviewer to have a deeper understanding of the situation and may appreciate your actions more. It also ends with evaluating your own actions. This also helps to demonstrate your ability to learn from your experience and to improve your future performances.
The SOARA (Situation, Objective, Action, Results, Aftermath) method is another variation of the SHARE method. This helps to shape your answer so that you are able to show the interviewer your problem solving and analytical skills. It can also help to showcase your ability to adapt and learn from your experience.