With Christmas party season now in full swing, it is important to make sure that your star continues to shine during your job search and interviews and avoid it extinguishing into a depressing black hole.
Whilst applying for jobs through us here at Four Seasons, we will help get you that initial meeting, but we can’t conduct it for you. So when it comes to it, that interview really is your chance to deliver your sales pitch as to why you are the best person for the job and to put more meat on the bones of your CV.
However, it’s stressful enough trying to put your best foot forward at interview, plus it doesn’t always come naturally to talk about your success and achievements. I don’t know about you but how many times have you come out of a meeting and thought ‘I wish I’d said that’ or ‘I should have mentioned ...’
So something I learnt early on in my career is to use the structure STAR (pretty apt for this time of year) when talking about your experiences at interview. STAR stands for: Situation, Task, Action, Result. By using this structure it ensures that you talk about specific examples and helps you to clearly identify your influence and impact, therefore highlighting why you would be the best person for the job. This structure can also help if you have to fill out a written application too.
Situation – Start by briefly outlining the context of the situation. No more than a couple of statements though – remember waffle and history does nothing to help identify why you are the best person for the job. But do think about using examples that start from a point of adversity or negativity as by default you are likely to be able to demonstrate relatively easily your positive impact on the situation.
Task – This is where you need to describe what you specifically set out to achieve and highlight any challenges or constraints. If you were working as part of a team, make sure you highlight specifically your role or task in the team effort. The interviewer is not looking to hire your team, they are looking at you!
Action – This is your chance to talk about what you did, how you did it and why. You need to show how you specifically made a positive impact and your influence on the task. Keep in mind that something you probably do without thinking about may be something that someone else doesn’t do, so it’s really important to explain the how and why. Don’t be afraid to to tell them if something went wrong – as long as you can demonstrate what you learnt from it or what you’ve put in place to make sure it doesn’t go wrong again.
Result – Highlight the end result, the net gain. If you can, it’s very powerful to quantify the result; so if a project was brought in under budget and within time, detail that. If you achieved an increase in sales, quantify it. If you ran a marketing campaign explain the ROI.
Finally, remember to prepare for your interview thoroughly by researching the company, brand, position, and your interviewer. The internet is an amazing resource and with tools such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you can find out an awful lot about companies and people.... and they can find out about you too; so before you post that less than flattering photo, tweet or vine from the Christmas party think about how it might look to your prospective employer!