There is so much to share on interviewing and I wanted to build out a little more on the act of interviewing, more so than just how to answer one specific question. The ability to shine on an interview is all in your hands, if you can make a connection with the interviewer(s), the job is (potentially) as good as yours. One way to make an connection with an interviewer is with the usage of the coined word "bragalogue" or in telling stories to detail the answer to a specific question that shows your abilities and people skills all wrapped up into one package.
When answering questions, try the following tips to be personable and friendly by maintaining eye contact and smiling. For the questions that detail your abilities, try to tell stories. Make your stories poignant, funny, self-deprecating and more in varying degrees. Do not make them all have the same tone – provide a level of entertainment to the interviewing process, if you are skilled at telling a funny story. If you are not good at telling funny stories or worry about keeping the story straight, practice it so many times until it becomes like second nature to you to tell these stories. Do not tell stories for every question asked and also watch your time. Do not drone on and on about the intricate details of XYZ project but instead, if you are using this project to detail your toughest decision (for example), then just focus on the part that was the tough decision and then gently allude to the overall results of the project.
The questions you should answer with a story or a bragalogue are the ones that require showcasing how well you can do this (new) job. So when asked to talk about your greatest success, use a bragalogue. Detail how you succeeded and why. I always had a myriad of stories for answering the “story” questions, such as:
I will say that you should not use a "story" answer for every interview question because I would be cautious of seeming like a story telling entertainer and not a potential employee. I think there is a balance for every bragalogue or story that you tell, to also have quicker and succinct answers that hit the interviewer’s main interest. Try to understand what that interest is – it goes around the type of position and also the culture of the company.
There is a balance to interviewing that includes listening and responding to cues from the interviewer. It is something that can be taught but some people instinctively know how to react to others. My upcoming seminars with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning will give intensive interviewing bootcamp style training on how to be ready for your next step, click below to find out more and to join me in early 2016 to be ready for your next step. Also, I have written blog posts about using body language on an interview and also other interviewing tips; check out my category “Interviewing tips” here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/category/interviewing-tips.
So as a recap, use vocal inflections and personal connections with the interviewer while answering. Use the story mechanism to answer some questions but not all. Do not ramble. Keep your answers to a few minutes but not more than 5-7 minutes. It should be a give and take, not a monologue. What do you think about using the story (or bragalogue) to answer interview questions? What are your go-to stories? Happy hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen