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Adi

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4

How to start an answer of telling a story about past projects

During interviews, I as a candidate need to answer questions by telling a charp and compelling story, especially for questions digging into my past working experiences and projects, for example "tell me a successful project of you" or "can you share an example where you demonstrated effective leadership?"

  • What would be an effective way of answering such questions?
  • How to start it? Shall I start with impact highlight like "One of my last projects is XXX where I achieved a result of X% of sales increase or succssfully launched XYZ campaign" and then explain how I got there ...
  • ... or it would better to tell a comprehensive story following a kind of STAR flow (Situation, target, action and result) ...

... or any insightful ideas from the community here?

During interviews, I as a candidate need to answer questions by telling a charp and compelling story, especially for questions digging into my past working experiences and projects, for example "tell me a successful project of you" or "can you share an example where you demonstrated effective leadership?"

  • What would be an effective way of answering such questions?
  • How to start it? Shall I start with impact highlight like "One of my last projects is XXX where I achieved a result of X% of sales increase or succssfully launched XYZ campaign" and then explain how I got there ...
  • ... or it would better to tell a comprehensive story following a kind of STAR flow (Situation, target, action and result) ...

... or any insightful ideas from the community here?

4 answers

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Best Answer
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Hey, very good question and thanks for raising. Here's my coaching:

1. Stick to STAR approach, set the context of your story correctly and provide very specific/quantifiable details throughout. Some opening sentences could be: "David, thanks for asking. A few examples come to my mind, but there is one in particular I would like to share..." or "Thanks for asking, I am no stranger to being in difficult situations and have learnt & devised an approach of my own to handle them better...."

2. Always reflect on what you learnt from your situation and how it made yours and others life better. Its also perfectly fine to share a story where you "failed/failing" but came out stronger. Show "fail fast, learn quickly" attitude if need be

3. Link the story to the firms values. Its okay even if you link your story to one value (lets say leadership or integrity or client focus)

4. Dont bullshit, keep it concise

5. Its okay to keep certain details confidential/anonymous. So work with that and don't feel pressured to share every single detail/timelines/names etc

Adi

Hey, very good question and thanks for raising. Here's my coaching:

1. Stick to STAR approach, set the context of your story correctly and provide very specific/quantifiable details throughout. Some opening sentences could be: "David, thanks for asking. A few examples come to my mind, but there is one in particular I would like to share..." or "Thanks for asking, I am no stranger to being in difficult situations and have learnt & devised an approach of my own to handle them better...."

2. Always reflect on what you learnt from your situation and how it made yours and others life better. Its also perfectly fine to share a story where you "failed/failing" but came out stronger. Show "fail fast, learn quickly" attitude if need be

3. Link the story to the firms values. Its okay even if you link your story to one value (lets say leadership or integrity or client focus)

4. Dont bullshit, keep it concise

5. Its okay to keep certain details confidential/anonymous. So work with that and don't feel pressured to share every single detail/timelines/names etc

Adi

(edited)

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Hi Anonymous,

Just because it's outside of the portion, it doesn't mean it should not be structured. So the most important aspect is actually to start your "story" top-down and quantify your achievements as much as possible (it's just consulting style, isn't it?). Have this "pitch" ready in a concise format like a newspaper headline.

Also, when speaking about details in a next step, again do it in a structured way. Focus on the key objectives you met and the obstacles you needed to overcome. Again starting top-down in a bullet-point format before going into the details.

Once you go into the details, make sure that you not only explain what you did, but also your underlying thought process which led you to exactly this kind of action (as an interviewer I can't really evaluate in this short summary what you did, but I can evaluate the way how you thought about the issue).

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Hi Anonymous,

Just because it's outside of the portion, it doesn't mean it should not be structured. So the most important aspect is actually to start your "story" top-down and quantify your achievements as much as possible (it's just consulting style, isn't it?). Have this "pitch" ready in a concise format like a newspaper headline.

Also, when speaking about details in a next step, again do it in a structured way. Focus on the key objectives you met and the obstacles you needed to overcome. Again starting top-down in a bullet-point format before going into the details.

Once you go into the details, make sure that you not only explain what you did, but also your underlying thought process which led you to exactly this kind of action (as an interviewer I can't really evaluate in this short summary what you did, but I can evaluate the way how you thought about the issue).

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Hi there,

Great question!

There's really two important things here:

Keep it natural

Keep it structured

Yes, you should use STAR, PARADE, whatever works. However, fundamentally you should not come across as robotic/over-rehearsed.

And, while you should keep it natural, that doesn't mean you don't prepare or "wing it"! You need to have a structure and articulate the story clearly.

To intro, it can honestly be something as simple as "Ah, so a few things come to mind, but there was one time where xxxx"

Hi there,

Great question!

There's really two important things here:

Keep it natural

Keep it structured

Yes, you should use STAR, PARADE, whatever works. However, fundamentally you should not come across as robotic/over-rehearsed.

And, while you should keep it natural, that doesn't mean you don't prepare or "wing it"! You need to have a structure and articulate the story clearly.

To intro, it can honestly be something as simple as "Ah, so a few things come to mind, but there was one time where xxxx"

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My main recommendation is to follow the STAR structure and try to follow the top-down approach. Just remember that in every FIT story you have to be structured, and try not to speak more than 3 mins. This is psychological tips, that it becomes difficult to listen to person who speaks longer. So try to put your main thoughts in this time, and be prepared that you can be followed with the follow-up questions.

Does it make any sense to you?

GB

My main recommendation is to follow the STAR structure and try to follow the top-down approach. Just remember that in every FIT story you have to be structured, and try not to speak more than 3 mins. This is psychological tips, that it becomes difficult to listen to person who speaks longer. So try to put your main thoughts in this time, and be prepared that you can be followed with the follow-up questions.

Does it make any sense to you?

GB

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