Tell Me About A Time …

Okay boys and girls, it is story time, and I am not talking your magical fairy tale. I am talking about the interview question that forces you to find a concrete example to demonstrate whatever skills they are seeking. Your answers should detail your thought process, perhaps your decision making abilities, and of course, the actual question is looking at how fast you problem solve. Now if it something they are seeking that you don’t have, then it is going to be hard to fake. Okay for some old timers, like me, there was a movie back in the 80’s, called “Working Girl”. Loved it. Melanie and Sigourney Weaver starred in it, and one of the characters stole the idea/concept from the other. So, when confronted, the “idea” needed to be outlined, just to prove that it was HER idea. Oops.

If you headed up a project, an event, or something really big, you can easily talk about the process, the project time line, the critical path, the point of no return, … all those fun little challenges you were faced and overcame. If you had control over money, like say a budget, or fundraising, you should also bring this up in your answer. Why? You are there to prove what you did was beneficial for the company, and you can easily do it again. So if I can get $5k in sponsorships from local businesses for an event, chances are I can do even more for the next event.


Many times you can outline your thoughts and ideas in an effective manner so they produce profits, simply by implementing a program awareness event. Okay back to my Walmart days, when I was a lowly hourly cashier I wanted to be part of the management team. When I applied someone else always got it. My store director said in order to be a manager, you need to be a leader. Not all managers are leaders, but I ONLY promote leaders to managers. I felt like I was sitting at the sphinx with some unsolvable riddle. I happened to be in a management course in college at the time, and using some of the things I learned, I started a stakeholders committee and recruited a few managers and friends to join. We/I found ways to save money, make money and increase store traffic with a meager $100 monthly budget. Eventually I did get promoted.


Here is another secret in your interviewing arsenal. The more stories and examples you tell in your interview, the more likely you are going to be remembered. Some people try to use humor in the interview. Don’t. You are not applying to be a stand up comedian. Your sense of humor may mistakenly be misinterpreted. Impress that person with what you have done, can do, and will do. If that person is impressed, he/she will move you forward in the interviewing process quickly. Mostly likely there are dozens if not hundreds of jobs/interviews to complete. Think how many positions are open at Amazon. Wow. Hundreds, if not thousands worldwide. I always tell candidates that they need to tell the employer “Hire me. I want to work here. I see myself growing with this company. I want this job.”


And as always, the job you are applying for RIGHT NOW, as you talk to that interviewer, IS your dream job. For now, all you can do is dream about being employed, and this might be it. So act like it, show enthusiasm, and ask for the job. And remember, 20k more boomers retired this weekend. Go get their job!