With over 17 years of recruiting experience at all levels, I’ve been amazed at the lack of preparation with interviewing. One of the most precious commodities in the world we live in is TIME. By interviewing for a new job you are losing time at your current job. So, why not be diligent in preparing so that you get the job offer. I believe a successful interview is something that requires preparation. This is where my PREP method will help you Nail the interview.
I recommend taking 30 minutes and sitting down with a pad of paper and pen, then write out 6-10 examples where you made a successful contribution in your role. It’s a well-known psychological fact (Wray Herbert. Ink on Paper: Some Notes On Note Taking*. Association for Psychological Science. 2014) that writing things out offers better internalizing of information and long term memory storing, plus this will also create the “front of mind” phenomenon. Using those 6-10 examples, write out a couple of paragraphs that utilize the systematic format of describing the Problem, Resolution, Explanation, and Performance (PREP).
Problem can be described as the “what”. In other words it’s describing the project and/or problems that arose. Every job in the market has some element of solving problems, so it’s important to identify these issues in projects. Take some time to describe all aspects of the project or situation.
Resolution is really the “how”. This describes “how” you approached the project and/or “how” you solved the problem. There is always more than one way to get things done, so it’s important to be clear with how you arrived at the solution.
Explanation can be characterized as the “why”. What we mean here is “why” did you choose that approach in solving the problem or approaching the project. It allows the interviewer to get inside your head and understand how you systematically think in terms of solving problems. It also in the more technical positions allows interviewers to understand your depth of knowledge in knowing when to use certain tools and/or technology.
Performance is described as the “outcome”. Providing tangible results in how you’ve significantly made an impact in your role. The Performance step is where you have an opportunity to use any quantitative data, facts, and figures. Quantitative data is going to be the best measure in helping to tell the story of your business impact. As an example it could be something like reducing the launch time of a project by months because of a process that you innovated during the project. If you are in sales, it could be growing year over year sales by 13%.
In my experience the major reason candidates do not get job offers is because of not going into enough detail about their work experience. The PREP method will allow you to develop talking points, so you are prepared to have clear and concise examples of your success. By doing this exercise, it allows you to take time to pull out relevant experiences that in some cases may have slipped your mind. The PREP method will make it easier for you to recollect details on experiences that happened several years ago and make them fresh in your mind. There is nothing worse than walking away from an interview wishing you would have answered a question in a different way or that you should have brought up a relevant experience. Before your next interview, use the PREP method to secure the job offer.