Tara Arora attends the University of Maryland, College Park. She is majoring in Communications on a Public Relations track. She has had four internships so far and does not plan on stopping anytime soon.
It is not uncommon to get the interview butterflies. Interviews are intimidating because you don’t know what to expect, and this uncertainty causes anxiety. Personally, phone interviews scare me even more because you don’t have much to work with besides the answers you give.
One way I’ve been able to reduce my anxiety about interviews is to be prepared… with stories! Interviews are not meant for you to give common answers and pass a test. They are opportunities for you to stand out and brag about your accomplishments. I like a modest person, but interviewers don't. This is why I always support my answers with a great story from a previous experience. I call these my go-to stories…feel free to call them whatever you want.
My go-to stories extend answers to common questions such as:
- Have you ever had any failures? What did you learn from them?
- What did you enjoy most about your last job/internship?
- What are some of your best skills?
Don’t be that person who gives a standard answer to make sure you’re in the clear. If you are asked about your skills and you say something like “I’m a good leader,” good for you, but you’ve probably bored the interviewer because the person before you said the exact same thing. Take advantage of questions like these to impress the interviewer and tell them WHY you’re a good leader. Everybody loves a good story.
Your goal is to stay away from general answers. You want to be remembered, so don’t be afraid to tell them about that time your previous supervisor was kidnapped and you had to step up and do the marketing pitch on your own (I wish I had a story like that).
Here are some additional tips to securing some good stories:
- Make sure your stories make you sound confident, NOT cocky.
- Your stories will only be effective if they answer the question. Don’t ramble.
- Don’t be afraid to be humorous.
- Practice telling them. You probably already practice answering common questions with general answers, but add the story in there. This will help you remember the appropriate time to tell them.
So from now on, try to think of an interview as story time, you know, that awesome time in kindergarten before you took a nap.
Good luck =)