So you’re preparing for an online or video interview. You know you’ve got to come up with a good range of examples of experience which demonstrate the transferable skills the job ad is asking for. You’re confident about using the STAR model….But … there are ten potential skills they could ask you for evidence of…..and not only that, you're worried that you will forget the lot of them in the white heat of the interview.
Coming up with memorable, detailed scenarios to showcase transferable skills - and enough of them (especially if you feel you don’t have much experience )- has recently been the Number One worry that students bring along to practice interview and interview coaching sessions.
With competency questions it’s true that preparation is everything. It’s easy to overlook potentially very useful scenarios which are staring you in the face…or at least would be if you went back through your camera roll! This is a great way to trigger memories of significant times in your life which you can then mine for impressive examples of transferable skills. It might be:
- a sports competition you lead a team through (influencing, motivating others, organisation, empathy, drive, reslience, listening)
- or a university society event you marketed (energy, creative problem solving, social media strategy, networking, persuasion)
- perhaps an image of a thank you card from a client when you were out on placement (client relationships, meeting deadlines, analytical, going the extra mile, commercial awareness)
- or a screenshot of a Zoom call where you gave an important lockdown presentation for a university project (communicating virtually, online presenting, making an impact, adaptability)
Nestling in between the shots of failed banana bread baking efforts and your sleeping cat will be plenty of golden nuggets for your competency examples. And as we see above provided the scenario conjures up a sufficiently rich story and has a range of dimensions to it you can even use it to illustrate more than one transferable skill. For example, whilst your various placement “work” scenarios will showcase a whole range of technical and “soft” skills, you might also want to use your work team’s virtual training for the London Marathon as evidence of your tenacity.
The great thing about photos is they are usually taken at a time when you had positive emotions about what was occurring at the time(apart from the banana bread incident obvs)..and by reflecting on them you will find that the details of the scenario story will quickly come back to you. The other advantage of this approach is that the photo is also capturing a moment in time which can trigger your recall of the Situation/Task/Action/Result of a range of transferable skills.
And don’t forget your lockdown story...
If you’re like me you probably won’t have had much of an opportunity (or the motivation frankly) to take the usual number of photos. But if you can find an image which encapsulates your lockdown experience this should help you to identify all those super relevant remote working skills…even if it’s a photo of you running an important project team meeting from your childhood bedroom. Here are some other ideas
And now to the other problem…remembering your scenarios in the heat of the interview…This is where we can be truly joyous about video and online interviews as we can simply have prints of our six scenario images stuck as an aide-memoire to the desk or the wall behind your screen; no-one need ever know!! You could even stick some labels onto each photo with the list of transferable skills which that particular scenario represents – a simple glance up to the photo in the interview and away you go. And if you stick STAR on a post-it note on your desk too then you’ve got all the bases covered.
Next time…..How Googly Eyes can help you smash online interviews out of the park 😊