The next time you're preparing for an interview, instead of trying to rehearse answers to dozens of common questions, think of three sweeping stories that describe times you did excellent work, worked with difficult people, or rose to a challenge. Real stories and conversations go farther than stock answers.
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Over at On Careers, Rebecca Thorman explains that rather than trying to craft the perfect answer for some of the interview questions you'llimevitably hear, it's better to go through your resume and cover letter and try to pin down three good, broad stories highlighting times you were proud of your work, worked under pressure, and that illustrate your skills and expertise. That way regardless of the interview question you get, you can tie your answer back to those specific stories, and continue to draw from them over the course of your interview.
Obviously you don't want to just repeat yourself, but there's a lot to be said for giving consistent answers and having a few great stories that your interviewer or panel of interviewers can remember, as opposed to a dozen different small stories for each question. Telling a real story of a time you were proud of your work also presents a solid, complete picture of yourself to a potential manager. Remember, the more your interview is a real conversation, as opposed to just a Q&A, the better your chances are at getting the job.
Rebecca offers up a number of other useful tips for interview prep at the link below, but this is one that really caught our eye. Often we focus so much on getting the answer to the question right that we forget it's equally (if not more) important to present an hiring manager with a complete, genuine picture of ourselves -- that's what can really set you apart from others.
3 Novel Things You Must Do During Interview Prep [On Careers]