You can’t plan out every last line of dialogue in a job interview — nor should you — but you can plan a few things you want to get across. One good way to do that is to create a list of “sound bites” — that is, a few memorized phrases or sentences that you want to get across during your interview.
How to use sound bites
This may seem a little insincere, but even if you get along well with the interviewer it’s important to remember that you’re not having a casual conversation. Sound bites allow you to cover what’s most important in response to a particular interview question, and allow you to tell the rest of your story more organically, without the pressure of wondering whether you fit in the important message behind the story.
Most job interviews come with a set of stock questions, with a few additional that are specific to the job and company culture. And while many of the stock questions seem easy to answer, it’s always best to know and rehearse your answers before you head into an interview. Preparation...Read more
For example, you might say “I want to make sure my decisions are supported by data, so I’m always sure to keep track of my results and adjust accordingly. For instance, in my last role…”
In this case, “supported by data” might be a phrase that you repeat intermittently throughout your interview. For every anecdote you hope to share in your interview, consider memorising a corresponding sound bite as well. A few good sound bites — especially ones that sound natural to you — will stick in the mind of the interviewer more easily.
Make sure your sound bites cover the most relevant parts of the personal brand, as they’re a great way to get your point across succinctly. If all your stories include a few great sentences with a consistent message, you should have an easier time staying in the minds of those who have the power to hire you.
This story was originally published in July 2011 and was updated January 20, 2021 to meet Lifehacker style guidelines.