Successfully Preparing For an Interview


By Erin Suess

No matter what school you attended, how much experience you have or what your GPA is, if you do not take the time to successfully prepare for an interview your chances of landing a job are slim. Interviewing is not easy and although there are many resources available, the bottom line is how you come across in an interview. First impressions are everything. For many employers it is not just about how experienced you are but rather if you would be a good fit for the company. Even though YOU know you would be a good fit you must be able to demonstrate how you will blend in with the rest of the team.

So how do you show the employer that you would be a good fit? First and foremost, you will need to highlight your skills and strengths and be able to match your assets to the employer goals. Researching the company and the job is the first step. Once you have gathered the necessary information now it is time to present your abilities to fill the employer’s needs. The best way to display your skills is to create a “JAR” story.

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When communicating your assets and skills, you can demonstrate these qualities through Job, Action and Results or “JAR”. This is an effective way to write your “WOW” accomplishments and also formulate an answer to behavior based questions. By developing a brief description of an accomplishment-oriented experience supporting your skills or assets, you will have strong ammunition for your interview.
Your description should paint a clear picture for the reader. Starting with the Job itself (task, situation or background), then describe the Action taken, and then the Results obtained. Below are a few tips that can help prepare you for creating a JAR story.

• Think about a recent situation either through work experience, volunteering, course work, internship, team work, customer service, etc. that highlights favorable behaviors or actions.
• Prepare short descriptions for each situation, be specific and write it out.
• Make sure each story has a beginning, middle and end. (When writing your JAR story the Job is the beginning, action is middle and the results are the end).
• Make sure the result reflects POSITIVELY on you. The result itself does not necessarily have to be positive.
• Be honest. Do not embellish the story or leave out parts of the story. The employer will know when you are not being honest and/or could even find out the truth behind the story.

The best way to be successful in telling your “JAR” story is to practice. Take a piece of paper and write the letter J on top of the page. Six lines down write the letter A and then another six or so lines down write the letter R. When thinking about a possible story to write keep in mind some of these questions to help create your story:

1) Give me an example of any major problem you faced and how you solved it.
2) Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult person. What was the situation and what did you do?
3) Give me an example of a time when you set a goal and were able to meet or achieve it.
4) Give me an example of when you showed initiative and took the lead.
5) Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively.
Keep in mind the better you can talk about your skills and quantify your abilities the better off you will be. As mentioned earlier, you do not necessarily need a ton of work experience to land an entry level job however; you must make yourself stand out against the rest of the competition. Preparing a “JAR” story will not only provide you with examples demonstrating your skills but it will also show the employer that you are prepared and have a lot to offer the company. Good luck in your interviews!

Erin Suess is a life and career coach and creator of Her passion is to help guide individuals through a process of self-discovery that will un-lock their full potential and provide an environment for personal and professional development. She works with individuals to improve their lives through gaining clarity and setting and achieving their goals! Erin also offers career testing on her site to help explore career direction. You can also read her blog at: Contact Erin at:

1 Comentário:

Job Descriptions said...

Highlighting your skills is on my top priority during interview. It gives you a feeling of confidence.


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