Yesterday’s post contained a recording an interview question and answer. The interview was with a transitioning military officer and the question asked was “Tell me about a time when you helped someone improve their performance.” Below is my assessment of the answer.
The interview answer was a pretty good answer. It directly related to the question and showed the success of the job seeker. The conclusion was strong, providing clear benefits to the organization.
Unfortunately, the answer provided too much detail of unimportant information and not enough detail of some key points.
The job seeker spent a lot time explaining the circumstances. A much shorter description of the responsibilities of the individual being mentored would have been better. For example, explaining why the Department of Agriculture needs to do their inspection doesn’t add value. What is important is that the subordinate needed to learn how to manage that process.
The other area that could be improved is related to the actions of the job seeker. He described some of the activities he performed to develop the individual, but his explanation was light. He emphasized that her primary need was to gain experience. With this goal, he had to take a more supportive approach, rather than just driving performance. To make a stronger impact, the job seeker should have clearly described the coaching he provided. Describing the expectations he set, the frequency of his reviews, and the topics he coached would have created a clearer picture of what he did.
The key is to make it absolutely clear to the interviewer how you achieved specific results. This allows the interviewer to picture you providing similar results in their organization. One technique with this answer that may have been successful would be to describe a single coaching session, or even just a portion of the conversation from a coaching session.
Try to keep your answers on topic, well organized and specific and you will make a better impression. Overall, this answer was good. It would probably be adequate in most interviews. Making a few improvements could change it into a real winner.
What any aspects of the answer that you think could have been improved? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.