Hallway Studio

March 4, 2023

Most of my mentees’ stories are boring and confusing. In an interview they get nervous and aren’t able to show off their skills and experience. This is fixable. Like a comedian or an actor on a chat show you need a couple of compelling and clear stories you can use and adapt for lots of different situations. This twist on the Context – Action – Result framework is working well for my mentees.

Act 1 – Set the scene 

  • What is this company? What do they do?
  • Where is the company in its evolution?
  • What did they ask you to do?

Here is an example:

3Pillar Global sells product, engineering and design services.Clients were frustrated that 30% of their budget and time were gone before they saw anything working. They were really known for engineering and wanted to grow their product and design revenue  so I was asked to create a business unit to prototype ideas and get ready for development. 

Why should you do this

Skipping this will result in confusion and lost time. Helping the interviewer understand the company and challenge draws them in. It also is a great way to show off your business acumen. You’ll want to be specific, saying that you did a redesign to increase engagement is not as compelling as saying that customers were overwhelmed by all the choices and quit 40% of the time. 

Act 2 – Show your work 

  • What was your role?
  • What did you do? 
  • How did you learn and adapt?

Here is an example:

My role was to create and lead Innovate practice. I was responsible for defining, positioning, selling, leading engagements and developing talent. At first I was a team of one, finding the right people to do these engagements without really defined requirements and lots of change was really tricky. So I learned what behaviors to look for and how to set different expectations for behavior. 

Why should you do this

Most people know they should do this but they get nervous, forget their audience and ramble. Begin specific about what you did, what challenges you overcame and what you learned in a concise way will be much more impactful. 

Act 3 – Bring it all together

  • What happened?
  • Did it get approved? Shipped? Do you have any metrics you can share?

Here is an example:

In the first year we did (X) engagements for Y) revenue and we grew by (Z) the second year. We were able to train the entire product 

Why should you do this

If your internet cuts out in the last episode of (insert your favorite show here) you will be dying to find out what happened and it will nag at you. Your story needs an end and it gives you once last chance to show off. Ideally you could use a number to show impact but that’s not always possible so you’ll want to share if it got approved, got good feedback, shipped or something else.

Don’t forget to practice and tweak. This is a learned skill and like all learned skills you can better if you work at it.

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