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PODCAST: Everything You Need to Know About Preparing for the Interview Process

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Are you beginning your transition out of the military and wondering where to start? Brian Henry, former Marine Corps Officer and current Senior Vice President of Recruiting at Orion Talent, joined our From the Battlefield to the Boardroom podcast to discuss what you can do to prepare for the interview process, including how to research yourself, building a library of stories to help sell yourself during the interview, and how to answer any question successfully with the STAR format.

“Around six months out from your separation, start spending time researching yourself,” Brian advised. “This exercise will help you know and understand your performance history.” List out any skills, strengths, and experiences that you feel are valuable to a potential employer. “Organize your experiences into common interview topics, like leadership, problem solving, process improvement, strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments,” Brian added. This serves two main purposes - it prepares you for handling interview questions, and also reveals what area you should focus on as a career path.

This list will help you to build up a library, or a list of stories and experiences, that will help you in the interview process. Focus on examples on where you had the most impact, and then match up your list with example interview questions. “This will help to make sure that you have an example for each question, and to help figure out any gaps in your interview preparation,” Brian advised. 

Now that you have thoroughly researched yourself and have a good list of stories about your job performance, the next step is to organize these examples into the STAR format. The STAR format stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results, and is an excellent guide to help convey job experience and performance in an interview setting. 

“To begin each job performance story, paint a picture for your employer about where you were, who you were with, and the situation that was going on,” Brian advised. “When you set the scene, your audience will be able to understand and relate to your experience.” Only 7% of the U.S. population has served in the military, so being able to accurately capture your military experience is essential to a successful interview.

“The next step is to describe the task - what mission you were assigned to complete, and what problem you were facing,” Brian stated. From there, describe what steps you took to solve the problem. “Be specific, and don’t speak in generalities. You want to make what you did personally very clear during the interview,” he added.

From there, you can lead into a quantified and positive result. “These well organized and concise stories will highlight your job performance and experience,” Brian said. “Focus on the best examples, and avoid those that don’t translate well to a civilian employer.”

Lastly, Brian stated the importance of communicating a few excellent examples of solid job performance. “You can overcome a lack of specific skills or experiences by being able to demonstrate a proven record of past performance, coupled with the ability to learn quickly and adapt, as well as a drive to succeed,” Brian stated. “Above all else, companies are looking for top performers, and past performance is an indication of future success.”

Listen to the full podcast:

For more interview help, including interview types, common mistakes, and more, visit our military and veteran job seeker transition resources page.

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