We recommend spending 40 minutes on this section.
The behavioral interview is a key moment for career pivoters. This is your change to emphasize your transferable skills. Even if you lack relevant experience on paper, the behavioral interview is where you can tell a story that shows exactly why you'd be a great fit for the role. In this section, we'll talk about some tips and tricks to help you show yourself off. First, watch this great clip from seasoned Product leader and Executive Coach, Mindy Zhang as to why the behavioral interview is important.
Now, let's dive in a bit more deeply to storytelling. First role, keep it short – three or four minutes, tops. People tend to ramble when they're talking about themselves, and shut the interviewer out. Keeping things brief gives your interviewer a chance to ask about the areas their most interested in. If you're not sure how to tell stories about yourself, try to keep the following key points in mind:
Situation: What is the broader context for this story? What was your team doing? How did this problem come about?
Challenge: What went wrong? Your story should always center on some kind of problem you overcame.
Approach: How did you solve it? This is the part of your story that should get the most elaboration. Don't just share what you did – talk about your thought process, different things you tried, and what kinds of considerations you took into account. Are you an empathic listener? An insightful problem-solver? A great cross-functional communicator? Do you excel at thinking of out-of-the-box solutions? This is your chance to prove it.
So What: Why did it matter? There are two ways this section can work. If your approach worked, talk about the tangible payoff – did it lead to more sales? Better customer retention? A successful product launch? Great! If your approach didn't work, that's okay too – this is where you can talk about what you learned from the experience, and how you've applied those lessons going forward.
As always, it's best to be a specific as possible in the time you have. Details will make your story more compelling and paint a better picture of you and your approach to problem-solving. It's also best to avoid over or under-selling yourself. Don't be afraid to talk up your strengths – but don't try to take sole credit for something that was really a group effort.
Finally, it's okay to talk about failure. This can be surprisingly effective in job interviews. Sharing what you've learned from a situation that didn't work out the way you wanted it to demonstrates your insight, ability to handle difficult situations, and potential for growth going forward. As a career pivoter, these are some of your greatest strengths – so highlight them!
Let's see how all this comes together in this 10 minute clip from our workshop with Mindy. Feeling ready? Try it for yourself here by running some of your examples through the template here. Be sure to make a copy and save it to your Google Drive.
What are the top 3 stories that demonstrate the power of your transferable skills? Perfect those stories and practice landing your pitch.
Think back to the resume sprint and how critical language is to ensure your story is resonating with your audience.