top of page

Learn to Tell Your Story Effectively During the Job Interview
by Pat Goodwin, CPC



One of the most common job interview techniques used today is the Behavioral Interview. An employer wants to be able to look at your resume and see “what you’ve done” “where you did it” and “when you did it.” When an employer meets you in person, he or she has already looked at your resume. During the interview process, what an employer really wants to know is how you think. Behavioral questions are designed for you to be able to tell a story about your experience or describe your accomplishments.

Reviewing and answering the questions below will help you tell your story in terms of your competencies, skills, and experience and will prepare you for a more successful interview. 

Your Skills - Competency Questions (choose 2-4 questions)

1. Tell me about a time when you managed a highly sensitive or critical situation. What made it highly sensitive or critical? Why did you choose the course of action you chose?

2. Describe a situation when your leadership skills were rejected. Why were they rejected? How did you manage the situation?

3. Tell me about a time that you had to take charge in a tough situation. What made the situation tough?

4. Tell me about a time when, as a leader, you were required to exercise leadership during a period of major change where there was a high level of ambiguity. What was the nature of the change? What was your role during the change process? What factors did you consider as you thought about how to adjust your leadership style to the situation? How did you feel as you were going through the process? What steps did you take to exercise your leadership during this period? What resistance did you encounter and how did you deal with it?

Your Customer Focus - Competency Questions (choose 2-4 questions)


1. Tell me about a time when you were recognized for exceptional customer service. What were you acknowledged for?



2. Tell me about a time when you had a customer conflict and how you resolved it positively for the customer.



3. Understanding and considering the requirements of our customers before making decisions and taking actions is very important.Tell me about a time when you did more than what was expected of you to serve a customer.

4. Tell me about a time when you worked to better understand the needs of the customer, what you did to gain that understanding, and how you used what you learned to serve both you and the customer.

5. Tell me about a time when you had an opportunity to bring added value to a client or customer.

6. Describe a situation in which you were challenged to understand a customer’s needs and add value to, or improve some aspects of, the customer’s process


Your Drive for Results - Competency Questions (choose 2-4 questions)

1. Tell me about a time when you were faced with multiple obstacles and were able to overcome and implement your initiative.

2. Describe a time when you effected the outcome of a project or situation by assuming a leadership role.

3. Consider a business initiative for your current department and describe a time when you have had a positive or significant impact against this initiative.

4. Tell me about a time when you took the initiative to make a quick and risky decision in order to seize a business opportunity.

5. Tell me about a time when you had to shorten the timeline of an implementation plan and take immediate action in order to meet business objectives.

6. Tell me about a time when you were responsible for overseeing the execution of a project. What did you do to ensure that its goals were reached on time and within budget?

Your Integrity and Trustworthiness - Competency Questions (choose 2-4 questions)


1. Tell me about a time when you demonstrated personal integrity in a business situation. What led up to your decision to act in accordance with your beliefs? What challenges, if any, did you face in the process? How did you integrate your personal values with what was needed for the business?

2. Describe a time when you had to rely on personal or professional integrity to achieve a result.

3. Sometimes we are under so much pressure to meet our goals that key values of the organization can be overlooked. Describe a time when you had to go against pressure to meet an expectation or goal in order to stay in line with the company’s key values.

4. Describe a time when you had to present material or implement a process that you were not in full or total support of. Did your voice your concern of non-support? How did you do this? Who did you voice your concern to?

Your Problem Solving Skills - Competency Questions (choose 2-3 questions)

  • Give me an example of a time when someone came to you for help in solving a problem. What did you do and how did it turn out?

  • Tell me about a time when you were faced with a tough problem and how you solved it.

  • Tell me about a time when you were working as part of a team that had to solve a problem. What part did you play and what was the result?

Your Agility and Flexibility - Competency Questions (choose 2-4 questions)

1. Describe a situation in which you had to translate a broad or general directive from senior management into individual performance expectations. Explain how you did this and the goals you established.

2. Tell me about the last directive from senior management that failed to achieve its desired goal. Why do you think it failed? What role did you play in the process or failure of the goal?


3. Tell me about a time when you had to communicate a major new directive from senior management to employees. Which communication strategy did you use? Why did you choose that strategy?


4. Describe for me a situation where you used your knowledge of the business to develop and plan a strategic solution.

© Pat Goodwin, 2009. Pat E. Goodwin, CPC is an executive coach, trainer and career development professional in Austin, Texas. She has spent the last 20 years coaching clients from numerous industries providing guidance, motivation and career direction. Her clients have benefited from her expertise in articularing their accomplishments in a more clear, confident and concise manner. Pat has developed a training program that guarantees a client to improve their success when preparing for the interview and during the interview process. Find our more about Pat at

bottom of page