Seeking Opportunities for Your Story

There's a reason I recommend the ABC method to answering interview questions. Despite the increasing prevalence of behavioral questions in interviews, you are still likely to encounter plenty of questions that don't explicitly ask you for examples of your past behavior: "What's your philosophy of nursing?" "What are some of your strengths as a leader?" "What do you consider the most important trait of a good teacher?"

Your stories are your most valuable tools in an interview, and you shouldn't wait to be fed opportunities to tell them. Every question should be seen an opportunity to tie in an example from your past. This is where I see people fall short again and again — they get stuck on the "A" portion (answering the question) and miss the chance to tell a memorable and compelling story about their past accomplishments.

Having a framework for your responses is important not just to keep you from rambling, but also to make sure that you remember to tie every answer possible to a concrete example. If you're talking about your strengths as a leader, talk about a specific leadership experience where you demonstrated those strengths. That puts you at a higher tier right away — you're someone who can not only conceptually understand and articulate what good leadership is, but you're someone who has actually put this into practice in the past.

Remember, one of the primary, underlying questions that interviewers are seeking to answer about you is whether you're capable of doing the job well. The best evidence that you can do any particular aspect of the job is that you've done it before. But they're not necessarily going to ask you directly for an example of your experience. It's on your shoulders to find out how to work your past accomplishments into the question at hand, no matter how it's phrased.