One “Must Do” for the Job Interview

Congratulations! Either your resume or a networking contact has landed you a job interview. (Or you like reading interview advice because, hey, you never know).

On average, a person has a 12% chance of a job interview resulting in an offer. One effective way to significantly increase your odds is a technique I call role mapping. If you adopt this technique, you’re highly likely to be more prepared than other candidates. (Note: there are dozens of interview prep tips you can and should heed; this article focuses solely on role mapping).

Most hiring managers interview against the requirements of the job description, therefore, role mapping prepares you to explain how you can meet their needs.

Role Mapping

Step 1:
Print (or digitally open) a job description you’re interviewing for. If you don’t have a current opportunity, obtain a sample job description via online search for a role similar to what you’re seeking.

Underline or highlight key behaviors, skills, and experience within the job description. Don’t forget to include soft skills!

Example: Human Resources Assistant

Step 2:
Create a simple table with three columns: “What Employer Needs”, “What I Do Best”, and “Tell the Story”

Step 3:
Transfer the list of requirements you highlighted from the job description under column one (What Employer Needs).

In column two (What I Do Best), list your assets related to the employer need.

I highly recommend using any assessment results you have to link to the employer need, e.g. StrengthsFinder, DISC, WorkPlace Big Five, Myers-Briggs, etc. I’m certified and experienced in many assessments if you’d like to learn more.

Using the HR Assistant job, I’ve linked the employer need for scheduling and coordinating with sample strengths and experience:
Step 4:
In column three (Tell the Story), write a brief STAR story, in 50 words or less, to substantiate the experience and/or abilities you listed under What I Do Best.

STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. In short, What did you do and what difference did it make? STAR stories are the basis for answering behavioral-based interview questions, which is a subject all by itself. I will cover elements of effective STAR stories in an upcoming article.

Tip: If you don’t have direct experience or ability with a requirement, write a STAR story about a time you quickly learned a new skill that’s closely related to the employer need (e.g. soft skill, technical skill, software, etc).

But don’t do it like this:

Interviewer: “So, Kristin, do you have any experience working with PeopleSoft?”

Me“No. I haven’t had an opportunity to work with PeopleSoft. I’ve only worked with WorkDay and Taleo, but I learn quickly.”

Meh. Here’s a better answer:

“I’ve used Work Day and Taleo, however, in my last position I was required to use SharePoint to manage our team documents and schedule interviews. With no prior SharePoint experience I became fully productive on these tasks in my first week on the job.”


If you have any questions about role mapping, feel free to contact me.

All the best to you!

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