Reasons to paint a picture during job interviews

October 25, 2017
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The two killer mistakes made by people in interviews are:

  • Not providing enough of the right information (missing the point), or
  • Providing too much information in an unclear, incoherent manner (babbling)

Generally, interviewers want to hear clear, coherent and well-structured answers to their questions.  They want to hear answers that show that you have listened to the question, understood it and provided the evidence they need that you have the right experience and skills.

The best way to do this is to “paint a picture” for them.  The “Say it, Prove it, Say it Again” formula allows you to do this.  It is a story-telling technique that keeps you focused on the question.

It forces you to answer the question clearly, provide proof, and reinforce your point.  This technique also takes the listener on a journey with you, which creates engagement and connection.


First phase: Say it

The 1st “Say it” is about presenting the facts that you can / have done whatever they are asking you about.


Let’s look at an example:

InterviewerHow do you provide excellent customer service?

You: For me excellent customer service is about managing and then meeting my customer’s expectations.  My last 3 roles were customer service focused where I had to understand what the customer needed and find them a solution. I have learnt many ways of providing excellent customer service. 

You have told them the answer they need to hear however it is not very engaging and there is no proof you can do what you say. Interviewers like proof.

Proof that generates the following:

  • Confidence
  • Trust
  • Belief

This where story-telling becomes powerful and will make you stand out.


Second phase: Prove it

The “Prove it” is about providing a short and succinct example (story) that “paints a picture” for the interviewer.


You: Recently I served a customer that was ……. (tell your story and make it vivid, make the interviewers feel like they were there AND link it to what you said previously)


Last phase: Say it again

The “Say it again” is a short factual sentence that reminds the interviewer that you have answered the questions that they asked.  Sometimes I call this the “As you can see” statement because …….


You: “As you can see I have high level customer service skills that come from extensive experience and from the customer service training I have completed that meet the needs of the role.” 

This approach works because it provides you with a clear structure to answer all interview questions. It provides the interviewer with a clear answer to their questions with supporting evidence by way of your example.  “Saying it again” reinforces or underlines the answer for the interviewer.

Don’t tell them you’re right for the job. Show them. And show them with a little flair.

Some humor can be a nice way of revealing some of your personality. Choose an example that makes you shine but that is also interesting to hear about and makes you memorable for all the right reasons.

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