Interviewers often use behavioral and competency-based questions and interview techniques to explore the potential fit of job candidates. An effective way to impress interviewers, and show them you're the best fit for the position, is to tell a story that showcases your skills, ability and achievement. Sharing a relevant, compelling story on the spot may seem like a daunting task, but you can do it, if you just remember the SHARE model.
The SHARE model is a simple, yet effective, method for interviewees to provide complete, concise answers to questions that require examples.
SHARE is an acronym that stands for situation, hinderance, action, results, and evaluate.
The SHARE model can be employed to showcase relevant experience and communicate job specific skills to prospective employers during behavioral and competency-based job interviews. What's important is that you familiarize yourself with it, and come to the interview prepared with a few relevant job-related experiences or stories to share.
S – Situation; Think of this as defining the problem you needed to solve and why it was important. Introduce a specific situation/problem to the interviewer. Provide context. The situation or problem to solve addresses the who, what, where, when and how. Be specific, provide necessary detail, don't provide a generalized description.
H – Hinderances; outline the challenges, constraints or hinderances you faced;
A – Action; describe the action(s) and steps you took to resolve the hinderance. Describe the action you took to complete the task. Keep the focus on you. Highlight the traits and skills (initiative, leadership, etc.) that enabled you to accomplish the task.
R – Results; outline the results or positive outcomes that came about due to your action(s). Conclude your story with the results you achieved. What was the outcome? What did you learn? What did you accomplish. Be specific. If at all possible, use numbers and figures – and emphasize measurable (rather than subjective) results.
E – Evaluate /Learnings; evaluate for the interviewer what you gained from the experience and how it can be applied to their company or project. Offer what you learned, what you would do differently or the same next time.
Examples of Skilled Interviewers using S-H-A-R-E Method Questions
Good Templated Question
Good Example of a skilled interviewer using the S-H-A-R-E method to help a candidate demonstrate abilities
Skilled Interviewer asks: Where and how have you used your [project management skills] to kickoff, manage and complete a [Product Launch] from start to finish?
Skilled Interviewer asks
(S)ituation - So, you were responsible for managing the [UpLevel v1 Product Launch] from start to finish over the past 8 months? What was the goal? What made it challenging? Why was that hard?
Skilled Interviewer follows-up with another question:
(H)indrance - Tell me about a time when the project got off track. What - or who - caused it to get off track? What were the potential consequences if the project wasn’t delivered as promised?
Skilled Interviewer peels the onion, helping you tell your story:
(A)ction - What did you do? When was that? Who asked you to do that? Who else was involved? How did you do it? How did you know to do it that way? What else did you try? Was that easy or hard for you? Why?
Skilled Interviewer keeps peeling:
(R)esult - Was the project delivered as promised? If something similar happened again, what would you do differently? Did you enjoy working on that project? (Who were you working for and with when you worked on this project?)
Skilled Interviewer helps wrap it up
(E)valuate/Learnings: What did you learn, what would you do differently next time?
Walk me through a [relevant system or process or product] you built
Tell me about a time when you [created, solved, fixed, achieved, overcame, etc.] to address a specific relevant situation
Give me an example of how you [see job description for lots of great relevant questions an interviewer can ask]
Ahead of the interview, try to think of some of the situations the new job will put you in, or potential challenges you'll face in the new job. Next, come up with examples from your past that relate to these hypothetical situations. If you're applying for a sales job, for example, the hiring manager might ask you how you'd handle a difficult customer who demanded a refund. Think of an example of how you've taken steps to ensure the customer walked away happy and the measurable results of your actions, such as making subsequent sales. Practice your responses ahead of time, but don't be surprised if you're asked something totally new or unexpected. Take your time and state each one of the letters of the acronym before you answer. For example, you might say "The situation" is... and "the hindrance is..." Using the acronym and its ordered format will help you gather your thoughts and ensure that you answer the question thoroughly.
Beyond the usual barrage of questions about your strengths, weaknesses and job skills, hiring managers sometimes employ behavioral techniques to find out what sort of job candidate you really are. In this type of interview, the employer will ask you how you behaved – or would behave – in certain situations, with the idea that your responses will give him some idea about how you'd behave in similar situations in the new job. Like other interview questions, "passing" this part of the interview requires research and practice.
Well ahead of the interview, write down a few possible scenarios the employer might ask about based on the expectations listed in the job posting. Next, have a friend or colleague practice asking you about them. At the end, ask your friend for feedback on your responses. Another helpful exercise is to videotape yourself so you can see and hear how you respond to questions. If you find that your answers waver too much, or don't get quickly enough to the point, practice being more confident and concise when discussing how your actions and behaviors have benefited former employers.
Interviewing for a job promotion shouldn't be as intimidating as interviewing for a new job, given that you likely already have a relationship with the person sitting across the table from you. Unless you answer the questions skillfully, however, you're still at risk of returning to your cubicle and watching someone else get the promotion. Be prepared for questions about why you want the promotion, how your skills will benefit the company and how you'd react in certain scenarios.
Expect questions about why you want the promotion or why you're looking to move out of your current position. Tailor your answers to how you can benefit the company by working in the new position rather than how a promotion will help you improve your resume. For example, say that your expertise in social media will allow you to help develop the company's online presence which, in turn, can lead to more sales. You can also express how a leadership role will give you the ability to use your specific skill sets to help the company fulfill its mission statement. Don't downplay your current role. Instead, explain that it has helped you develop your skills in a way that lets you serve the company in a larger capacity, and but that you're also ready for an additional challenge.
Questions About Skills
You'll likely be asked to explain how your skills would be suitable for the new position. Before the interview, brainstorm a short list of your strongest skills and think of specific examples that support each one. For example, don't just say you're competent at handling multiple tasks at once. Briefly explain a scenario in which you had to demonstrate this skill and what the results were. Although it's useful to focus on how you've performed in your current role within the company, you can also share some successes from a previous job if it pertains to the position. For example, if you currently have an entry-level position but are interviewing for a middle management role and have past experience managing a team of staff, identify some lessons you learned in that role.
Many job interviews include situation-based questions in which the interviewer describes a hypothetical scenario and asks how you'd respond. This type of question is prevalent in promotion interviews, especially when the promotion will lead you to supervise staff. For example, the interviewer might ask how you'd deal with a team member who isn't carrying his weight or how you'd react to a project that's not done on deadline. For the first scenario, you could stress clear communication with the team member, a discussion about your expectations of him and a follow-up meeting a month later to track his progress. In the latter scenario, you could explain that you would work carefully with your team on all subsequent projects to ensure they are completed ahead of deadline so there are no surprises.
Some employers prefer to skip obvious questions and pose questions that force you to think on your feet. For example, a boss who notices your ambition might ask you if you aspire to eventually take her job. An appropriate response is to say that you're more interested in excelling at the potential new position than worrying about climbing the corporate ladder to the next rung. The employer might also ask you to identify a true weakness. Don't give a weakness masked as a strength -- that's too predictable. Instead, identify a legitimate weakness but focus your answer on what steps you are taking to overcome it.
Research Core Competencies
First look at the job description and the job posting to identify competencies that are going to be most important to the employer. Then try to come up with scenarios or "situations" that can demonstrate your expertise in that area, and the "actions" that were required. These don't have to come only from work experiences; you can also talk about situations that happened in your volunteer work or even your personal life. If the employer is looking for a person with leadership skills, he might ask a question such as, "Tell me about a time you had to establish yourself as a leader." For that, you might recall, for instance, being named captain of your baseball team and how you worked to establish yourself by holding a team meeting at your home each week.
Invent Other Scenarios
Also try to anticipate other scenarios that might not be listed on the job posting. If you're in a sales job, the job posting might not discuss difficult customers -- but it's probably something you're going to deal with. For a construction job, an employer might not discuss injuries or botched work in the posting, but prepare to talk about how you've handled those common scenarios. Think about the job at hand and the things that could go wrong, and then try to recall a time you dealt with a similar situation. For the sales job, you'd write out the actions you took to satisfy a difficult customer, so the details are fresh for interview day. If you're in construction, on the other hand, jot down the actions you took to help an injured person or clean up a botched job.
Focus on Positive Outcomes
The interviewer's questions might include positive and negative scenarios -- but that doesn't mean your responses should end on a negative note. When the interviewer asks you about whether you've ever had a poor performance review, for example, use it as a chance to show that you're capable of listening to feedback and improving your performance. In short, show the positive side of negative situations. The "R" standing for "Result," then, can cover how you made the best of what you had, says the Career Services department at Wayne State University, or a lesson you learned from a difficult scenario. Showing that can-do attitude can help you ace the interview.
In a competitive job market, job seekers use interviews to make a good impression on their prospective new employers. A job interview may be the one and only chance you have to win over a hiring manager, so you want to do your absolute best at it. While there are many types of interviews that hiring managers use, skills-based interviews are becoming common. If you have this type of upcoming interview, prepare for it so you’ll know what to expect.