For many transitioning veterans, job interviews are unlike anything they’ve ever experienced in the past.Corporate job interviews are most often behavioral based, with the interviewer identifying job-related experiences, knowledge, skills, and abilities that the company deems necessary for a particular position.
For example, if the job description states that the position requires a team player with excellent customer services skills and the ability to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing, expect that questions relating to those skills will be asked in the interview.
An example of this type of question is, “Describe a professional experience where you were able to solve a communication crisis with a co-worker while maintaining team harmony.”
There is a simple method to effectively replying to these types of questions, using a format called “STAR”:
Here’s an example of how to respond using the "STAR" method:
“While working on a long-term project that was about to reach a critical deadline, I sent a very brief email to a member of the team. In my response, I neglected to answer one of his questions because I assumed it was something he already knew. Having that answer was critical for him to turn in his work, and it was critical for meeting the deadline. To compound matters, he felt that I was rude because he saw it as me being too busy to address his questions.
While the structure may seem straightforward, veterans need to be keenly aware of the differences between military and civilian culture. Avoid using any military jargon, be succinct, be specific about your contributions, and make sure to properly frame the result. If the result was a negative one, explain the lesson learned and how there was improvement in subsequent similar situations.
Looking for more advice about interviewing for civilian jobs? Check out our webinar “Getting Ready for the Interview and Accommodating Disabilities,” the second part in a military veterans transition series, hosted by Lisa Rosser of the Value of a Veteran.