• geoffashton

STAR SCCAR Comedy and how to ace your next interview

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

Who’s your favourite comedian? How can they help you at your next interview? Read on.

Both you and your interviewer have read the top tips for interviewees

There is plenty of great advice available about how to do well at interviews. Interviewers will know as well as interviewees what the various techniques, approaches, and tips are for crafting a great reply to an interview question. Whilst some interviewers will try and test candidates with quirky questions, most will just ask what they want to know about and take a view as to which candidate comes up with the most engaging, and credible response.

The STAR model

Interview question response models are designed to give the candidate a structure for their answers, to help them answer concisely and to collect their thoughts together. This all helps in the stressful environment of an interview setting. A popular model is STAR where the candidate relates an experience around the following structure:

Situation –  what was happening Task         –  what you needed to do Action     –  what you did Result     –  what happened.

This is a straightforward and functional way of getting across a story to illustrate how well you demonstrate some skill or quality. However, it always struck me as a little monochrome. What could you do to inject some more colour into your story to make it more memorable, and to tease out its full value?

Remember the T’s and C’s an turn your STAR into SCCAR 

One easy way to do this is to change your T into C’s. When describing the situation you are in, it’s natural to incorporate the task you had to fulfil. So instead of a separate T for task, why not take a minute to describe the challenge in the situation? What made it challenging for you? Answering this can give your employer confidence that, when faced with the many new challenges that a new job will bring, you will be adaptable enough to respond. Whilst you’re at it, why not also mention the choices that you had when deciding how to respond to the challenge? This will show your would-be employer both that you can think, make appropriate decisions, and that you can learn from an experience. When they ask the almost inevitable “What would you have done differently?” you can go back to the “choices” you mentioned and talk about what would have happened if you had made a different one. Preparing an answer to include choices, gives you a helpful reference point and reduces the need to think on your feet, keeping you in control of the conversation and reducing the potential of any stress you’re feeling to numb your mind in the moment of the interview.

Become a great story teller

So how can your favourite comedian help? Well if it’s Milton Jones, probably not too much since one-liners in an interview probably won’t help you tell your story. But for more relevant inspiration, what not check out one of the many situational comedians around, men and women who know how to tell an engaging story. How does Michael Macintyre make a memorable story out of a drawer? Or how could Holly Walsh make you think about how your workplace could be your stage? Whether you use the STAR or SCCAR model, you can draw on their story-telling gift to help you describe the situation. What can you say about the place the situation took place – what is there about it that was memorable or interesting? Who was involved and what can you say about their personalities, how they were feeling and the effect they were having on you? How was their behaviour or demeanour changed by what you did? What comparison can you draw to describe what was happening in the situation to that happed in the result?

Invite your interviewer into your story

The gift of a great comedian or story teller of any kind is that they draw you into  the story, and make you feel a part of it. Paint a picture or create a scene and invite your interviewer to join you in it. Remind them that they too have faced challenges when going into a new job and show them what have in common – an ability to adapt and show your best self.

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