From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

July 2007
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Interview Response: SARI for Behavioral Qeustions
Filed under: Interviewing, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 6:20 am

Behavioral questions like, ‘Tell me
about a time when ….’  or
‘What is your experience doing …’
are common in interviews.

We coach people to consider creating
memorable stories using the acronym
CauseActionResult [or SituationTask

Penelope Trunk Brazen Career recently
interviewed Jason Warner of Google
who opined, “…
less than 3% of all
candidates frame up their answers…
 the ones who do really stand out.  

Not every question will be best suited
to this approach, but it works well on
[m]any …remember …an acronym
called SARI, for Situation, Action,
Result, and Interesting Features. 
(You can remember
it by considering if you don’t learn this
interview technique you may be SARI.)

“…structure your [response] like this:

Situation: give the interviewer context. 
                Less detail is better, 
                give enough detail to paint the picture. 

Action:      explain what you did.  
                 using the intangible “we” is
one of the most common interview mistakes
                 describe specific behaviors
that you actually did. 

Result:      share the net result to the business.  
                 quantify this with numbers or other
business metrics

Interesting Features: 
tell something special and/or  
memorable about the story, 
                  tie it back to competencies
to strengthen your answer.”


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Resume Input
Filed under: Position Searching
Posted by: site admin @ 5:58 am

As a friend and colleague put it, she asked
how does it feel to be on the other side of
the desk?  It is all about attitude.  If you take
input as fresh perspective using all the focus
you can on learning, it is exhilating.

Yesterday, I visited the Career Center and
conducted an introductory interview to list
where I was in my job search, what my
goals were, and what I could benefit from.

I brought my resume, CV (for academic
roles), job search plan, and some ideas
I had.  We talked about several things
and planned that I would return in the
afternoon to talk about taking Spanish
and relevant computer software training
in Vista and the other latest programs.

Upon my return, that option was not
available.  However, an experienced
resume reviewer offered to review my
resume.  Would I be interested in going
over my resume?

There is always something to gain by having
someone reflect on your public relations
document.  So, I said yes.

He had interesting perspectives that I
am proud to share.

Contact information:  He liked my listing
my web-site that revealed personal,
professional, and avocational interests.
It got him to want to learn about several
items– what is six sigma black belt, how
is my goal related to my background?

Bolding items and underlining items:  It
is like “newspapers on the newspaper
rack” analogy, he said.  If you were in a
“strange city and wanted to get the news
from a paper which one would you
choose?”  That one that is attractive,
the one that has the easiest to find
story of interest right up front, and the one
that is not cluttered with ‘too much

Objective:  Please tell them what the
resume author can do for the prospective
company.  Don’t spend the space telling
what you have done in a historical fashion.

Some of My Learnings:
1.  Post your well designed web-page,
if you have one.  [This was the first time
I tried this and got some feedback.  It was
in my heading information.]

2.  Use bolding and alignment to your
advantage and test it out with some fresh
eyes.  [I did not realize that my standard
chronolgical resume had bolded the
companies names and section headings
but unbolded everything else.  I would not
normally bold the company names.  But
there they were!  He, in fact, thought it
would be wise to bold the position titles.
Interesting!  I might try that.]

3.  I had ‘too much information’ that cluttered
up the space.  Reduce the information.
[I listed each major title and the date of each
position.  I listed a position I held 25 years
ago.  He thought I–  
           coulde reduce all the dates down
to just the bare essentials, cutting out
6 date sets.  
did not need to list my position
25 years ago on the resume.  We differed
here.  Exxon is/was a premium
worldwide employer.  Saying you worked
there is a positive.

4.  Based on what I was seeking, should I
consider a functional resume.  [Hmm, I will
have to give that some thought.  What
transferable skills can I portray of a fundamental
biological researcher that I have practiced
over the last 30-plus years?  Let me work
on that.]

My action items:
-  make changes to the current chronological
-  begin creating a functional resume for the
new field I am comtemplating.

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