This question can be answered many ways but overall the value an employer is seeking from you is your ability to solve problems related to the position; and your ability to work well with others. If you're having an interview conversation with an employer they already believe you're qualified to do the job. The interview is to determine fit for company culture, colleagues and customers or clients.
To accomplish these two objectives, you need to be able to tell stories about your past and how those accomplishments or problem solving skills relate to the company's current pain points. Here's an example:
"Tell me about a time you had a challenge or conflict at work." The employer is asking how you deal with difficulty, problem solving or disagreements. Choose a story from your life that you can tell in under 3 minutes. Use the SOAR method (Situation-Obstacle-Action-Result). Briefly describe the situation; what the obstacle was; what action(s) you took; and what the result was.
Here's an example from my own life: (Situation) I started a new role and needed to work with a manager that had a reputation of being overly sensitive and stubborn. (Obstacle) This knowledge caused me some anxiety and prevented me from being as effective as I would normally be. Through a series of email communications, a misunderstanding occurred. I interpreted the manager was picking on me and she interpreted that I thought she was a horrible manager. (Action) What I did was took time to have a problem solving conversation with her with the sincere intention to resolve the misunderstanding and improve the relationship. (Result) What happened was we were able to uncover the source of the misunderstanding; have a sincere conversation about how it occurred; and re-frame our relationship to be both supportive and collaborative moving forward. She turned out to be one of my favorite managers with which to work and problem solve.
Julia recommends the following next steps:
- Do an internet search on the most common interview questions
- Create stories using the format above to practice responses to those questions