“Before” and “After” Answer to Job Interview Question: “Can You Tell Me About a Time You Told the Truth and It Hurt You?”

Before_AfterTruthI regularly post “before” and “after” videos of commonly-asked job interview questions to my YouTube channel.

For the “before” video, the candidate is asked to answer the question without any preparation whatsoever.

Then we workshop the answer as I do with clients who have purchased the face-to-face QuickCheck package.  The “after” video shows a prepared answer to the same commonly-asked job interview question.  

Before a real interview, you would practice and polish all your answers to the most commonly-asked job interview questions (posts about those questions are here and here).

This week’s question:

“Can you tell me about a time you told the truth and it hurt you?”

In this “before” video, we get a great specific example. She is careful not to speak negatively about her current or former employer (never do that in an interview). What’s missing: the broad lesson you learned from that experience, how you rectified the situation, and what you’ll do about it in the future.

In the “after” interview, she gives the specific example and shows that the problem was solved, but makes it clear that the “truthful” communication surrounding the problem was a fail.  The lessons learned included:

  • the importance of direct communication with supervisors (instead of unproductive communication among peers);
  • the problem was solved, but only after communication with the supervisor was established;
  • don’t put negative comments in the writing in the future.  

You could be even more forceful about not putting anything negative into writing to show that you are discrete.  

Every answer should have:

  • a specific example that proves you have the skills, experience, or qualifications in question,
  • an explicit connection between your example and the traits sought in the ideal candidate for the job for which you are interviewing, and
  • a connection to the specific organization where you are interviewing that shows how it will benefit from having you as an employee.

2009 Head ShotDarcy Lear is a career coach specializing in job search documents, professional school applications, and interview preparation. To work on your “before” and “after” answers to any 3  job interview questions is $50. See details here. For one-on-one support in preparing for your job search or to set up a campus workshop, contact Darcy: darcylear@gmail.com
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