Career Advice

What the "Tell Me About a Time When..." Question Means

Hired People July 12, 2018

Not all prospective employers have the same format for interviewing, but many of them do. Some of them ask famous questions that start with "Tell me about a time when" something happened. Here's what they're looking for from you:

Awareness of Your Skills

The prospective employer wants to see whether you are aware of your own skill set. If you can think back, look deep into your past, and put together a coherent explanation of something extraordinary that you have done, then you will most likely pass the test.

Your Ability to Articulate

The other thing that the prospective employer is looking for is your ability to articulate. This person wants to know if you can effectively communicate these ideas and events to him or her in a manner that is easy to understand. Can you tell a compelling story, and can you keep the interviewer's attention? Those are unspoken elements that the employer wants to see.

Examples of Problem-Solving Skills

The third thing that these questions seek to answer is whether you have problem-solving skills. These questions are aimed to force you to explain how you resolved some type of problem in the past. Your answer will let the prospective employer know where you're at in that regard. Failure to answer the questions will not go over well.

Those are three things that you need to know about the "Tell me about a time when" series. The best way to prepare yourself for your upcoming job interview is to rehearse several "Tell me about a time when" question answers. Tell yourself about a time when you went above the call of duty for a customer, or you resolved a work conflict or you did something that earned you special merit. Don't go to the interview without preparing for it.