Proper preparation is critical for a strong performance in any job interview. In today’s competitive job market, it is crucial to create a strategy for communicating your accomplishments to your interviewer in a succinct and memorable fashion. The C.A.R. method will allow you to do just that by providing a straightforward method for sharing examples of your past successes.
What is C.A.R.?
C.A.R. stands for the three components that will form the basis of a five to six sentence story that exemplifies your accomplishments: challenge, action and result. By sharing a story about a challenge you have faced in the past, you provide an opportunity to showcase the action that you took to overcome it and can demonstrate to your interviewer that you achieved the desired result.
C.A.R. stories should be succinct and limited only to relevant details. They need to be easily recalled both by you and your interviewer. You should prepare these stories in advance of your interview.
Building Your C.A.R.
When constructing your C.A.R. story, emphasize important aspects of each component while keeping in mind what the company you are interviewing with is likely to value.
When selecting a challenge to talk about, ask yourself how this challenge was out of the ordinary and what types of stresses and difficulties this placed on you. A challenge that could arise again in your potential position at the new company may be a good choice to demonstrate your skills and strengths.
Next, describe your action to overcome the challenge or rectify the problem. Discuss your creative and innovative approach and why you chose to act as you did. Be sure to be clear about your goals when you undertook the action. Include how you managed employees under your supervision and how you worked with your own management to accomplish the task at hand as a team.
Finally, relate the results of your action. Be specific in explaining what you achieved for the company and why this was valuable. Quantify your results if possible and use concrete examples as much as possible. Also discuss any other parties, such as your manager or the employees you supervise, that benefited from the results that you achieved.
Driving Your C.A.R.
The C.A.R. method is most effective when applied at the right time. C.A.R. should be used to provide memorable examples in lieu of standard positive or neutral responses to interviewer questions. When asked questions about your strengths or weaknesses, you can implement a C.A.R. story to help emphasize your value to your potential employer. Effective use of the C.A.R. strategy will give your interviewer a fuller picture of your skills and abilities.
Maintaining Your C.A.R.
When using the C.A.R. strategy, be sure to prepare and practice your stories in advance. Remember that they should be concise and easy to follow, taking only a few extra minutes to share. You should avoid long-winded descriptions or overly complicated stories that will confuse your listener or take up valuable time in your interviewer. This tool is intended to enhance your communication by sharing concrete examples of your previous achievements, not distract your interviewer.
Getting Ahead with C.A.R.
Creating and sharing C.A.R. stories is a powerful strategy that will emphasize your strengths. Combined with proper interview preparation and practice, C.A.R. offers the determined candidate an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. In the competitive world of today’s job market, it is essential that you know hot to drive your C.A.R. to success.
Dunya Carter is a marketing and HR consultant and writer from Brisbane, Australia. She is currently working for Ochre Recruitment, a medical recruitment agency placing candidates in doctor jobs across Australia. Dunya recently started blogging on HR-related topics at HR Zone and she also wrote for many popular job search and HR websites including The Fordyce Letter, College Recruiter, Colleague and others. You can connect with Dunya on Twitter.