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Creating a golden thread in job interviews

04 Dec 14:00 by Sally Bartley

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What did the iconic Australian biscuit say to the candidate?

It’s an odd question to contemplate, but the answer may just unlock the secret to nailing your next job interview!

Answer

Situation.

Action.

Outcome.

Not just a savoury snack that many of us grew up on, the SAO is also a simple and effective technique to help calm your nerves, focus your mind and create an articulate golden thread when answering scenario-based interview questions.

While there is nothing wrong with bringing energy to a job interview – you definitely want to send the message that you’re enthusiastic about the opportunity – it can become a problem when this energy affects your ability to really listen and hear the questions you are being asked.

When we are excited or nervous, both very normal states in an interview situation, we can fail to paint the whole picture for the interviewer, instead jumping ahead of ourselves, failing to provide vital context or examples or waffling on and never quite finding the point we’re searching for …..

And this is where SAO will help.

Situation; what was it?

Action; what did you do?

Outcome; the results you achieved.

Scenario or behaviour-based questions tend to focus around common themes such as conflict with a customer or colleague, decision making and leadership, success and failure, ability to adapt, communication skills and relationships.

Using the SAO acronym as your guide you can easily pre-prepare and, importantly, practice several examples that will demonstrate how you have handled the types of situations mentioned above. The role’s position description will also provide insight into the key competencies you will be expected to demonstrate and therefore likely to be asked about during an interview.

So when it comes to preparing for a job interview, as the old jingle goes, “You can’t beat a SAO, that’s a fact”.  

Check out our video below for more advice on the SAO technique, or visit our blog here for more on preparing for job interviews.