(MoneyWatch) People often spend a lot of time preparing for job interviews by trying to come up with specific answers to all the typical interview questions. If that sounds like the way you prepare for an interview -- tactically planning out detailed answers to lots of unique questions -- there might be a better way.
Recently, Lifehacker zeroed in on an excellent strategy for arriving at an interview equipped with not all the answers, but just the right ones.
In a nutshell, don't try to craft perfect answers to the common interview questions. Instead, choose three great real-life stories from your career experiences. These stories should be broad enough that you can use them -- or parts of them -- to answer most interview questions about your skills and experience. Whether the question is phrased like "Tell me about a time that you struggled with a deadline," or "What kind of distance collaboration experience do you have?" these stories are your go-to place.
Not only is it a lot easier to remember just three stories instead of disparate anecdotes and answers for two dozen situations, but these stories provide consistency and cohesion to your interview. And they're situations you should be proud to share -- so your competency and enthusiasm will shine through your presentation.
This is great advice. Hiring managers love answers that draw on specific real-life situations from your past, whether they phrased the question that way or not. And this lets you focus on what makes you a remarkable candidate. And perhaps most importantly, this technique lets you turn the interview into a real conversation, rather than a checklist-style call-and-response exercise. That will help you get the job.
Photo courtesy Flickr user bpsusf