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I remember one of my first interviews as a first-year MBA with a major, international automobile manufacturer. I did horrible ... horrible. My responses were unstructured, I did not translate my military experience at all, my communication style was stiff, and I expected the interview team to have extensive knowledge of special operations. I was the only member from my business school that did not get a second-round callback interview.
After that interview, I learned that I had to apply my military experience to understand, plan, execute and improve how I approached an interview. Just like rehearsing actions on the objective, or planning a raid, interviews must be prepared for and practiced in order to be successful. Interviews can be difficult, but they are immeasurably easier when you plan your strategy, prepare your answers and practice your performance.
The first part of an interview preparation strategy is to have an honest, personal and approachable communication style. The ability to quickly establish an effective communication exchange in an interview is essential to having an effective interview. This can be achieved through the HEAT model.
• Humility: A humble, but straightforward and honest style with clear, non-military language.
• Engagement: Strong personal leadership presence in the interview process demonstrating readiness to help the company.
• Attitude: A willingness to translate and apply military skills and background to meet company needs.
• Timely, complete response: The use of a complete and brief answer style to address all interview questions.
The HEAT interview communication model will help establish and maintain an engaged and effective communication style that is essential to a successful interview.
The second part of an interview preparation strategy includes maintaining a standardized, consistent and structured question-response style to ensure interviewers understand and recognize your experience and how you will be able to executive your responsibilities in a civilian role. The use of a standard framework like the STAR format for responding to interview questions will ensure that you effectively relay how your military experience and personal values will be an immediate benefit for the company that hires you. Explaining your impact on a process to save money, to create a new process, to make something safer, or to reduce risk are absolutely essential examples that should be used to convince an employer that your military skills and background will make their company better.
• Situation: Fully describe the setting, living conditions, weather and operating environment of a specific situation you found yourself in using simple, clear and non-military language. Provide details on what made the assigned task so challenging.
• Task: Fully describe what task you and your team were assigned to do and the ways you measured the effectiveness of your mission. Make sure you highlight roadblocks and other challenges that you met.
• Actions: Discuss what steps you and your team took to understand, plan and execute the plan to achieve your results.
• Results: Discuss the outcome of your actions and how they achieved the intended results.
The STAR format is easy to use and easy to remember when answering an interview question.
The third part of a successful interview preparation strategy is the ability to answer the 10 questions below employing the HEAT communication method in the STAR format. Don’t be afraid to practice each answer out loud to ensure your response is well-thought out and clearly articulated during the actual interview.
- What would your current boss say is a weakness of yours?
- How do you translate and apply your military experience and background to this position and company?
- Why did you choose this company and this industry?
- Describe a time you overcame failure.
- Describe a time when you led a cross-functional team in a project.
- Describe a time when you made an unhappy customer happy.
- Describe a time when you used technology to improve a process.
- Describe a time when you created a new process. How did it solve a problem?
- Describe a time you dealt with and managed a difficult boss or colleague.
- What would you change in this company today if you could?
Once you have answers to these questions mastered, you can use them to answer other questions that may not be on this list.
A successful interview uses a relaxed and effective communication style combined with a structured, complete response to common interview questions. The HEAT communication style combined with the STAR response method will ensure that you walk into your next job interview confident and ready to impress.
The command chief of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from his position last month after his chain of command received evidence he disrespected his subordinates.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."
Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.
He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.
WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.
The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.