Building Your Story Bank

Learn how to create a story bank to showcase your skills and experiences during your tech job interview. Follow our step-by-step guide to craft effective stories and ace your interview.

Andrea's Headshot by Andrea April 10, 2022
Building Your Story Bank

As a job seeker in the tech industry, you know that job interviews can be challenging. You need to showcase your technical skills and experience, while also demonstrating your problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and teamwork. One effective way to prepare for these interviews is to create a story bank - a collection of stories and examples that highlight your strengths and experiences.

By having a story bank, you can more easily and readily draw upon specific examples from your past experiences to demonstrate their capabilities and problem-solving skills.

But how do you create a story bank, and how do you know if it’s effective? In this blog post, we’ll explore the process of creating and validating a story bank for tech job interviews.

Step 1: Seed your story bank

To seed your story bank, start by asking yourself the right questions based on your desired role, and then take the time to write down your responses and practice telling your stories out loud.

With a strong story bank in hand, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any interview questions that come your way and land your dream job in tech. So what are you waiting for? Start building your story bank today!

To get started, here are 10 questions you can use to seed your story bank:

  • Tell me about a time when you faced a technical challenge and how did you overcome it?
  • Can you give an example of a project where you had to work collaboratively with others to achieve a goal? What was your role in the project?
  • Describe a situation where you had to learn a new technology or programming language quickly. How did you go about learning it?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to explain a complex technical concept to a non-technical person. How did you ensure they understood it?
  • Can you share an experience where you had to resolve a conflict within a team or with a stakeholder?
  • Describe a project you worked on that required creative problem-solving. What was your approach to finding a solution?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you went above and beyond in a project or task? What motivated you to do so?
  • Share an experience where you had to prioritize multiple tasks or projects. How did you manage your time effectively?
  • Can you give an example of a project where you had to think outside the box to find a solution?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a problematic stakeholder or client. How did you handle the situation?

Among these questions, choose 5-8 that are most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Then, write down examples from your past experiences that can answer these questions.

These examples should be detailed, and they should highlight your skills and experiences.

Step 2: Validate your story bank

Now that you have a seed for your story bank, it’s time to validate it. This means testing your stories and examples to make sure they’re effective in showcasing your strengths and experiences. Here are some tips for validating your story bank:

  • Practice telling your stories out loud. This will help you get comfortable with the stories and identify areas you need to improve.
  • Ask a friend or mentor to review your stories. They can provide feedback on the content, delivery, and overall effectiveness of your stories.
  • Use your stories in mock interviews. This will help you practice answering questions in a real interview setting, and it will give you a chance to see how your stories are received by interviewers.
  • Track your success rate. Keep track of the questions you’re asked in interviews and how well your stories answer them. This will help you identify areas where you need to improve and refine your stories.

By validating your story bank, you’ll be able to refine your stories and improve your chances of success in tech job interviews.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, building a story bank is a valuable exercise for anyone preparing for a job interview in the tech industry. By taking the time to reflect on past experiences and craft effective stories, you can showcase your skills and experiences in a clear and concise manner that will impress potential employers.

Bonus: Role-by-Role Seeding Questions

Software Engineer:

  • Tell me about a particularly challenging technical problem you had to solve.
  • What was the most significant contribution you made to a previous project, and how did you achieve it?
  • Can you describe a project you worked on that involved collaboration with a team? What role did you play, and what was the outcome?
  • Have you ever had to refactor a large section of code? What was your approach, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Tell me about a time you identified a bug or inefficiency in a system and proposed a solution.

Product Manager:

  • Describe a product or feature that you conceptualized and brought to market. What were the biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?
  • Have you ever had to prioritize features or projects when resources were limited? How did you make those decisions?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to work with cross-functional teams to launch a product. How did you collaborate, and what was the outcome?
  • What steps do you take to ensure that your product development process stays on track and meets deadlines?
  • Can you give an example of a product that didn’t meet user expectations? What did you learn from that experience?

Program Manager:

  • Describe a time when you had to manage a particularly complex project. What steps did you take to ensure its success?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a project that was behind schedule or over budget? How did you get it back on track?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with conflicting priorities from different stakeholders. How did you manage those expectations?
  • What strategies do you use to manage and motivate cross-functional teams? How do you ensure everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals?
  • Can you give an example of a project where you had to adapt your approach mid-way through? What led to the change, and what was the outcome?

VP of Engineering:

  • Tell me about a significant technical challenge your team faced, and how you led them to overcome it.
  • What strategies do you use to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends in the industry?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a situation where your team’s technical approach was not aligned with the company’s goals or vision? How did you handle it?
  • Describe a time when you had to make a tough decision that affected the future of the company’s engineering efforts. What was the situation, and what led to your decision?
  • How do you foster innovation and creativity within your engineering teams? Can you give an example of a time when this resulted in a successful outcome?

Engineering Manager:

  • Can you tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict within your engineering team? How did you handle it?
  • What strategies do you use to ensure your team is working efficiently and delivering high-quality work?
  • Have you ever had to coach or mentor a team member who was struggling with a particular skill or task? What did you do, and what was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to balance the needs of your engineering team with the goals of the company. How did you manage those priorities?
  • How do you approach team building and creating a positive culture within your engineering teams? Can you give an example of a successful outcome?
 

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