Quick Tips on Interviewing - The S-O-A-R Technique

By Robert Taub

Your stories should tell about actions that you took to bring about positive change. The "SOAR" story technique does just that: A sure-fire method for bridging your qualifications and successes to the needs the targeted company.

One of the most important tenets in product marketing applies here in career planning:
Differentiate your product from others in the marketplace.

John Folcarelli, Labor Attorney and Human Resource Manager for Laidlaw Education: "Most people involved in planning their career tend to fly by the seat of their pants rather than exercise control over the process as it unfolds. For instance, in the interview, instead of simply reacting to questions imposed by the interviewer, the job candidate can and should attempt to take on more responsibility for influencing the direction of the interview.” The story technique does just that. It is a method for bridging your qualifications and past successes to the needs the targeted company.

Your stories should tell about actions that you took to bring about a positive change. Story techniques cover the "before", the "action" and the "after." You can begin by first explaining what had existed that required your attention: Situation. Next consider how this new challenge may benefit the enterprise and you: Opportunity. Briefly describe what you did: Action. Lastly, describe the outcome and its benefits to you and the company: Results. Here are two examples of the use of the story technique or “S.O.A.R”:

Example 1

(S) I was selected by top management to lead a corporation into the US market and…
(O) I recognized an opportunity to have a big impact on operations at a wholly owned subsidiary.
(A) Over a two-year period I developed a cohesive staff which went on to develop 1.5 million square feet of office properties at $350 million which…
(R) Produced over $25 million of net operating income and $4 million net cash flow for the corporation resulting a promotion to President of the wholly owned subsidiary.

Example 2

(S) The ownership of a physical therapy and sports medicine company recruited me to…
(O) Lead, grow and concurrently stabilize a $4.7 million health systems company staffed by 85 professionals.
(A) I developed and executed all business plans and opened new markets in industrial and corporate health promotion, …
(R) positioning the company for its very profitable $6.6 million sale, $2.5 million more than the ownership had anticipated.

A strong, well-articulated philosophy, sound success concepts and persuasive examples of your successes using the Story Techniques (SOAR) are essential for securing a quality position.

Rob Taub, a 21-year veteran in the career consulting field who heads the RLS Executive Group, N.E. for RL Stevens & Associates, has also been active as a fund-raiser for Technology in Education, an auctioneer with WGBH Public Television, a debate moderator with Community Access Television, an instructor for Junior Achievement and a youth sports coach. He has also been a guest speaker for community organizations, chambers of commerce and alumni associations on a wide range of subjects including Education, Technology, Career Management, Marketing Communications and Direct Selling.

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