My Plan: interview & negotiate


The fact that you have been called in for an interview suggests that the potential employer already believes you are qualified for the job. It is now your job to prove it! Below are proven interview techniques to help you demonstrate that you are in fact the best candidate for the position.

Summary Statement

What is a Summary Statement?

A Summary Statement is a brief introduction of your skills and abilities as they relate to the position. It is used to answer questions about your past experience and education. The Summary Statement is made up of three parts.

  • Describe your years of relevant experience and related education.
  • Highlight technical and non-technical skills or other special knowledge.
  • Provide personal qualities and job-related values that are relevant to your desired position.


Sample Question: Tell me about yourself.


Answer: I have over five years of experience as an Administrative Assistant. Throughout my career I have worked in fast-paced business environments. My key skills include typing 60+wpm, working with the advanced features of MS Word and Excel, and responding to customer questions. I have extensive experience coordinating and scheduling travel, special events, and projects for senior management. I would say that I am dependable, self-motivated, and known for producing high quality results.


Click here  to download a worksheet to help you create your own Summary Statement.

Click here to view a list of sample interview questions where the Summary Statement could be used.

Accomplishment Stories / PSR

What is a PSR?

A PSR is a short story that describes your skills and experience. It is used to answer questions about your strengths, skills, and abilities. The PSR framework provides a logical structure to paint a memorable picture for your interviewers, helping them to remember you and your accomplishments long after the interview ends. Each PSR story contains three parts.

  • Problem: What was going on?
  • Solution: What did you do?
  • Result: What was the benefit to the employer?



  • Problem: Staff were submitting time cards with errors.
  • Solution: I created a spreadsheet that would automatically allocate staff time to correct charge codes.
  • Result: Staff time cards were accurate, saving me time on correcting and updating time cards.


Sample interview response to : Tell me about a time you came up with a solution to solve an existing problem at work.


Answer: When I was working as a program supervisor I was spending a lot of time reviewing and correcting time cards. Our time cards were done manually by each staff member. I decided to create an automated time card using excel. The new template automatically checked hours for each day and allocated time to different charge codes. The new system reduced the number of errors and cut the time it took to review weekly time cards down by 75%.


Click here  to download a worksheet to help you create your own PSRs.

Click here to view a list of sample interview questions where the PSR technique could be used.

Sandwiching Negatives

What is a Sandwich?

A Sandwich is used to respond to negative questions. This is a three-part reply that sandwiches negative information between two positives. Sandwiches show a positive attitude – that you are able to see and present things in the best light.

How to construct a sandwich:

  • State a positive personal quality or value.
  • Briefly state your job related negative / weakness.
  • State what you have done or are currently doing to overcome this negative / weakness.
  • Link the benefit of your improvement in this area to the company that is interviewing you.


Sample Question: Tell me about one of your weakness.


Answer: Although I really like people, I get nervous when I speak in front of large groups. So I am working on this by taking public speaking classes at the local college. I think this will benefit your organization with the quarterly presentations that you mentioned.


Click here  to download a worksheet to help you create your own sandwiches.

Click here to view a list of sample interview questions where the sandwich technique could be used.

Salary Screen

How to address questions regarding salary

Effective January 1, 2018, employers operating in California may no longer ask an applicant for information on their salary history. Also an employer must, upon reasonable request, provide an applicant with the pay scale assigned to the position sought.


Strategies to Pass Salary Screen Questions

It is in your best interest to know the current market rate for the positions you are applying to. Please use the following resources:


If you are asked,“What are your salary expectations?” The best response will be “What is your range for this position?”

Based on the new law, they should provide you with the range. After they give you their range, get more information about the scope and responsibilities of the job in order to start building your value.


“Your range seems fair. Would you tell me more about the position?”

Independent recruiters may push for salary information. Since they are not the direct employer they may not provide the salary information. In this case, use the salary data you have collected to provide a range. “Based on my research I am looking for a salary or compensation package between X and Y.”


Click here to view a list of sample interview questions where the salary screen techniques could be used.

Closing the Interview

How Do I Close the Interview?

The end of the interview is your final opportunity to ask questions, express interest in the position, and determine next steps.

Three steps to an effective closing:

  1. Ask questions that demonstrate that you are engaged and that help you learn more about the position and company.
  2. Let the employer know that you interested in the position.
  3. Ask about next steps in the hiring process and ask for a business card so that you can follow-up.


Sample Question: Do you have any questions for me?


Answer: Although I learned a lot today, I do have a few remaining questions. Can you please tell me the key project you would like the person you hire to complete within the first three months on the job? Also what do you think is the biggest challenge for the person coming into this position? I want to thank you and your team for meeting with me today. I really enjoyed speaking with everyone and I learned a lot about the position and the team. I am excited about this opportunity. Can you tell me the next steps in the hiring process? Thanks again for your time, would you happen to have a business card?


Click here to view a list of sample questions that can be used through out the interview process.

Follow Up

Very few candidates follow up after an interview with a thank-you letter. Thank-you letters are your chance to go the extra mile and put yourself in front of the hiring manager one more time.

The thank you letter serves several purposes:

  • Keeps your name fresh in the interviewer’s mind and leaves a more lasting impression on your interviewer.
  • Demonstrates your enthusiasm for the job.
  • Reiterates your key qualifications and reminds your interviewer of how your capabilities will benefit the company and justify the risk.
  • Affords you the opportunity to clarify information you have provided and describe additional qualifications you may not have mentioned during the interview.


Sample Thank-You Letter:

Dear Ms. Wright,


I want to thank you for your time and the intriguing conversation concerning the unique requirements for your design engineer position. I was especially excited that our ideas about the future of D-Zine were so similar.


Your team is impressive, and I believe I could work quite effectively with them. My technical expertise in industrial robotics equipment could be a perfect complement to the talents they already possess. I also see my project management background and capacity for details benefiting you in getting all projects scheduled to utilize your team efficiently.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding our next steps. Thank you, again, for such an informative and enjoyable meeting.


All the best,


Behavior-Based Interviewing

What is it?

A form of interviewing that assesses past behavior as an indicator of future performance.

  • Interview to assess a candidate’s skills and competencies and compare them to the needs and preferences of the employer
  • Require candidates to talk about specific experiences from their past
  • Evaluate how past successes and challenges relate to the competencies necessary to perform well in the current job.

How is it developed?

  • Employer defines the skills, characteristics and competencies for the position = position profile.
  • Questions are then developed to probe for these characteristics by asking about past experience “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe a situation where…”

What types of questions can I expect?

  • Open-ended questions
  • Related to employer identified job profile
  • Questions that assess your behavior and reaction to both successes and challenges

How should I respond?

  • Put your interview responses in the Problem, Solution, Results (PSR) format whenever possible. Clearly describe your role or behavior in the situation and explain the outcome of the situation.
  • Use the sandwich technique if you are asked about a challenge, mistake, or negaitve. Follow up any negatives you were forced to reveal in your response with what you learned from the situation and how that has helped you overcome such obstacles and challenges since then.


Download this handout to create your job profile and review sample interview questions based on your job profile.

Additional tools to help you prepare for interviews:

MyPlan is the product of NOVAWorks and is accessed through their Creative Common Licenses. We thank NOVAWorks for providing access to MyPlan and resources to assist our customers.

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