You’re ready to interview for the position of your dreams, and this isn’t your first rodeo. You’re experienced enough to know to arrive early, leave the phone in the car, dress the part and all the other tips that have gotten you this far.

Now you did remember to bring your highlight reel with you, right?

Don’t worry. You’re not actually bringing a tangible video. Your highlight reel is about reflecting on what you would say when asked questions that you can likely predict with some degree of certainty. It’s having real examples that you can refer to in order to best answer questions without needing to dig too deep into your mind trying to remember details on the spot.

  • Tell me about a time you saved your company a lot of money.
  • Tell me about your biggest success.
  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond.

Your answers should be specific. A nebulous generalization doesn’t cut it. Your responses should be thorough yet concise. Share your highlight without droning on.

Without a highlight reel, it’s tempting to offer an example of what jumps first to mind rather than the responding with a precise example. Nobody likes awkward silences. Make sure your highlight reel is fresh in your mind prior to your interview.

Never overstate your role, but in thinking about what examples to choose, consider what would have happened were you not in the equation. Ideally you want to show that your role led to significant results.

Challenge yourself to put some real thought into your highlight reel. If you’re the LeBron James of your field, take the intentional, quiet time to come up a clear vision of your highlight reel beforehand. If LeBron were asked about a time, he was a difference maker, does he respond with the NBA Finals Game 7 in 2016, Cleveland vs. Golden State, when he came out of nowhere to block Andre Iguodala’s shot to prevent the Warriors from taking the lead with under two minutes left? Or might LeBron’s potential new employer better relate to a more recent example, the game last year when as a Los Angeles Laker, he broke the NBA’s  all-time scoring record, securing his 38,388th regular-season point to surpass the 39-year-old mark set by Kareen Abdul-Jabbar?

Flip through the catalog of your achievements and categorize them ahead of time so you can offer the best answer. Write down or type up everything that you are really proud of ahead of time. Reflecting on  what you have achieved will move the needle.

If you’re a hiring manager, make sure you can pull examples from your company’s highlight reel as well. They’re critical to attracting top talent in today’s market where retaining the best people is challenging.

Why does a top performer want to work for you? Have that answer down. Ever been eager to share a clip from an actual highlight reel only to spend way too much time rewinding then fast forwarding until finally landing on that footage? That can drain the air out of the room. Don’t be that guy! Be ready to press play right from the jump when touting how your experience makes you the perfect fit for a career opportunity that checks all the boxes.

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