Answering Interview Questions Through Storytelling

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

The big day has finally arrived. You are nervous, yet excited for today’s job interview. You keep telling yourself that the interview is your time to shine – and it is! One of the new techniques that you have prepared for is the use of telling stories and providing detailed examples as a way to answer some of the interview questions.

During your interview you will be asked various questions, some of which can be answered by telling stories or sharing examples. These include questions that begin with the phrase “tell me about a time when . . .” or “give me an example of . . .” These types of questions can really help you to sell yourself and to connect with the members of the search committee. And the good news is people like to hear stories.

So how do you tell a good story? One of the best and easiest ways to tell a story is to follow the following guidelines:

  1. Identify Your Story – You will want to identify which of your accomplishments, achievements or examples you want to communicate through the use of a story.
  2. Organize An Outline For Your Story – Follow the PAR format for storytelling – Problem (or situation), Action, and Result.
  3. Write Out The Story (30 seconds to 2 minutes in length) – Once you have identified a particular situation where you have excelled, and you have also outlined the event, you will then begin to write out the story. As you’re writing, you will describe the problem or situation that you faced, continue by describing the actions you took, and conclude by describing the results or outcomes.
  4. Read Your Story Out Loud – Once you have written the story, read it out load and make sure it is written exactly how you want it to be expressed.
  5. Practice Reciting Your Story – As with all of your answers to potential interview questions, you will want to practice reciting your stories so they flow naturally and are communicated with confidence.
  6. Organize Your Stories – Once the story is complete, you will want to type your story, and keep it organized along with your answers to all potential interview questions.

In telling a story, be sure that you communicate all three parts of the story – describe the problem, communicate the actions that you took, and share the results. Since this is a job interview, make sure your stories have a positive message, and that you communicate your stories with energy, enthusiasm and confidence. Best of luck on your upcoming interviews!


Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at or his new book Execute for Success at


Helping You Get A Job In Sports

2nd edition Image

In Getting Hired In College Sports you will discover:

  • The types of jobs that exist in college sports
  • How to plan and navigate your career
  • How to create an effective job search campaign 
  • The proper way to create an effective resume, cover letter, and sales pitch
  • How to properly brand yourself
  • Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
  • How to properly prepare yourself for the five types of interview questions 
  • How to properly follow-up after the interview in order to influence the decision of the hiring manager

Only $23.95 Click Here To Purchase 

“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators.  This is a must read for anyone who has a goal of working in athletic administration”

-Bill Fusco
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University




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