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Don’t Tell Stories From The Good Old Days

By Gerald Walsh ©

There’s this principle in hiring that “past performance is the best predictor of future performance.”

The principle is self-explanatory: If you have performed a certain way in the past, there is a high probability you will perform the same way in the future, assuming circumstances are similar.

This is how the concept of behavioral interviewing emerged. Interviewers ask questions that are designed to solicit examples of past behaviors. Since you are providing real evidence of a specific skill, theoretically, it should prove you have that skill and reduce the risk of hiring you.

I love behavioral questions and use them a lot. There is only one problem. Sometimes candidates—mostly those in mid-career or beyond—come across like they are telling stories from the “good old days.”

If your audience is a younger audience, you want to avoid leaving this impression.

While you do have to convey your experience, you should always try to link it to the future and explain how you will apply this experience in the new job.

While your experiences are important, do not leave the interviewer with the impression you are recycling old ideas.


Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. During a 30 year career, he has interviewed more than 10,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn.