Preparing to Interview at the AAMC
At the AAMC, we encourage you to present your authentic self for an interview. We value individuality and what you will bring to our organization. The information presented below can assist with preparing to meet our people.
Once you’ve completed the Talent Acquisition (TA) Partner and Hiring Manager screens, you will participate in a behavioral-based panel interview. Prior to the interview, your TA Partner will share the names of the panelists along with their titles.
Although each position has its own set of unique competencies, there are eight core competencies that all AAMC employees possess. We define competency as the capability to apply a set of related knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform critical tasks or functions in a specific setting.
AAMC Core Competencies
- Ensures Accountability — Holds self and others accountable to meet commitments.
- Communicates Effectively — Develops and delivers multimode communications that convey a clear understanding of the unique needs of different audiences.
- Collaborates — Builds partnerships and works collaboratively with others to meet shared objectives.
- Decision Quality — Makes good and timely decisions that keep the organization moving forward.
- Demonstrates Self-Awareness — Using a combination of feedback and reflection to gain productive insight into personal strengths and weaknesses.
- Develops Talent — Developing people to meet both their career goals and organization’s goals.
- Values Differences — Recognizing the value that different perspectives and cultures bring to an organization.
- Enterprise Mindset — Prioritizes the needs of the overall organization over team and cluster needs and makes decisions based on the benefit to the total enterprise.
More About Behavioral-Based Interviewing
The AAMC practices behavioral-based interviewing, which focuses on your past experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities. This style of interviewing allows our team to hear concrete examples of how you handle the work you do and reduces hiring bias by focusing on facts.
The AAMC is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. The AAMC is committed to the policy of an equal employment opportunity in recruitment, hiring, career advancement, and all other personnel practices. The AAMC will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.
During a behavioral-based interview, the interviewer asks questions that will prompt you to provide specific examples from previous work experiences. These questions typically start with phrases such as "Tell me about a time when ..." or "Give me an example of ..." The purpose is to understand your approach to challenges, problem-solving abilities, and effectiveness.
The Star Method
The underlying principle behind behavioral-based interviewing is the STAR method, which stands for
- Situation: Explain the scene and provide context up front.
- Task: Describe the task that you were responsible for.
- Action: Explain the steps you took to address the situation.
- Result: Describe the outcomes achieved based on your action(s).
The STAR table (PDF) will help you document your past experiences and make it easier to tell the panel about your work. Below are a few tips to consider when completing your STAR table.
- Thoroughly review the job description and the AAMC core competencies.
- Document situations you’ve navigated throughout your professional and academic career. It’s important to focus on situations you’ve actually experienced, as you want to be able to confidently answer any follow-up questions the panel may have.
- Read your STAR table aloud to become comfortable speaking about your experiences.
Set Appropriate Time to Interview
When you are invited to a panel interview, be sure to provide your TA Partner with spans of time you are available. For example, be available the entire morning or entire afternoon for an interview to best accommodate scheduling. Take the interview in a quiet place with limited distractions. Please allow space for flexibility in scheduling as the TA team strives to meet the needs of both the panel and the candidates.
Review the Job Description
Nobody knows you like you. Our panelists are ready to hear about why you feel the role would best fit your skill set and often want more context to what’s in your resume. Before interviewing, be sure to review the job description thoroughly and prepare to make connections between the work you have done and what the role is asking for. Using real-life examples is the best way to communicate your experience. If you do not have a copy of the job description, please ask your TA Partner and they will provide it.
Structuring Your Answers
There are many ways to provide concise and meaningful responses to interview questions. Our panelists want to hear what your actions were in a variety of situations. Try to avoid using “we” statements too often to describe your work. Focus on what you have done.
Q: Tell me about a time when you had to communicate something important to someone who did not understand your industry or function’s technical language.
A: In my previous role as a software developer, I often had to communicate complex technical concepts to nontechnical partners. One particular instance stands out when I had to explain a software architecture overhaul to our marketing team, most of whom had limited technical knowledge.
I realized that using technical jargon would only confuse them further, so I scheduled a series of small, interactive workshops. During these sessions, I used simple language, analogies, and visual aids like flowcharts and diagrams to illustrate the changes. I related the new architecture to a familiar concept: building a house. Components like databases were explained as the foundation, and the user interface was compared to the interior design.
I encouraged questions and made sure to address each one patiently. After the workshops, I followed up with supporting materials, including a summary document with key points and an FAQs section.
The result was very positive. The marketing team not only understood the changes but also felt more engaged and confident in discussing technical aspects afterward. This improved understanding facilitated smoother collaboration between our technical and nontechnical teams, leading to more effective marketing strategies based on a deeper comprehension of our software capabilities.
Speak on Your Accomplishments
When speaking about the work you have done, it’s easy to forget to mention the impact that work had on the team and organization. Think about performance metrics and how you improved processes, outputs, and goals. We also encourage asking how success is measured in the role you are applying for. Practice describing a problem or task. Where were you? What action(s) did you take? What solution(s) came from it?
Think About Your Entire Career Journey
Your entire work history plays a part in what you bring to the table. Think about the experiences you’ve had at the beginning of your career journey and highlight milestones that helped you to get where you are. You’d be surprised how much those experiences can really paint a full picture!
Always be prepared to ask questions during the interview. It’s best to come prepared with questions but also have a pen and pad handy to jot down any questions that may cross your mind as the interview is taking place. When preparing your questions, it's beneficial to fully reflect on your interest in the position and what the panel may share.
Test Your Technology
Most of our interviews take place virtually using Microsoft Teams or Zoom, so be sure that your browser supports both platforms and that your camera and audio are functioning properly. Take the interview in a place with a strong internet connection.
Remember It’s OK to Pause
It’s natural to feel the urge to answer a question immediately after being asked, but we encourage you to take the time to pause and think about your answer before speaking. Often, it results in a more concise answer with minimal filler words. Also, if you need the question repeated, it’s ok to ask!
We can’t stress enough how important it is to bring your authentic self to the interview. We aren’t looking for you to be someone you are not. Show your personality and be confident in who you are. If you are invited to an interview, we are already interested!
Look the Part
Virtual offices have allowed for more comfortable clothing when working, so we encourage dressing comfortably but polished for interviews. The AAMC does not discriminate based on personal appearance but does ask that in the interest of conducting effective business with constituents, members, volunteer leaders, board members and fostering a respectful work environment, that you wear clothing that is properly fitted and cover any symbols or words that could reasonably be considered unprofessional or offensive to others. While there is likely to be minor differentiation between some work units, we describe our standard dress as business casual.
Being prepared for an interview can turn what might be a stressful process into a valuable opportunity for personal and professional development. Remember that each interview, regardless of the outcome, is a chance to learn and grow, bringing you one step closer to your desired career path.
Have a question about interviewing at the AAMC that was not here? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.