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The PARL Method for Interview Questions

  • The PARL approach helps you paint a picture for the interviewer of your skills and experiences. There is an art to telling a good story, and this method will guide you as you prepare to tell your story in an interview.
  • PARL stands for Problem/Action/Result/Learn. Spend some time learning about the PARL method and you will be able to give the interviewer the examples they need to see that you can do the job they are hiring for.


Problem  Identify the problem or situation you encountered. Set the stage and paint a visual picture for the interviewer. Briefly mention the experience you are referencing. 
Action What action did you take based on the situation or task? If it was in a group setting focus on what YOU did. Describe what you actually did, not what you might do.
Result Disclose the result of the action you took. What results did you achieve? What was the outcome? What did you accomplish? 
Learn Discuss what you learned from the experience (can be helpful to include when discussing previous failures or challenges).


What Makes a Good Story?

  • You can use examples from internships, work experience, activities, class projects, team participation, community service, hobbies, travel, study abroad, student organizations, and more. Reflect on your experiences and choose stories that highlight specific characteristics such as initiative, innovation, leadership, working with others / teamwork, critical thinking, communication, problem solving, overcoming obstacles, creativity, dealing with ambiguity, and flexibility.
  • You can also use examples of special accomplishments, such as winning the election and becoming president or treasurer of your student organization, raising money for charity or getting awarded a special scholarship for your academic accomplishments. Be as specific as possible when you answer the questions.

After the Interview


•  Email or write a "thank-you" note to the interviewer – email is perfectly acceptable

•  Provide the interviewer with updated contact information if it has changed since you last communicated

•  If you have received other offers or have deadlines and need to hear back from the company, contact the interviewer to give them an update and explain your time-frame. If you have accepted an offer remove yourself from their consideration immediately