We talk to Rodney Larmand, the president at College Pro Painters on interview skills

Tell me about something meaningful you've worked toward.

Seems a bit vague, right?  This is very intentional; there are a lot of things going on with this question, and it is deliberately worded in this way. It's a broad question that allows you to start learning what makes a candidate tick, and what they feel has been significant in their life to date.

Tell me about is an open, non-leading question to ask'it leads to a story rather than a yes/no answer. Meaningful has a different spin on a traditional question of goals. Everyone places value differently and understands the word goal differently, so this allows a candidate to think a bit more holistically about their experiences and what has been meaningful, outside of specific marks or athletic medals, per se.

I'm looking to understand a candidate's attainment (a preference to set and hit goals), tenacity (a preference to see tasks through to the end), and focus (the ability to manage mood and emotions while working toward something important). I want a candidate to paint the picture of exactly what they've done and why it was meaningful to them.  I ask plenty of questions; I want enough detail that I can picture myself there, going through it with them.

I'm looking for how someone has behaved in the past, to predict how they will perform in the future.  Yes, people learn and develop as they age and gain experiences, but people all fundamentally have a set of preferences and abilities which they will default to.

To prepare, remember that knowing your resume isn't enough'spitting out a prepared interview answer will set off a quick BS detector. Do some real thinking on what you've done, why you've done it, and what you've learned from it. As an interviewer, I want to know about the experiences you've had ÔÇô and it's your job to articulate them to me.

Get skilled at selling yourself in an authentic way; this will never go to waste. Be clear on some significant events you've lived through that showcase how you behave at your core. Everyone has successes and failures; if you've never failed, it serves reason to believe that you've never really challenged yourself. By all means, showcase your successes and the things you're proud of, but don't be afraid to talk about that major event that didn't go as planned, and what you learned.

Don't bother preparing standard interview answers. Reflect about yourself and understand how you might share your different experiences to an interviewer to paint the picture of who you are and what makes you tick.