The S.O.A.R. Answer Model

Original Article





Are you often in situations when you find yourself either speaking too much or, perhaps, not enough?  When do you usually figure it out, a few hours later, or while you are actually in the situation?

This may be more of a stress factor when you are communicating in a different language, so I find it is quite useful to practice with a guideline.

You can use if for preparing a meeting, interview, telephone conversations. Basically, any situation in which you are expected to give a briefing on behavioural issues.

Let’s go through an example for an interview.


Give a brief description of the relevant information leading to the situation.

  • For example: I had been given a promotion as the department manager. Even though the department had grown over twice its original size, there was an extremely high turnover.


It’s important to capture your audience’s attention and in so doing, define the problem. Show what it is exactly that you solved.

  • For example:  We experienced a regular increment of customer complaints which were generated through the stress of our staff that was overworked. The current staff had to train the new staff, as the turnover was over fifty percent.


Explain what you did to solve that problem.

  • For example:  I was able to identify specific problems and to set priorities to the tasks necessary.  I did this by workflow analysis and assigning the proper work to the proper people. Following that, I ensured that each job post had a proper job description. I set up a formal plan of job mentoring in order to give the new staff the opportunity to shadow the senior staff.  Throughout this entire process it was important to have regular meetings and constantly reevaluate the situation in progress.


Share the exact results, not only a description, but something quantifiable.

  • For example:  The turnover went from 50 to 10 percent in the first year. Employees felt more motivated. The customer complaints were no longer regular. Our department became the most productive in the division.


Suggested homework for practice:

These questions are taken directly from the original article, which I highly recommend.  Please use these as homework, it’s an excellent exercise.

Here are some behavioural questions.

Practice using the S.O.A.R. Answer Model to develop your own responses.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client or coworker.
  • Tell me about your most significant achievement in your last job.
  • Tell me about the most significant mistake you have made, how you handled it, and what you learned from it.
  • Give me an example of when you had to sell your boss on a new product, service, system, or program.
  • Give me an example of a problem you faced on the job and how you handled it.
  • Give me an example of how you dealt with an employee who was not performing up to expectations.
  • Give me a recent example of how you went about motivating your coworkers and subordinates.
  • Recall for me a time when you challenged your boss and/or company policy.
  • Tell me what you did in your last job to help build teamwork.


Make sure you take the time in advance of the interview to develop some strong answers to each potential question.  The better prepared you are to answer questions, the more likely you will make a strong impression on your interviewer, become a master interviewee, ultimately landing that dream job.