You have spent weeks preparing for the interview, brushing up your knowledge, going through the most frequently asked interview questions, and still find yourself beaten by a candidate who does not seem any better than you?
What you may not realise is that the ability to tell stories while interviewing may be an effective strategy. The way you talk about yourself, your skills, competencies, and experience are sometimes more important than the information itself.
Storytelling is a real art worth developing. Here are some simple steps to use storytelling to ace your next job interview.
1. Prepare the tale
Preparation is vital, as even the most experienced storytellers get confused or stuck under the pressure of an interview. Make sure you have your stories at your fingertips.
It’s common practice to think of possible answers you can provide to various interview questions in advance. However, the exercise would be even more beneficial if you can think of some stories to describe your competencies from real-life situations.
You want to find stories that will convey the right message and make the desired impression for particular situations. For instance, if you want to persuade an interviewer, you can learn from your experience, tell stories about:
- being a holiday club worker and how you learned to communicate with a group of people effectively;
- being a waiter and how you learned what good service is all about;
- being a junior employee and how you worked on your skills and knowledge gaps.
2. Develop a good structure
To make sure you don’t get lost or stuck, it helps to structure your answers and stories. This way, you will sound more consistent and confident.
Every story has a beginning, a development of the action, a climax, and a resolution. These components make a narrative arch that seems natural and understandable for the listener.
Try to describe your stories in a couple of sentences following the structure:
- setting the scene (location, time, place, etc)
- introducing the problem, conflict, or challenge
- developing the action until it reaches its peak
- reaching the hottest point and maximum tension
- resolving the matter and description of the outcomes.
Don`t forget about the moral, as a story without a practical takeaway has no real value for either party.
3. Make the story adaptable
The success of any story largely depends on the audience. As powerful as storytelling can be, the same story may evoke different reactions and impressions depending on the listener. A story without a personal touch won’t work at all.
Listen carefully to your interviewers and note the direction they lead you. Usually, the interviews reveal what type of person and solution they are looking for. Be ready to tailor your story according to those requirements.
For example, a story that demonstrates your leadership skills may have some space for describing you as a leader of a particular type.
4. Add witty remarks
Adding some humour and witty remarks will help to express your personality. Besides, a scattering of rich words can help make your stories more vivid. However, there are some rules to follow when applying humour and witty remarks to boost your candidacy:
- stay away from wholly fabricated jokes and stories. They sound artificial and cause doubts in your honesty;
- share real-life events and experiences in a fun frame with no exaggeration;
- use it only if it ties to something relevant for this particular interview.
Humour is only one of the numerous components of a professional image. While helpful, don’t let it take centre stage. Learn to appropriately use humour for interview answers.
Storytelling hints may prove to be rather beneficial for showcasing your personality. However, but don’t pretend to be the person you are not. Storytelling should be authentic and natural to bring the desired effect. The stories you tell will resonate and make an impact, as they get strongly associated with your personality.
Follow the recommendations mentioned earlier to make sure the associations are positive and can make your personality shine.
p.s. if you love the idea of story telling to find your dream job, get more support and tips in my Career Conversations online community. Join us HERE.