A job interview is always scary and difficult for everyone. But there are skills and techniques that can help you to nail it and get the job you really want. Actually, it’s just another skill, but definitely one of the most important. Did you know, that storytelling can be applied in job interviews? In fact, telling a story about your skills and expertise might just be the right approach to land your next job. And here is how you can do it!
What is storytelling?
Storytelling is not a new concept; people have been telling stories since they could communicate. But recently we have found that it’s now also a fundamental business skill. The good news is that it is a skill that anyone can learn.
Storytelling is not just about telling a story.
Storytelling is sharing a story about an experience, but linking it to a message that will influence and inspire your audience to action.
Gabrielle Dolan – author
In your story, you need to show your personality. You don’t want to be a blank person just doing your job, you are not a robot. You need to bring out your unique qualities. Everyone is unique and has great and inspiring stories to tell, but not everyone has the capability to tell their story yet.
In a job interview, your main goal is to prove to the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the job you are applying for. To do this, you need to provide him or her with specific reasons, establish a certain level of credibility, and make a personal connection. After all, every company is first and foremost about people. And besides, you want to do better than anyone else applying for the job.
The better your storytelling is in the job interview – the fewer interviews you will have to pass to get a job offer. The market is very crowded these days, therefore it is important that you stand out from all the other applicants and be remembered.
Important rules of storytelling in job interviews
There are however, important rules you need to be aware of when telling your story.
- You must spend time and effort preparing for every job interview. Every interview and every company is unique and you can tell your story from different angles and highlight your best qualities. Don’t tell everyone the exact same story but make sure the key message remains.
- Don’t tell everything. People can’t and won’t remember all the facts about you and all your competencies. Focus on the most important facts for the job and build your stories around them.
- Don’t tell people you’re good for the job just because you have 10 years of experience. Or don’t just tell them chronologically about the tasks you’ve done in all your previous jobs. Or that this is the only job you want and like. That just doesn’t tell your interviewers anything. You need to tell a story that appeals to the emotions.
- Tell about your interests and engaging details about your life and past experiences. However, be sure to relate it to your professional life.
Main components of stories in the business world
To help you craft your story, you can always remember these main components of a story:
- Structure and consistency. Create a structure in your story that allows the listener to follow you. This means, you talk about a certain situation you have experienced and the way you have reacted to it. Your listener should have a good picture of your skills and expertise after your story.
- Objective. Be clear on why you tell this story. Which skill or expertise do you want to present to your listener. How does it apply to the job you are applying for. Your story should have a reason and goal why you chose to tell it.
- Honesty. Never make up stories. It’s not worth the potential damage it can cause. Only ever tell true stories.
Build you story
Now that you know the rules and component of a good story, how can you apply storytelling for your next job interviews? Follow these steps to create the story for your next job interview:
- Determine your skills and value for the job. Look at the job description and think carefully about what you want to say to your prospective employer, how they can differentiate you from the others, what value you can bring to them. Never skip this step, it is critical to your perfect storytelling.
- Always think about the end point: what impression do you want to leave with your audience. What should they know about you.
- Find life situations to tell about that can highlight your skills and suitability for that particular job. This can be even from a situation you experienced in your private life.
- Craft the narrative of your story – build the story from beginning to end, emphasizing the most interesting and important information.
- Practice telling your story. It can be your friends or you can even practice just with yourself. Ultimately, though, you should sound confident and interesting in your interview.
For career changers
Job interviews can be especially difficult for people who are changing careers and for people who are entering the workforce for the first time. Surely you have transferable skills that you have acquired previously and you can apply in your new job. Storytelling will help you to talk about them and show others that you are truly capable.
We are not born with all these skills, and we acquire new ones throughout our lives, so it is not a problem if you do not have the exact same experience and foundational skills. It may also be that you have worked in a different industry and are now trying to move into a similar role in a other industry. Still, the skills you built can be applied independent of the industry. This specifically applies to the tech industry, where the only constant is change.
But how do you go about doing that? Imagine you want to switch to tech industry as a project manager. You have never worked in tech before, but as a manager in a restaurant. At first glance, they seem like completely different jobs, but upon closer inspection, you managed other people, delegated tasks, and were responsible for delivering products to customers on time. Sure, there are some concepts and small details that can easily be learned in a course. But even in this case, you have the appropriate skills, and the right storytelling can help you showcase your abilities.
Connecting with your audience
You may think that recruiters make their decisions based only on pure logic, but no. They are human beings who are also touched by stories. Most people’s decisions are emotional – it’s just human nature, and there’s nothing you can do about that. And as such, stories are just the perfect way to connect with your audience on an emotional level.