You may have a CV listing all the skills and experience you need to land your dream job, but don’t underestimate the power of a good story to a potential employer.
Generally speaking, interviews are formal occasions when you want to show the best side of yourself. You go armed with your CV, your qualifications and the know-how to answer the questions thrown at you; however, this may lack the personal touch.
Storytelling abilities can be vital during an interview. Tales from former workplaces help to demonstrate how you cope with certain situations and give examples of your experience, while stories from your personal life could be just as important. The ability to engage recruiters with an anecdote that demonstrates transferable skills could make the difference.
This is not to say it is acceptable to ramble on to your interviewer about something irrelevant. As long as a story is suitable, to the point and will hold a recruiter’s attention, it is a valid way to go during an interview. Different storytelling methods can be employed when you are searching for a new position:
The literal story
Use an example from a former workplace to show how you would perform in the job. These stories clearly demonstrate the kind of worker you are and help you to display your knowledge of the industry; in fact, these are the kind of stories you may be asked to tell during the recruitment process.
The learning story
This category gives you the chance to explain what lessons you have learned from a certain situation. Again, this is likely to be something that happened in a professional setting. Potential employers will be keen to hear how you monitor your own progress and use this knowledge to move forward in your career.
This is where we hit a new angle, which may seem scary to some candidates – letting recruiters in on your personal life. This is not to suggests sharing every detail – just those that can clearly and usefully demonstrate why you are the right person to join the company.
The lateral story
These are anecdotes from your personal life that could prove the most important. They offer a chance to display your personal values, showing your future bosses how your standards match those of the company you want to work for.
The like story
This is the main storytelling opportunity for applicants looking to start their career, move into a new role, or return to work after a break. It is not about being liked; instead, it offers a chance to show what you are like. This is the time to demonstrate how accomplished you are in any given situation.
Storytelling could be just as important as knowing your facts when trying to land your dream job. The key is to be honest, be yourself and let your personality shine through.
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