Yes, storytelling is exactly what you think it is. Telling stories. Sounds easy right? Well, not everyone has great storytelling abilities, but like the majority of things in life, practice makes perfect!
How can sharing stories help you in a job interview? It’s the key to those pesky behavioral questions such as “Tell me about a time when you…” or “Tell me about yourself”. Most people would agree that these questions are the hardest ones to answer, it’s the moment all eyes are on you. When you’re nervous it’s easy to forget important things that you should mention or explain a situation in a clear and understandable way.
Whilst we all prepare for the most common and well-known job interview questions, practice a speech on our strengths, explain why we’re the best for the position, do our homework on the company, etc. We often forget to prepare for behavioral questions that require long-form answers, as a result, they can sometimes be a little lackluster. But, don’t panic! Preparing a few stories to use in your interviews will make your next encounter that little bit easier.
1. Choose your examples
The first step is to think about the examples you’re going to use. Choose wisely, which ones are the most relevant to the job position you’re applying for? Pick out both your achievements and mistakes and what you’ve learned from each of them.
The goal of storytelling is to demonstrate your experience in an easy to follow and interesting way. Telling a story about the time you solved a problem efficiently, overcame a challenge, or worked well within in a team gives you more credibility than simply saying you’re good at something. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to prove the experience and skills you wrote on your resume.
We’re all human and no one is perfect, so having a story prepared on the time you made a mistake is equally important as having ones based on success. Being transparent about your mistake, focusing on how you handled the situation, and what is it that you learned from this experience gives a good impression to the recruiter. It demonstrates your ability to learn whilst also showing your competence when it comes to dealing with issues.
2. Analyze your audience
Once you know which examples you’ll be using, the next step would be to ask yourself who your audience is. You probably wouldn’t tell a story to your best friend the same way you would tell it to your boss. The most effective stories are tailored to the audience they are intended for.
Which part of the story will interest your listener the most? Identify the parts of the story that will be the most relevant to the recruiter or related to the company’s values, mission, etc. Optimize the way to tell your story, and make sure you include all of these points.
When your story is polished up, it’s time to start with the last and most crucial step: practice, practice, practice. You don’t have to know it word by word – you don’t want to sound like a robot, it should sound natural. Practice enough so that you’re able to easily recall what you would like to say and you don’t forget any of the vital parts.
This method is sure to help you face behavioral questions in an interview. You can check out more tips on how to nail your job or internship interviews in our blog post about the interview methods you could encounter and how to handle each one! If you’re looking for that extra push check out our Career Coaching packages, which include Interview Preparation!