Jack had some interview feedback, ‘People told him that he gets the facts across but he need to learn to tell a good story.’
Jack is fortunate to have received constructive criticism in a market where post-interview feedback is random. But what kind of stories should he be telling? Not the kind interviewers complain about when they meet candidates with overcomplicated explanations for CV gaps and problems.
And not pure fiction – telling lies on paper leads to early dismissal and a tarnished reputation.
We’re talking about storytelling in its best sense – something that engages the listener and helps the candidate stay remembered. Good interviewees know how to pitch evidence of their skills and tell a convincing story.
A good story has an arresting opening. How often have you wrecked an interview by going on at length about where your role fitted into the organisation chart? Get to the point.
Unless you are interesting, interviewers are easily distracted. You think you’re giving your best evidence; they are mentally planning a trip to Sainsbury’s or wondering who’ll win tonight’s match. They tune out when you over-deliver (but tune back in like a shark sensing blood in the water whenever you say something that reveals a weakness).
A good story has a memorable ending. Talk about outcomes – the things that happened because you turned up to work that day. If outcomes were ‘soft’ (hearts-and-minds stuff rather than projects managed or deals done), learn to talk about those successes.
If you did something difficult, sell the idea. If you faced a challenge, show how big it was. Barriers? Obstacles? Make the task sound big enough to be interesting.
Plan ahead using the employer’s wish list as your guide. Work out what the weightiest five or six items in the job description are and prepare at least two three-minute tales to match each one.
Don’t generalise interview answers, plan the words – not a vague idea of what you will talk about but the exact words you will use to begin and end each piece of evidence. Practise mini-narratives by rehearsing them out loud, not just in your head. By the time you’ve spoken something three times, you’ll know how it will fly and you’ll have a wide range of stories at your fingertips.
Skilled storytellers know how long they can hold an audience’s attention. Make the most of your material by turning dull facts into convincing stories that are remembered long after you have left the room.
Data source: John Lees’ Job Interviews: Top Answers To Tough Questions is published this month. See www.johnleescareers.com for details of regional workshops and one-to-one coaching.
Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/lifestyle/903938-john-lees-how-to-tell-tales-in-an-interview-without-being-boring#ixzz1zYJe0FQ9