20 Tips for Perfect Interview Preparation: Part III (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Today, we are going to focus on the power of storytelling.  In regard to a job interview, your stories should be examples of times when you demonstrated certain personality attributes or skills that are universally desirable to employers.  They are powerful because they allow people to get to know you better and because they bring out emotion in the listener.  They are also more memorable and interesting than achievements and awards. 

A great interview story is descriptive, taps into as many of the listener’s senses as possible, and positions you in a positive light.  You should be able to tell your story in 30-60 seconds, and you should include the background of the story, the actions you took, and the results. 

Here are 5 types of stories that MUST be in your arsenal:

11. Your defining story.  This is also known as your “life story.”  While you probably have several defining stories, you want to prepare one that is relevant to the job you are applying for.  For example, when I interviewed for a job with the NBA’s Washington Wizards, I told the story of my father taking me to my first NBA game when I was 7 years old, and how I decided that night that I wanted to work in the NBA when I was older.  A defining story that is well-constructed and highly relevant will make the hiring person believe that you are “destined” for the position.

12. A story of leadership/initiative/creativity.  Every employer wants to hire “go-getters.”  Think of 1-2 examples of times when you lead or created something that was successful. 

13. A story of problem-solving or perseverance.  Employers also want people who can solve problems and who will embrace challenges and hard work.  Think of 1-2 times when you fixed a problem or overcame an obstacle in your life.  Examples from your personal life can be very powerful here.  Just use good judgment.

14. A story of teamwork, especially in a challenging setting.  Getting along well with others is imperative for workplace success.  Think of 1-2 times when you dealt with a difficult person/group in a positive, constructive way.

15. A story of where you made a mistake and learned from it.  We all make mistakes.  However, mistakes can be good IF we learn from them and use them as a way to get better.  Think of 1-2 times when you made a mistake, but you learned from it.  Again, the story must be relevant to the job you are applying for.  For example, talking about a mistake in your dating life is not a good idea here!

Bonus tip: Think of other stories you can tell that will be relevant to the job you are applying for.  For example, if applying for a sales job, you will want to be able to share a story of when you were able to persuade someone to agree with you, especially if he/she did not agree with you initially.

When you are starting your career, storytelling is especially important because you will likely not have a tremendous amount of work experience.  As a result, you want to prove to hiring decision-makers that even though you may lack work experience, you still have the personality attributes that are essential for success in the position.  Even if you are not specifically asked to share the stories listed above, you should find ways during the interview to incorporate them into the dialogue. 

Again, preparation is the key to interview success!  Prepare stories, and tell them effectively in the interview, and you will have the interviewer eating out of your hand! 

Tips #16-20 will be posted tomorrow!

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Award-Winning Career Expert and College Speaker




Explore posts in the same categories: Get Your Dream Job NOW, Interviews, Job Search Made Easy

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