My new book, Wait, How Do I Write This Email?, is full of practical career advice you can put to use right away.
That’s why I love to know when people employ my strategies in the job search — and then see the results right away. Recently, a college student named Rhydian emailed me with about her recent job interview. She’s close to graduation and wants a job in gaming/computer animation.
In chapter 9 of my book (“The Power of Stories”), I include a section on the importance of storytelling in a job interview. On page 203, I write:
“…stories demonstrate in vivid detail why you are right for the job and how you can turn a typical Q&A interview into a dynamic, memorable conversation.”
Rhydian wanted to impress the employer in her big interview. So beforehand, she brainstormed stories of success and waited for the chance to share them. Sure enough, the opportunity presented itself.
The employer asked: “How do you work on a team/handle conflict resolution?”
Rhydian replied: “I told them about the time in Team Production class when I was handed the screwed up file and how I handled the guy who gave it to me. I told them I realized he was one of the guys that was full of himself—so, to solve the situation, I stroked his ego (I understand it couldn’t have possibly been your fault, but what happened exactly?) in order to calm him down long enough to find out how to fix the situation. I then found the appropriate team members to help me fix the situation, understanding that I couldn’t do it all by myself, and we worked together to turn the project in on time.”
Excellent stuff. The “team production” story is colorful and demonstrates leadership ability. And because she sat down for the interview with the story on her mind, it was easy to recall.
Then Rhydian told me: “When I could, instead of answering a question straight out, I gave a story that showed how I handled the situation, what I would do in a similar situation, and what I learned from the example I gave. PERFECT—as it didn’t sound like I rehearsed anything; it just sounded like talking to a few friends. It put me at ease, and after that, it was a VERY relaxing interview. Nothing to be afraid of!”
Bingo. When you tell stories, the interview becomes a conversation. Like Rhydian said, the mood is more “relaxing” and less intimidating. Plus, stories prove your worth like nothing else.
Good luck, Rhydian, with the rest of the job search. That boss would be a fool not to hire you!
Has storytelling ever helped you during a job interview?
Featured photo: studio tdes