Normally before any interview, most job seekers will spend their precious time prepping on answers to common interview questions they may be asked.
While that is important, Ms. Carolyne Kariuki, a Recruitment Manager says that employers are not looking to hear about what is already on your CV – they need you tell a story of these important milestones in your life.
As a job seeker, you should avoid the scenarios where the hiring manager is just shooting questions and you are giving well-rehearsed answers since they are just at the tip of your fingers.
Instead, spice things up. Add some interesting details about your work experience as a customer care agent at Safaricom, or your day as an intern at that small firm in Industrial area.
The point is that don’t make an interview just a question and answer affair. Make it a conversation between you and the interviewer. That’s how you stand out.
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How To Tell Stories In An Interview
So now that we are talking about telling stories in an interview instead of just answers. How do you craft the perfect story?
First of all, just like any other story, there needs to be a beginning; middle and then a strong finish.
You should be able to tell the story in less than a minute. If it’s interesting enough, the interviewer will ask some follow-up question which will lead to an even more interesting conversation.
Always tell an original story to make it memorable. Tell an extraordinary story. Remember that this is not the first story the interviewer is listening to. He/she has sat through a few so make it unique. This is where you apply all your creativity and imagination.
Be sure to listen carefully to the questions the interviewer is asking otherwise you will end up rambling like a madman, telling stories that are in no way related to what the interviewer wants to hear.
7 Types Of Stories You Should Tell In An Interview
1. The story about yourself
This one is the most obvious one. Tell the story of who you are, where you come from, your education and work experience that got you here.
Tell the story of where you want to be in a few years and the value you are likely to add to the company. Believe me, this is one story the employer really wants to hear in every interview.
One important takeaway. Be as natural as you can. Let the story come out naturally and not appear like it’s forced just because the question was asked. Own the story- that’s all I’m saying.
2. The story of how you can make and save money
Believe you are in that interview because someone wants to make money through you. Tell that story of how you became the best sales agents or how you came up with an ingenious plan that saved the company hundreds of thousands.
This is why you should always strive to be the best at what you do so that you have stories to tell your future employer.
3. Tells the story of a great team player
Being able to work in a team is an essential skill employer look for in all job seekers. If you cannot function well with people, then too bad for you.
If you can and have in the past demonstrated that you are a great team player, interest the interviewer by explaining that particular time you were able to meet a target because you were part of that team that did it.
4. A story of a hard worker
No employer in this face of the earth wants to employ someone who is just lazy and can never do anything.
If you are a hard worker, prepare a story of how you went the extra mile first for the sake of the company. Explain how you probably sacrificed your time and some resources just so you could help meet the goal of the company.
5. How you are in this for the long run
Every employer wants to hire someone who can stick it out in their company even when things seem to go wrong.
If this is you, tell the story of how everyone else left the company or the team, but you decided to stand your ground and see the project to the end.
Obviously end with the fact that due to that reason, you saw it best to make this move.
6. Your greatest challenge
There is not one person who can say that their life has been one smooth ride without any ups and downs. We are human after all.
Prepare the story of that great challenge you faced once, but with determination, you were able to overcome and emerge stronger that you ever were.
End with how this experience shaped you and gave you the important life skills that are the reason you are interviewing for this position in the first place.
7. Dealing with conflicts/stress/ setbacks
We have all had those moments when we felt that we could not take it anymore. That moment when you felt let down by the people around you.
In any career, you are likely to face conflicts/stress or setbacks either from colleagues or the job itself.
Tell the story of how you rose above that and were able to stand your ground.
In a nutshell
Never let an interview is just an “Ask the questions, I answer and we both move on with our lives” sort of thing. Imagine the number of job seekers who have sat in that chair saying the same thing to the interviewer. Make your experience a unique one by telling stories instead of giving answers.
Are you preparing for a big interview, but need help? Contact email@example.com for interview coaching.
The writer is a Communications Officer at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading Recruitment firm that offers CV Writing, Job Placement & Career Advice. Email: Elizabeth@corporatestaffing.co.ke