10 Must-Have Stories For Every Job ApplicantComments Off

Once upon a time on screen computer

Job-seekers need great stories to tell at job interviews! Your interviewers will remember your stories way more than they’ll remember anything else you tell them. Your fantastic, evocative stories will keep you in the interviewer’s mind when their memories of other job candidates fade away.

I was an HR leader for hundreds of years. I can tell you that one of the biggest problems job-seekers face is that interviewers forget them.

They literally forget who you are, even after spending an hour with you. Managers used to come into my office every day and sheepishly ask me “Who was Marie Smith, again? I know I met her, but I can’t place her.”

“Short — my height, give or take — brown curly hair?”

“Not ringing any bells.”

“Grew up in Georgia — she has a tiny accent. Sound familiar?”

“No. I’m no good with accents.”

You don’t want to be forgotten! Your stories will make you memorable, but that’s not the only reason to tell stories on a job interview.

Your stories showcase your abilities and put them in context for a hiring manager who has problems that desperately need attention.

Your stories will bring you to life in your hiring manager’s mind. He or she can ‘see’ you in in action as you describe how you came, saw and conquered in your past jobs. Get your stories ready before your next job interview!

Here are the ten categories of Dragon-Slaying Stories you will need:

  1. A story about a time when you saved the day.
  2. A story about a time when you had to work with a difficult person.
  3. A story about a time when you tried something new and had to make decisions on your own.
  4. A story about a time when you improved a process.
  5. A story about a time when you worked on a team.
  6. A story about a time when you learned from a mistake.
  7. A story about a time when you had to change course on a dime.
  8. A story about a time when you had a difference of opinion with someone and worked out a compromise.
  9. A story about a time when you went the extra mile.
  10. A story about a time when you taught someone how to do something.

As you prepare your stories, remember the Dragon-Slaying Story format:

  • First, tell us what was wrong. Why did you have to act?
  • Next, tell us what you did. How did you decide what to do, and how did you do it?
  • To finish the story, tell us why your solution was the right one. What positive impact resulted from your words and actions?

You can jot ‘story reminders’ on the notepad you will bring to your job interviews. You probably won’t get to tell all your stories, but you can tell a few of them!

You don’t even have to wait for a “story-type” question like “Tell me about a time when…”

You can answer an ordinary interview question with a story.

If the interviewer asks you “How long have you been using Excel?” you don’t want to say “Three years.” That tells the interviewer nothing useful!

Instead, you can handle the question like this:

Interviewer: How long have you been using Excel?

You: Oh, for a few years — it was funny how I got into using it. My manager was on maternity leave and our VP asked for a report….

You’ll find that showing up to a job interview with stories ready to share will boost your confidence like crazy!

Your stories will also help the interview feel less like an interrogation and more like a human conversation. That’s more pleasant and more effective for everybody in the room.

Prepare your stories and interview with confidence!

This article was written by Liz Ryan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Talent HQ is a premier information channel empowering professional development for recruiting and HR communities through regional events including Minnesota RecruitersWisconsin RecruitersFlorida Recruiters and California Recruiters.

About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

Tags: , , ,

  • Posted on: Monday, July 13th, 2015