Completing The Career “Story of You” During An Interview: Part 3 – Act III

Over the past month we have been learning how to be better storytellers when it comes to telling your career story during an interview.  We have looked at four mini-stories/plots that we should each have ready to tell at any time.

We have established us as the protagonists and heroes and shown how we can tell our stories of overcoming and achieving.  All that is left now is to bring the story home and ensure that the listener is right there with us at the end, wanting to help us complete the last Act.  Act III is the resolution act.  Or maybe better thought of as the “so what” part of the story.

We have all read books and watched movies where the ending leaves us wondering why we wasted the time allowing ourselves to get this far.  That is because the pay-off wasn’t there and we didn’t see or feel ourselves in the ending.  If the ending turns out to be something we would never imagine ourselves doing, then we walk away saying, “That was really stupid”.  When we are telling our career story during an interview we want the listener to be right there with us and ultimately finishing the story for us by offering us a job, which then opens up the next chapter.

In my experience, hearing thousands of career stories, the ones I want to complete are the ones where the dreams, the aspirations, the training and the experience all converge by me being able to visualize the person across the table from me, sitting in my company, putting it all together to make themselves and the company better.  There are times when candidates have actually taken me there and I can see in a crystal clear way their success at the job I have open. What makes this happen is when a candidate matches their dreams with my company/open role and together those provide meaning as to “why” I should hire them.  How many times have we all sat through an interview where there is no pay-off and there is no meaningful conclusion to the time spent?  I firmly believe it is because the candidates don’t know where their story arcs next and can’t complete the telling and visualization of why and how they will be successful to the company and most importantly, why this job is integral, and makes real sense, to their career. The final Act of all great stories bring together the audience and the characters so that we can see ourselves succeeding, achieving, and completing the goal of the protagonist.  We want to be right there with him or her.

As you work on the “story of you” recognize that you must finish the story strongly and the interviewer must see themselves, or the open job, or the company, in the conclusion of the story.  In this they find their meaning.  To do this you will have to have many endings ready to adapt to the situation, but if you do, and you can tell the “story of you” better than the other  job candidate who is sitting in the waiting room, then you will be the one to stand out and you will be the one who gets called back to tell more of your story.