So, you have gotten the interview that you desired and you know that you are going to be asked once, twice, maybe five or six times, some question that is like, “so, tell me about you”. You then have five to seven minutes to tell your story. When I interview people I usually give them a chance to tell me about themselves and tell me their story. Of the thousands of interviews I have conducted in my career, I can tell you that few of those stories stand out. And why don’t they? It’s because they are not told as stories. Instead, what I receive is a regurgitation of their resume and a data dump that lasts too long and is far from being interesting. As my mind wanders off to something else, I want so desperately to hear a story of intrigue. Storytelling and narrative is our oldest form of communication. An expert on the impact of storytelling, Andy Goodman, says “storytelling is how we mark our history, establish our identity, and how we remember.” He also says that each of us are the product of a storytelling equation:
Stories you want to tell – Stories nobody wants to hear = Stories you tell…that end up being you
But, if more of us knew how to tell a good story, then we wouldn’t just respond to an interviewer’s opportunity for us to tell our story with just data and facts. Instead, we would take those five to seven minutes and tell a story about ourselves that is unique and unforgettable. There is a structure and art to storytelling that in the context of a job interview we will explore over the next few weeks and by the time we end this series of posts, I hope that each of you will have scripted the powerful and compelling story that is you.
Next week…the six plots that make up your personal career story.