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How to Storytell Your Way Through Your Next Interview

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Successfully selling your qualities and skills is key to acing your job interview. When you’re looking for a job, you’re always trying to figure out how to interview well so that a potential employer can’t pass you up. One of the best ways to sell yourself is to master the art of storytelling. On top of trying to make a quick connection when we meet someone, delivering information is part of the interview, and that’s where good storytelling comes in.

Decide what stories to tell. Simply put, stories are the way we relay facts in an emotional way. Much of our lives are spent telling stories, from telling our partner about our bad day to explaining to a doctor how our symptoms started. So, you’ll have plenty of stories to tell about yourself if you think about it, and part of good storytelling during an interview is choosing which ones are best to tell. Think about which stories accurately explain your skill sets or describe how you were able to accomplish a huge goal.

Incorporate a story into every answer. Even if you could get by with giving a short answer to a question, use every answer as an opportunity to tell a story. For example, if you’re asked about your greatest strength, you could simply answer, “I’m a solid team member.” Instead, describe a time when your role on a team led to a bigger sale or advanced the company in some other way. The end result is leaving a bigger mark on your interviewer, and that’s how you land the job.

Don’t get too windy. On the flip side, you don’t want to make your stories so long that your interviewer ends up checking out. After all, they may be interviewing several people, and you want to stand out, not bore them. Too many details and explaining things at too high of a level are two ways to come across as more negative than positive. A quick segue into the “action” part of your story is key to keeping it short and having the interviewer understand how you operate.

If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of coming up with stories for an interview, remember that life is about stories. Don’t be afraid to use a little humor too if that’s your normal means of interacting with others through stories. Simply think through the interesting ways you’ve contributed to your previous positions and the stories will flow from there. Also, practice like you’re talking to a friend, and then prepare for your interview in the same way.

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