Tell me a story and tell it well

It seems right now that there is a common theme with my most active hiring managers: storytelling.   I don’t mean just behavioural interviewing. It might start off as a “tell me about a time when” but what they are really looking for is a good story. It should have a beginning, a middle and an end. It should be about something substantial relative to your career and if possible, something that the hiring manager can relate to.

It takes time to prepare this kind of material but it is so worth it. A really good story allows a hiring manager to see your thinking and talking skills in action. And let’s face it.   Those are critical parts of every good role.

Stories don’t have to illustrate massive success; that’s not the point.  They need to show your ability to cope, react, change, persevere and grow. 

One of the keys is to tell the whole story, not just a single part.  The story is not just about a project was completed on time and on budget.  Big deal.  The story is about the obstacles that were put in your way and the people who recognized your success.  Did that project lead to another higher profile gig?  Maybe an award?  Or maybe it provided the platform for a whole new relationship.  Incorporate all these details.

When you are practicing, keep asking yourself “and then what?”

It’s those details that provide hiring managers with insight into your capability, credibility and thoughtfulness.

So invite a friend for coffee and start swapping stories, even if you are not looking for a job.  You never know when an impromptu audience might be the gateway to a great opportunity.

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