Aceing the Interview

You’ve impressed your employer with your resume and you’ve made it to the next stage – the interview.

While the interview is often considered to be the most daunting stage of the recruitment process, it is also the best opportunity for you to demonstrate your abilities to your employers and prove that you are a great fit for the position that you are interviewing for.

The Storytelling Technique

To avoid the monotony of simply restating your experiences and skills, formulating your prior career experiences into a coherent and highly engaging short story is an effective strategy that can capture the attention and respect of your interviewers.

Stories can transform the dry facts of your career into vivid, memorable accounts of your successes and challenges, and effectively set you apart from your competitors.

As in traditional storytelling, the use of stories as a rhetorical device during the interview process can convey deep, relatable memories and experiences that can establish strong, emotional connections with your interviewers.

A list of key techniques that can improve your story telling techniques and ultimately contribute to a successful interview is as follows:

Your Career is your Narrative Backdrop

Presenting your career history as a coherent and concise story that emphasizes on your key attributes and skills is an effective way to sell your personal brand.

Forming an enthralling and impressionable brand message is not as difficult a task as it might seem; start with focusing on elements that define your character and work ethic.

Whether you’re best at minimizing costs, maximizing revenues or managing projects during their infancy stage, use every milestone and accomplishment in your career as tools to boost your personal image.

Be Concise

Although using story-telling is an effective technique to engage your interviewer, rambling and excessively trumpeting your successes is an easy way to lose their attention.

Be concise in your stories, make them succinct yet interesting; don’t be afraid to rehearse in front of the mirror – remember, practice makes perfect!

Keep a Stock of Mini-Stories

Rather than retelling your duties and responsibilities in an incredibly mundane fashion, illustrate your key strengths and your experiences through the form of mini-stories.

Your mini-stories need to convey these important messages:

  • how you made a difference in your previous role,
  • what you have learnt through the course of your career and most importantly,
  • how these experiences have equipped you with the appropriate set of skills that make you a great fit for the role that you are applying for.

Keep these stories brief and use them as powerful devices that emphasize your strengths in a memorable manner.

Confidence is Key

Confidence is a crucial determinant of your interview’s outcome. In any interview, the key to success is to sound relaxed and natural.

Rehearsing your answers to general questions and likely questions on the technical aspects of the job is an effective way to gain confidence during an interview. 

Typical questions include: “Why did you apply for this job?” or “What sets you apart from other candidates?” or “Tell me about a time when you encountered a challenging situation and how you dealt with it?”

Remember that the underlying question is “Why should we hire you?” so it is often wise to tailor your responses accordingly.

Demonstrating that you’ve researched about the role and the company through incorporating your research into your responses will show the interviewer that you are highly interested in the job and are well prepared for assignments.

However, just reading up on a company’s webpage or being active on its social media networks is insufficient, be sure to conduct in-depth research on the specifics of the role, the directions that the company and industry are headed towards and the overall culture of the company to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the nature of the position that you are applying for.

Always be prepared for tough questions on your weaknesses or on past career changes. You need to show a sense of self-awareness and humility, and more importantly, a desire to continuously improve upon your weaknesses.

However, never state a major flaw that might lead to an immediate dismissal by your interviewer, instead, highlight less critical weaknesses that will not jeopardize your ability to contribute to the firm (and that can be improved upon).

Avoid Monotony - Be Engaging

Being engaging in the interview does not only mean telling compelling stories about your past experiences, it includes using body language to convey emotions and to emphasize on certain key takeaways in your conversation.

Varying your patterns of speech and gestures and using pauses for dramatic effect are useful ways to ensure that your conversation remains engaging at all times.