Storytelling + Interviews

Whether it’s in a painting, photograph, movie, song, commercial, video, or a good-ol’ book – we all love a good story. However, I never thought to connect the art of storytelling to interviewing until I read an article on applying storytelling skills in interviews. Consequently, storytelling has become more important to me in my work.

Every early spring, I conduct mock interviews with seniors at a particular high school. I always ask, “Why do you want to be X?” A little over three years ago, I posed this question to a group of 11 students. Out of the 11 answers I received, how many of those students do you think I remember to this day? If you thought, just one, you’re correct.

She began, “I want to be an elementary school teacher because I love kids.” Since I hear this frequently from teachers, I started losing interest. Then, she drew me back in: “When I was in Kindergarten, whenever the teacher left the room, I would sit in her chair and teach my classmates.” Not only did she convince me at that moment that she wanted to be an elementary school teacher, but I knew she was going to be an awesome one!

I interviewed a few aspiring elementary school teachers that day, and I’ve met more since then. Yet, when I hear of teaching opportunities, it’s that high school senior I met over three years ago as a Kindergartener teaching her classmates who comes to mind.

The stories you share can have the same kind of influence on employers…making you memorable. Imagine interviewing for a position one day only to receive a phone call the next that the position is on hold. Or, you’re referred to a company because you are a perfect fit, but there are no positions available. What if future opportunities with these companies arise…one week, six months, or three years from now? Who will the employer remember? Will it be you?

If you feel your stories can be more memorable, start with an Internet search of “storytelling interviews.” Anticipate questions interviewers might ask. Then, apply what you learn from your research to your personal experiences so that “your story” will leave a lasting impression.

Long live your stories!

Josie Toth is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She conducts job search skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region. After serving in the military, Josie utilized Workforce Solutions’ services. Her desire to help people led to an employment counselor position with Workforce Solutions, which she held for four years, until she found her niche as a Regional Facilitator.

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