News and Insight

Resources, advice and thought leadership from our experts.

The Importance of Storytelling During Your Interview

It might be daunting to think about formulating and telling a story during the interview process. Storytelling adds another responsibility to the already long list you have in mind heading into an interview, but it comes more naturally than you think. One of the biggest goals to have going into an interview is to leave a memorable impression and stand out over other candidates. What better way to do that than tell a personal story that no one else could?

How can you make sure you execute your storytelling with flying colors?

Be Clear

Start off your storytelling by describing the situation and setting the scene. Next, explain the task you had to accomplish and your involvement. Then, share what steps you needed to take to reach the results you set out to accomplish. Finally, tell the interviewer what the outcome was. Make sure you include the characters involved and if there was any conflict along the way.

Be Concise

Keeping the interviewer’s attention is crucial, don’t lose them as you tell your story. Get to the point without wandering off too much, and make sure you explain the lesson(s) you learned. Another way to keep them engaged is to ask check-in questions throughout the interview. For example, as you tell your story, find a spot where you can ask them if they understand what you are saying or if this is something they have experienced before.

Be Genuine

It’s easier than you think to determine how authentic someone is. Go into each interview with the goal of being your true self. Don’t try to be someone different, especially as you tell your story. Give the interviewer a look into the person you are, the person you could be at their company, and the person they would be lucky enough to hire. If you don’t, it’s a lose-lose for both parties involved.

Be Insightful

As you tell your story, read the room. Allow your story to take different turns depending on the response from the person or people interviewing you. Don’t be too specific as you share your story because that gives you the opportunity to be flexible and improvise on the fly as needed. For example, imagine if a comic continued word-for-word down the road they planned prior to a show, even if the room wasn’t responding favorably to the joke. If you are telling a story, one of the most important aspects is to make sure the people listening stay interested. Based on their reactions, you need to bob and weave accordingly.

Show the Resolution

Explain how you are the hero of your story. This can mean different things depending on the situation but tell the interviewer how you resolved a conflict. Here’s where you can get deeper into the details and even include numbers or metrics that show your value. Don’t just state the facts, really break it down and attribute numbers to make it more digestible.

Keep a theme in mind

When you tell a story, you need to circle back to whatever the central theme is throughout. So, before you sit down for your interview, think of what you want the interviewer to know about you. For example, are you someone who’s driven by innovation? Then, work that in throughout your story with examples showcasing how innovation plays an important role in your career and ties into the previous experience you’ve had.

Have you used the strategy of storytelling during an interview? If so, what was the outcome? If not, why is that? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out How the Pandemic Changed the Way We Work.