Telling stories is the key for success at interviews

Our brains have evolved to listen to stories, before the written word, this was how information was handed down through the generations. The elders would tell stories to educate the younger members of the tribe in the ways of the world.

For this reason, evolutionary psychologists believe we like hearing stories, we expect them to follow a pattern: a beginning, a middle and an end.

Every question you are asked at an interview, is an opportunity for you to tell a story about yourself.

For each skill you have, which you would like to demonstrate to your interviewer, you should tell a short story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

For example, when you are asked, “tell me about your strengths?” Or, “Tell me about a time you have been successful?” Or “What skills do you have which are required for this role?” make sure you break your story down: the first sentence is the beginning, the last sentence is the end, and the rest is the middle.

Practice telling stories, each one should be highlighting your achievements, something you have done or said which has made an impact on the company you were working for, or a person you were working with. Remember to add in some detail.

The detail is important, it helps the interviewer find out more about you.

Use statistics and facts, numbers are memorable.  Just two or three, too many and the effect is diluted.

In terms of timing, we would recommend your answer is between one and two minutes.  It is surprising how much you can say in two minutes!

It is crucial that you practice telling your stories.  You should have an arsenal of eight or nine, about your skills and career highlights, that you know back to front and inside out.

It is all about having enough in your arsenal to effectively “shoot down” any question you are asked.

Good luck.

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